-

Search This Blog

Loading...

Friday, August 28, 2015

Flower Friday: Look for camphorweed along roadsides and coastal dunes

Photo by Alan Cressler
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Camphorweed (Heterotheca subaxillaris

Camphorweed is an aromatic, annual to biennial herbaceous shrub. Its copious blooms consist of bright yellow ray flowers and vivid yellow to orange disk flowers. Leaves are elliptic to lanceolate and alternately arranged with toothed margins. Leaves and stems are covered in bristly hairs (see photo below) and are sticky to the touch.

Camphorweed typically blooms in summer and fall, although in certain conditions it may bloom year-round. In spring, it appears as a basal rosette of rough, almost sagittate leaves from which the flower stalk emerges. It occurs naturally on coastal dunes and grasslands, in scrubs, pinelands and ruderal areas. It is attractive to many bees and butterflies. 

As the common name suggests, camphorweed has a camphor-like aroma (or odor, as some might suggest), particularly when the leaves are disturbed.

 
Photo by Walter Taylor
Family
: Asteraceae (Aster or daisy family)
Native range: Nearly throughout Florida
Hardiness: Zones 7–10
Soil: Dry, well-drained, sandy soils
Exposure: Full sun
Growth habit: up to 3'+ tall with 10-20'+ spread
Propagation: Seeds
Garden tips: Camphorweed is often overlooked as a desirable landscape plant, as it can become weedy in appearance and habit. It is, however, incredibly tolerant of varied and harsh conditions. It can be propagated by seeds, which should be collected when the flower heads appear brown and "fuzzy" (see photo below). It readily self-sows.

Camphorweed seeds are available from the Florida Wildflower Cooperative.

To see where camphorweed occurs naturally, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=3339.


Left: Pubescent stems and leaves. Photo by Joseph Marcus, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Right: "Fuzzy" seed heads. Photo by Thomas Muller, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Friday, August 21, 2015

Flower Friday: This brilliant beach beauty's blooms are brief!

Beach morning glory (Ipomoea imperati)


Photo by Bill Frank, taken near Mayport Naval Station, Duval County
Beach morning glory is a low-growing, sprawling, non-climbing vine with showy white flowers. Blooms are large (about 2"+) and funnel-shaped with fused white petals and yellow centers. Leaves are small in comparison to the bloom and are elliptic- to oval-shaped with a notched tip (apex). They are leathery, succulent and alternately arranged. Seeds are capsules.

Beach morning glory typically blooms in summer and fall. It occurs naturally on coastal dunes.


Like other members of the Ipomoea genus, beach morning glory flowers in the morning and its blooms begin to wilt and close up by afternoon, hence the common name "morning glory."

The family name Convolvulaceae comes from the Greek convolvere, which means "to wind," referring to the winding nature of the stems. 
 
Family: Convolvulaceae (Morning glory family)
Native range: Coastal counties (from Escambia east to Franklin; from Nassau south into the Keys; Levy, Hernando, Pinellas and Charlotte)
Hardiness: Zones 8–10
Soil: Dry, well-drained, sandy soils
Exposure: Full sun
Growth habit: up to 6" with 10-20'+ spread
Propagation: Seeds, cuttings
Garden tips: Beach morning glory
has a tendency to grow fast and spread quickly, thus it is best suited for coastal landscapes and dune restoration sites where it can sprawl freely. In the right conditions, however, it can be used as a groundcover if closely maintained.

Caution: Some species in the Ipomoea genus are known to be toxic to humans if ingested.

Beach morning glory plants are often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants. Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.


To see where beach morning glory occurs naturally, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=2755.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Flower Friday: Who doesn't love the brilliant beam of a black-eyed Susan?

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Black-eyed Susan is a bright, cheerful wildflower found throughout Florida. Its compound flower head consists of many long yellow ray flowers surrounding a core of dark purple to brown disk flowers. Each solitary flower head is born on a rough, erect stem that emerges from a basal rosette of bristly leaves. Leaves along the stem are alternately arranged, with toothed margins and rough surfaces. Seeds are tiny black achenes. Depending on the conditions, black-eyed Susan can perform as a short-lived perennial, biennial or annual.

