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.”
“Flower Friday” is a weekly profile of a different Florida native wildflower.
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.
Blanketflower (Gaillardia pulchella), also known as Indian blanket or Firewheel, is a brightly colored herbaceous wildflower that blooms in spring, summer and into fall in North Florida, and year-round in Central and South Florida. It occurs naturally in dry savannahs, coastal dunes and other dry, open areas. The blooms attract a variety of pollinators.
Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is a large wetland shrub that produces many globular, white flowers with protruding pistils that give them a pincushion-like appearance. It occurs naturally in wetlands and along stream and river edges. The flowers attract many bees, butterflies and moths; the seeds are eaten by ducks and other birds; and the foliage is browsed by deer.