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.
“Flower Friday” is a weekly profile of a different Florida native wildflower.
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.