Cowhorn orchid (Cyrtopodium punctatum) is a stunning epiphytic wildflower that occurs in swamps and coastal uplands in South Florida. It typically grows on Cypress (Taxodium spp.) and Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) trees. Florida’s once-abundant population was largely depleted in the early 20th century due to overcollection and habitat destruction. It is now a state-listed endangered species. The plant blooms in late winter through spring, with peak blooming in May.
“Flower Friday” is a weekly profile of a different Florida native wildflower.
Savannah false pimpernel (Lindernia grandiflora) is a low-growing, mat-forming wildflower found in moist pinelands, marshes and swamps. Its diminutive yet flamboyant flowers bloom year-round, peaking in spring. They attract small insects; however, they are primarily self-pollinated. The plantis also known as Blue moneywort and Angel’s tears.
Axilflower (Mecardonia acuminata) is a common but often overlooked perennial wildflower found in moist open habitats. The plant rarely reaches a height of more than 6 inches and is frequently horizontal. It blooms spring through fall (sometimes year-round) and attracts mainly bees. Three subspecies occur in Florida.
Florida bellflower (Campanula floridana) is an herbaceous perennial wildflower endemic to Florida. It is found in moist meadows and along pond, marsh and stream margins and moist roadsides. Its delightful violet flowers bloom in spring and mainly attract bees and butterflies, although hummingbirds also have been known to visit them.
Also known as False mint, Sixangle foldwing (Dicliptera sexangularis) is a modest yet eye-catching wildflower found in coastal hammocks and strands, ruderal areas and mangrove swamps, and along salt marsh edges. It typically flowers spring through early fall, but may bloom year-round. Its bright red blooms are particularly attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. The plant is a larval host for the Cuban crescent butterfly.
Gray nicker (Guilandina bonduc) is a vine-like shrub found in coastal strands and mangrove swamps along Florida’s central and southern coasts, where it clambers over other vegetation. Its striking clusters of fragrant yellow flowers typically bloom in spring and summer, but may bloom year-round in South Florida. The plant is a larval host for the Miami blue and Nickerbean blue butterflies.