Dune (or beach) sunflower (Helianthus debilis) is a sprawling, herbaceous groundcover that produces many yellow, daisy-like flowers. It typically flowers in the summer, but may flower year-round in South Florida. Its flowers attract a variety of pollinators, including butterflies, moths and bees. Its dense growth pattern provides cover for many small animals, while its seeds are eaten by birds.
“Flower Friday” is a weekly profile of a different Florida native wildflower.
Blue porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) is a low-growing and sprawling evergreen shrub that produces small bluish-purple flowers. It typically blooms in the summer, but may flower year-round in South Florida. It is an excellent addition to a butterfly garden: It is the host plant of the tropical buckeye and is a nectar source for many butterfly species.
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is an endangered Florida native wildflower, found naturally growing only in Gadsden County. Its striking bloom attracts a variety of butterflies, bees and even hummingbirds, while its seeds are eaten by birds and other wildlife.
Also known as Dotted horsemint, Spotted beebalm (Monarda punctata) is a robust, aromatic wildflower known to attract a huge variety of pollinating insects, including bees, wasps and butterflies. It blooms from early summer through fall, and occurs naturally in meadows, coastal dunes, roadsides and dry disturbed areas.
Also known as Scarlet hibiscus, Scarlet rosemallow (Hibiscus coccineus) is an herbaceous to semi-woody perennial wildflower that is common along wetland and stream edges, and in swamps and other wet, open sites. Its deep red flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds.
Also known as Beach morning glory, Bayhops, or Goat’s foot, Railroad vine (Ipomoea pes-caprae subsp. brasiliensis) is a fast-growing, evergreen, perennial commonly found on beach dunes. Its large showy flowers attract bees, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, wasps and ants. As with other morning glory species, railroad vine flowers open in the morning and last only one day, however, the plant is a prolific bloomer.