Spiderworts (Tradescantia spp.) are erect perennial wildflowers that are very attractive to bees. And like all species in the dayflower family, they are ephemeral, meaning their flowers stay open only one day. Four species of spiderwort are native to Florida, including Hairyflower spiderwort (T. hirsutiflora) in the Panhandle, and Bluejacket or Ohio spiderwort (T. ohiensis), the most common spiderwort found throughout North and Central Florida.
“Flower Friday” is a weekly profile of a different Florida native wildflower.
Also known as Canadian toadflax, Blue toadflax (Linaria canadensis) is an annual (or occasionally biennial) wildflower that forms a delicate sea of lavender when in bloom. It is common along roadsides, and in pastures and other disturbed areas. It is sometimes confused with Lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata) because of its similar growth habit and bloom color, and because they often grow together.
Known by many names including Scarlet sage, Red salvia and Blood sage, Tropical sage (Salvia coccinea) is a versatile perennial wildflower and steadfast addition to any wildflower garden. Its flower is one that no pollinator can resist, but it is particularly attractive to bees, large butterflies and hummingbirds. It typically blooms in summer and fall, but can bloom year-round in many parts of the state.
Although often overlooked, the diminutive white flowers and verdurous leaves of Innocence (Houstonia procumbens) are a welcome sight for anyone with the winter blues. This low-growing perennial creeps along the floors of many open habitats throughout Florida including pine flatwoods, sandhills, scrub and ruderal areas.
Leavenworth’s tickseed (Coreopsis leavenworthii) can bloom year-round. Its natural habitat is mesic pine flatwoods, but it is often used as a component of mixed wildflower and butterfly gardens, and is excellent for sunny roadsides, highway medians and powerline easements. It attracts many pollinators and is eaten by rabbits (if you’re lucky enough to have rabbits in your landscape).
Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) is a perennial, evergreen climbing or trailing vine. It occurs naturally in mesic and hydric hammocks, pine flatwoods, thickets, bottomland swamps, and ruderal areas. It sometimes grows as an open trailing groundcover in the woods and also creates cascades of brilliant yellow as it grows up into trees and trails off branches.