Also known as Scarlet rosemallow, Scarlet hibiscus (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. In late summer, it produces large, crimson blooms that remain open for only one day. Scarlet rosemallow is a profuse bloomer, however, and will typically produce many flowers throughout the summer. Like other plants with deep red flowers, it is very attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators.
“Flower Friday” is a weekly profile of a different Florida native wildflower.
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.
American lotus (Nelumbo lutea) is an aquatic emergent perennial with large, solitary flowers that are pale yellow in color and are very fragrant. It has one of the largest blooms of any flowering plant in America. It occurs naturally in still to slow-moving freshwater habitats such as along lake and pond edges, and in freshwater marshes.
Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a perennial that produces large, showy clusters of bright orange to reddish flowers from spring through fall. It occurs naturally in sandhills, pine flatwoods, and other sandy uplands as well as along sunny roadsides. It is an exception to the Asclepias genus in that its stem does not contain the milky latex that distinguishes the rest of the genus and gives it the common name “milkweed.”
Partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata) flowers in the summer to late fall, and year-round in southern Florida. It occurs naturally in scrub, sandhill, flatwoods, beach dunes and disturbed areas. The blooms attract mostly bees and butterflies, although ants are also attracted to the nectar glands. It is the host plant to several species of butterfly, including the Gray hairstreak and Cloudless sulfur.
Tarflower (Bejaria racemosa) is a woody evergreen shrub with showy white to pinkish flowers. It occurs naturally in scrub, pine flatwoods and scrubby flatwoods and is found in most of peninsular Florida, but its native range does not extend into the Panhandle. It gets its common name from its sticky flowers that attract and then trap bees, flies and other insects.