Firebush (Hamelia patens) is a hardy, fast-growing and showy evergreen shrub to small tree. It produces clusters of bright orange to red tubular flowers that are filled with nectar. The blooms vary in length, attracting both butterflies and hummingbirds.
“Flower Friday” is a weekly profile of a different Florida native wildflower.
Butterweed (Packera glabella) (formerly Senecio glabellus) is one of the first wildflowers to bloom in early spring. It grows in dense stands that illuminate moist roadsides and river edges. It also occurs naturally in alluvial forests and wet, disturbed sites and attracts a variety of pollinators.
If you are tired of mowing, watering and fertilizing the lawn, and fighting chinch bugs and other lawn pests, consider replacing your turf grass with Oblongleaf twinflower (Dyschoriste oblongifolia), an easy-to-care-for native groundcover. It occurs naturally in dry to moist sandhills, flatwoods and mixed upland forests and attracts bees and butterflies, including the malachite and white peacock. It is also a host plant for the common buckeye.
No, it’s not a shamrock. It’s Creeping woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata), a ground-hugging native with distinct clover-like leaves and sunny yellow flowers. It may bloom any time of the year, but it flowers and fruits most in spring. The flowers attract bees, flies and small butterflies. Creeping woodsorrel is common along roadsides and in urban landscapes and disturbed areas. It often gets a bad wrap as a “weed,” but its spreading, low-growing habit make it an excellent groundcover option.
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.