American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) is a woody shrub found in pinelands and hammocks throughout Florida. The plant’s foliage offers cover for small wildlife. Its flowers are a nectar source for butterflies and bees, while its dense clusters of berries provide food for birds and deer in late summer and fall.
“Flower Friday” is a weekly profile of a different Florida native wildflower.
Wild coffee (Psychotria nervosa) is an evergreen shrub that occurs naturally in coastal, hydric, mesic and rockland hammocks throughout Florida’s peninsula. Its flowers typically bloom in spring and summer, but may bloom year-round. They are attractive to a variety of pollinators, especially Atala and Schaus’ swallowtail butterflies. The plant’s fruits are a favorite of many birds and small wildlife. Humans can eat the berries, as well, but they are rather bland.
Coastal doghobble (Leucothoe axillaris) is an evergreen shrub found in swamps, wet hammocks and flatwoods, and along stream edges. Its profusion of spring-blooming flowers is pollinated primarily by bees. It is best suited for moist, shady landscapes, but requires good air circulation to prevent leaf spot diseases. Its interesting evergreen foliage and showy flowers keep it attractive throughout the year.
Virginia willow (Itea virgnica) is an erect to spreading shrub with showy spikes of tiny white flowers that bloom in late winter through early summer. It occurs naturally in floodplain swamps, seepage slopes, stream and lake edges, and calcareous and mesic hammocks. The plant provides food and cover for wildlife. Despite its common name, it is not a true willow, which are members of the Salix genus in the Salicaceae family. It is also known as Sweetspire and Tassel-white.
Yellow anisetree (Illicium parviflorum) is an evergreen shrub to small tree found in mesic hammocks, bluffs, ravines and seepage swamps. It is endemic to only seven Central Florida counties. Its dense evergreen foliage provides cover for birds and other wildlife. Its lightly fragrant blooms appear in spring and summer. They are pollinated by small insects, particularly flies in the Diptera order.
Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) is a shrub or tree found in coastal and inland scrub, dunes, floodplains and hammocks. Its diminutive flowers bloom in spring, attracting a variety of bees and other insects. In the fall, abundant fruit production provides food for birds and small mammals. The dense evergreen foliage provides year-round cover for wildlife.