The Panhandle Wildflower Alliance’s Fall 2019 newsletter features updates about new wildflower programs, where to see wildflowers in bloom, and much more.
The Florida Wildflower Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s Viva Florida Landscape Demonstration Garden grants. Five grants were awarded for the following projects: Cutting Horse Eco-Center, Bonita Springs (Lee County); Folly Farm Nature Preserve, Safety Harbor (Pinellas County); Orange County UF/IFAS Extension, Orlando; Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens (St. Lucie County); and Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (Lee County).
In the same genus as Monarchs, Queen butterflies share many characteristics with their royal cousins. Queens and Monarchs are similar in appearance, rely on milkweed as a host plant and carry a toxin from milkweed in their bodies into adulthood. Queens do not participate in the same migration as Monarchs, however, and have distinguishing physical differences.
Look for spring’s wildflower displays in wet areas and ditches, thanks to the heat. Dry-adapted wildflowers also may do well. Read our Bloom Report to find out more about what to expect.
Phenology, nature’s calendar for matching plant maturity and animal needs, is ideal when plants are blooming and providing vegetative habitat and food for insects, birds and other animals in the right place and at the right time. Here’s what you can do when nature’s timing is off.
Green antelopehorn (Asclepias viridis) is an herbaceous perennial wildflower found in pinelands, pine rocklands and disturbed areas in a few Florida counties. It flowers winter through summer, with peak blooms in spring. Like many members of the milkweed family, Green antelopehorn is a larval host plant for Monarch, Queen and Soldier butterflies. Their caterpillars have adapted to feed on the plant, which contains a milky latex that is toxic to most animals. The flowers are also an important nectar source for bees and wasps.
Kim and Peter Connolly have been active members of the Florida Wildflower Foundation and have attended various Foundation field trips and events for the past three years.They are both Florida Master Naturalists, with Peter serving his third year on the board of the Space Coast Chapter. Their free time is spent documenting local flora and fauna for iNaturalist. To date, they have added 907 observations of unique species to the site.
Effect of Systemic Use for Commercial Nursery Propagation of Asclepias currasavica on Monarch Larvae
People who buy milkweed plants (most commonly Tropical milkweed [Asclepias curassavica]) from big box stores such as Lowes and Home Depot to feed monarch larvae frequently report that their larvae often die after feeding on the purchased plants. This is likely due to the plants being treated with topical or systemic insecticides. However, detailed information concerning the exact chemicals used and their potential impact on monarch larval mortality is poorly understood. This study sought to provide information on insecticides and larval mortality.
Podduturu M. (P.M.) and Vijaya Reddy have been active members of the Florida Wildflower Foundation (FWF) since 2017. Frequently attending field trips and other events, P.M. additionally volunteered at our 2019 Florida Wildflower Symposium in Gainesville, photographing workshops and activities during the weekend. Vijaya and P.M. use FWF resources to talk to their local community of Palm Coast about the importance of native wildflowers.
Originally named for the Delaware tribes of Native Americans near where this butterfly was discovered, the Delaware skipper is now found throughout the eastern United States. This small, bright orange butterfly is attracted to grassy meadows and wet areas. As part of the Grass skipper subfamily of skippers, its larval hosts are grasses and sedges.
Join us on our Jan. 25 service project as we visit and help protect Seminole State Forest’s Warea Tract. We will be removing invasive Natal grass and learning about the importance of the tract from Forester Mike Martin and Todd Angel. The Warea Tract holds many threatened and endangered species we may have the opportunity to see, including Florida bonamia (Bonamia grandiflora), Lewton’s polygala (Polygala lewtonii), Sweet-scented pigeonwings (Clitoria fragrans), Scrub plum (prunus geniculata) and Scrub buckwheat (Eriogonum longifolium var. gnaphalifolium).
You might find one of these creatures hanging upside-down, but it’s not a bat (or a vampire). It’s a Silver-spotted skipper!
The Silver-spotted skipper is one of the largest, most widespread and recognizable skippers. It has a quick jerky flight that is typical of skippers. This type of butterfly is common and can be found from northern Mexico to southern Canada, as well as most of the continental United States.You can find Silver-spotted skippers throughout Florida. These butterflies enjoy a disturbed habitat, open woods, foothills, stream sides, prairie waterways, edges of forests, swamps, brushy areas and other open areas with nectar plants.
The Gulf fritillary is sometimes known as the Passion butterfly — so named because of its ardor for Passionflower. You will find so much to love about this unique pollinator!
Gulf fritillaries are medium-sized butterflies with elongated forewings that live in the extreme southern United States. Outside of the U.S., they are a broad-ranging species, found throughout Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and into South America.Gulf fritillaries enjoy a variety of habitat including sunny roadsides, disturbed areas, edges, fields, pastures, woodlands, second-growth semitropical forests and urban areas like parks and yards. You may even find them blithely floating around your butterfly garden.
Also known as Florida spiny pod, Florida milkvine (Matelea floridana) is a deciduous twining vine that occurs naturally in sandhills, woodlands and other open habitats. Its small flowers bloom in late spring and summer. They are pollinated mostly by beetles. The plant is a larval host for Monarch, Queen and Soldier butterflies and is a state-listed endangered species.
Read about Escambia County’s new wildflower program, Santa Rosa County’s mowing challenges, spectacular blooms in Jefferson County, Leon County’s City Nature Challenge and much more news from around the Panhandle in the PWA Summer 2019 newsletter.