Although summer’s heat keeps many of us inside, it’s a busy time for wildflowers. Thousands of butterflies, bees, wasps and other insects visit flowers to obtain nectar. It’s also the changing of the guard, when lovely delicate spring bloomers such as coral bean, Coreopsis and skullcap are replaced by sturdier heat-loving species.
Dr. Loran Anderson is a professor emeritus in the department of biological science at Florida State University in Tallahassee. His research has focused on plant taxonomy and systematics in the Florida Panhandle and elsewhere. He is currently compiling a checklist of native plants in Panhandle counties that will include rare and endangered species. In 2016, he received the Foundation’s Coreopsis Award in recognition of contribution to Florida’s wildflowers.
The redesigned State Wildflower license plate, now available at county tax collector’s offices, sports a butterfly with two species of Coreopsis, Florida’s official wildflower. Having the fluttering insect as a key part of the new design helps raise awareness of beleaguered pollinators while illustrating the critical link between them and their vanishing wild habitats.
Our wildflower family has lost a dear friend. Dick Bush, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 2 wildflower coordinator until his retirement in 2015, passed away on Feb. 24. He gave his all to the job he loved, and roadsides from Nassau to Levy counties showed it. In 2015, the Foundation gave Dick its Coreopsis Award – its highest honor – in recognition of his lifetime of service of Florida, its environment and its wildflowers.
The main goal of this study was to determine the effects of competition and mowing on native wildflower establishment on road-side right-of-ways (ROWs) dominated by bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum). The species were Flordia ecotypes of Coreopsis lanceolata, C. leavenworthii, Gaillardia puchella, and Ipomopsis rubra. Bahiagrass competition was the main factor limiting establishment of wildflowers under simulated…
If not introduced by Native Americans, it’s possible the C. basalis was introduced into the Panhandle in a previous geologic era and that only small isolated pockets, which were disjunct from the parent population in Texas, were present at the time of European settlement.
Have you ever had a deer wander into your yard to dine on your landscape plants? Well, that’s what happened several years ago at a wildflower demonstration garden established as part of my extension program at the University of Florida/IFAS research center in Quincy.
Bring birds into your landscape by planting Florida native wildflowers, grasses and shrubs that provide food and habitat. Learn more now.
Many of Florida’s spring native wildflowers have large, showy flowers –– such as Iris and Purple thistle. But some common ones may be underappreciated because their flowers are small, near the ground, or just positioned on the stem where they may be hard to see. However, they are quite beautiful when viewed close up.
It’s November, and you might not expect to see any showy bloom of native wildflowers and grasses. But don’t jump too that conclusion too fast, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.