White birds-in-a-nest (Macbridea alba)
Click on terms for botanical definitions.
White birds-in-a-nest is another Florida endemic perennial wildflower. Flowers are borne on single erect square stems. Each flower has a double-lipped white corolla and a hood-like upper lip. Its bracts are bright green to greenish-yellow. Leaves are lanceolate to spatulate and are oppositely arranged. Although it is in the mint family, it is typically without fragrance.
White birds-in-a-nest flowers May through July. It is fire-dependent and occurs naturally in coastal pinelands, seeps, and wet savannas. It is a state-listed endangered species and a US-listed threatened species. Threats to this species include destruction of habitat, suppression of fire, silvicultural, and herbicides used on powerline rights-of-way.
White birds-in-a-nest gets its common name from the way its white flowers and buds resemble bird heads and eggs nestled within a green nest that is formed by the flower’s bracts.
Family: Lamiaceae (mint family)
Native range: Bay, Gulf, Franklin, and Liberty counties
To see where natural populations of white birds-in-a-nest have been vouchered, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Soil: Poorly drained soils
Exposure: Full sun to minimal shade
Growth habit: 1-2’ tall
Garden tips: White birds-in-a-nest seeds and plants are not commercially available. You’ll have to visit a natural area to see them.
To see where white birds-in-a-nest occurs naturally, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.