Creeping woodsorrel's small yellow flowers and clover-shaped leaves

Spring “weeds” benefit pollinators

Pictured above: Creeping woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata) by Scott Zona (CC BY-NC 2.0). Article by Jeff Norcini.

Many of our spring blooming wildflowers put on a showy display. Others, not so much. Some are considered weeds — even showy ones — when they occur in turf. However, all of them benefit pollinators, either as larval host plants or by supplying nectar. The spring blooming native wildflowers listed below commonly occur in turf in residential areas and on roadsides.

If you have these natives growing in your yard, consider delaying mowing until after they have bloomed, which is in accordance with No Mow May, a national initiative that supports bees, butterflies and other insect pollinators. Here in Florida, I suggest not mowing earlier in the spring, but waiting until mid- to late May when most of these species have stopped flowering.

Noted with each species is where it occurs in Florida, as well as its benefit to pollinators. Clicking on the wildflower name will lead to the Florida Plant Atlas page for that species, which includes photos that aid identification.

Carolina cranesbill flower and beak-like seed pods
Carolina cranesbill (Geranium carolinianum)
by Malcolm Manners (CC BY 2.0)
Blue toadflax (Linaria canadensis) by Mary Keim
False garlic's white star-shaped flowers
False garlic (Nothoscordum bivalve) by Eleanor Dietrich
Creeping woodsorrel's small yellow flowers and clover-shaped leaves
Creeping woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata) by Mary Keim
Florida betony (Stachys floridana) by Pauline Singleton (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Clasping Venus' looking glass, Triodanis perfoliata
Clasping Venus’ looking glass (Triodanis perfoliata) by Eleanor Dietrich

Along roadsides from the Panhandle to Central Florida, there are spectacular displays of Drummond phlox (Phlox drummondii), with mainly red, pink and purple flowers. And from Ocala north, large stands of the yellow Goldenmane tickseed (Coreopsis basalis) are starting to bloom and should continue well into May. Drummond phlox is not native to Florida but has naturalized along many roadsides and adjacent fields. Whether Goldenmane tickseed is native to Florida is less clear, although it’s currently classified as non-native. For more on this species, see “Goldenmane tickseed — native to Florida or Texas native naturalized in Florida?”


Contact your county maintenance yard supervisor to ask that roadside native grasses and wildflowers in specific locations be spared. On state and U.S. highways, contact your Florida Department of Transportation District Wildflower Coordinator.

Fewflower milkweed, Asclepias lanceolata, on Dixie County roadside
Fewflower milkweed (Asclepias lanceolata) grows along a Dixie County roadway. Photo by Jeff Norcini

Submit your photos!

It’s easy to submit photos of the native wildflowers you see for posting on the Foundation’s What’s in Bloom map. Just email them to You can also post photos to the Florida Native Wildflowers Facebook group and Florida Wildflowers Flickr group. For all submissions, please include the plant’s scientific name (common name is OK) and its location. If you are uncertain about a wildflower’s nativity to Florida, consult the Atlas of Florida Plants before posting. If submitting a photo to the Foundation’s Facebook group and you can’t identify it using the Atlas of Florida Plants, inquire about nativity when posting. There are many other good botany resources noted in the Facebook group’s rules.