Field of Blue-eyed grass along roadside

Bloom Report: Early spring brings the blues

Pictured above: Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium sp.) along I-75 near San Antonio. Photo by Jeff Norcini

The mild winter, adequate rain, and a warm beginning to spring has many wildflowers blooming a couple of weeks earlier than normal, the same as last spring. Expect the trend of earlier than normal flowering to continue as this spring may be warmer and wetter than normal according to the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center.

A warmer than normal spring is not what many Floridians want to hear as that implies an early start to summer weather. For some relief, think cool, and the cool color of blue spring wildflowers. And by blue, think true blue.

Listed here are native wildflowers that are true blue (no hint of purple), as well those that can vary from true blue to purplish (or even white). Wildflowers that occur throughout the state will bloom earlier in south Florida than in north Florida. Most of the native wildflowers in this list occur on roadsides.

Common nameScientific nameColor1Bloom timeRegion; Habitat
Fringed bluestarAmsonia ciliatatrue blue to nearly whiteearly to mid-springN, C
dry, sandy areas
Whitemouth dayflowerCommelina erectatrue bluelate springN, C, S
dry, sandy areas
Dixie irisIris hexagonatrue bluemid-springN, C, S
moist areas
Blue flag irisIris viriginicatrue bluemid-springN, C
moist areas
ToadflaxLinaria canadensistrue blue to purplishlate winter to early springN, C, S
dry to slightly dry
Bay lobeliaLobelia feayanatrue blue to purplishearly to mid-springN (Madison County and east), C, S
moist areas
Skyblue lupineLupinus diffusustrue bluelate winter to early springN (western Panhandle, peninsula), C, S
dry, sandy areas
Narrowleaf blue-eyed grass2Sisyrinchium angustifoliumtrue blue, purplish, whitelate winter to mid-springN, C, S
moist areas
Jeweled blue-eyed grass2Sisynrichium nashiitrue blueearly springN, C, S
dry, sandy areas
Jeweled blue-eyed grass2Sisynrichium xerophyllumtrue blueearly to mid-springN, C, S
dry, sandy areas
Blue porterweedStachytarpheta jamaicensistrue blue, purplishall yearC, S
dry, sandy areas
SpiderwortTradescantia ohiensistrue blue, purplish, whitelate winter to late springN, C
slightly dry to slightly moist areas
Hairyflower spiderwortTradescantia hirsutifloratrue blue, roselate winter to late springN (Pahandle)
dry, sandy areas

1 Known colors
2 Not a grass; member of Iris family

When you are out and about, enjoying the spring beauty that Mother Nature has blessed us with, please don’t pick wildflowers. If you want to preserve the memory of a wildflower, take a picture — it will last longer. Many of our native wildflowers reproduce only by seed. Picking a flower reduces the ability of that plant to reproduce and for that population of wildflowers to sustain itself. If you want to pick wildflowers, plant some in your yard or in containers on your patio or porch. Wildflower seed packets are available from the Florida Wildflower Seed and Plant Growers Association. Click here for seed packet availability and ordering. Seed packets of Florida native wildflowers also may be available at garden centers specializing in Florida native plants. To find a native garden center near you, visit the Florida Association of Native Nurseries’ web site.

For specific locations to view wildflowers, drive along one of the wildflower routes developed by the Foundation:

For more information about these routes, visit the Foundation’s Research page and scroll down to the report links.

Dr. Jeff Norcini has a consulting business, OecoHort, LLC, and is FDOT’s wildflower specialist, Tallahassee.