 
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) in mixed wildflower garden.
Photo by Andrea England.
Black-eyed Susan typically blooms in spring through fall and occurs naturally in flatwoods, sandhills, open disturbed areas and along roadsides. It is pollinated by a variety of insects, and its seeds are eaten by seed-eating birds.

Family: Asteraceae (Aster or Composite family)
Native range: Nearly throughout Florida
Hardiness: Zones 7–10
Soil: Rich, well-drained soils
Exposure: Full sun to minimal shade
Growth habit: 1-3' tall with 1-2' spread
Propagation: Seed

Garden tips: Black-eyed Susans are easy to grow and maintain. They spread by way of abundant self-sown seed. They are adaptable to both dry and moist sites, but flower best with regular moisture. They are excellent for mixed wildflower gardens, and disturbed areas such as roadsides and medians.


Blackeyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta) and starrush whitetop
(Rhynchospora colorata) along Florida's turnpike.
Photo by Jeff Norcini.
Note
: There are two forms of Rudbeckia hirta found naturally in Florida -- R. hirta var. angustifolia in the northern 1/3 of the state, and R. hirta var. floridana in the central and southern part of Florida.
Both forms are typically available from native nurseries  and they usually sell the form most common to their latitude, however, when purchasing R. hirta for your landscape, be sure to ask which variety is being sold. Non-native varieties are not recommended. (Source: Craig Huegel)

Black-eyed Susan seeds are available from the Florida Wildflower Cooperative.
Plants are often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants.Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.

To see where powderpuff occurs naturally, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=2286.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Flower Friday: No need to rush -- this sedge blooms all year!

Photo by Bruce Leander,
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Starrush whitetop (Rhynchospora colorata)

Starrush whitetop is a unique and long-lived perennial sedge. It is known (and named) for its striking bracts that are often mistaken for a daisy-like flower. The bracts are white with green tips, giving the appearance of having been spray-painted. The inflorescence is actually a dense cluster of small spikes, each bearing many tiny flowers. Leaf blades arise from the base of the plant and are long and tapering. Like most sedges, starrush whitetop stems are triangular. But unlike most sedges and other grass-like species, which are wind-pollinated, starrush whitetop is pollinated by insects that are attracted to the showy bracts.

Starrush whitetop occurs naturally in wet flatwoods, wet prairies, swales and roadside ditches.


The genus name comes from the Greek rhynchos (beak) and spora (seed) and refers to the plant's beaked fruit or achene. 

Photo by Ray Mathews, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Family
: Cyperaceae
Native range: Nearly throughout Florida; less frequent in Panhandle
Hardiness: Zones 8–10
Soil: Moist to inundated sand, loam or muck
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Growth habit: 1–2 feet
Propagation: seed, division
Garden tips: Starrush whitetop can make an interesting groundcover in moist landscapes and also works well in water gardens. It can spread if allowed.



Starrush whitetop is sometimes available at nurseries that specialize in native plants. Visit http://plantrealflorida.org/plants/detail/rhynchospora-colorata to find a native nursery on your area.


To see where starrush whitetop occurs naturally, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=726.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Flower Friday: Pollinators are passionate for purple pickerelweed

Photo by R. W. Smith,
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Pickerelweed is a long-lived, perennial wetland wildflower. Its conspicuous blooms are born in erect, showy spikes. Flowers are tubular with deep purplish-blue petals that often bear yellow and white markings. Leaves are dark green and alternately arranged. Their shape is sagittate (arrow-shaped), with a long, tapering blade and a cordate (heart-shaped) base, hence the species name, cordata. Flower spikes extend above all but one leaf, which grows just below and behind the spike. Seeds are inconspicuous, and are edible to humans and wildlife. Ducks are known to eat the entire plant.

Pickerelweed typically blooms in spring through summer and occurs naturally in open, aquatic habitats such as pond, lake or river edges, marshes and swamps. It is pollinated primarily by bees, but is visited by many butterflies and other insects. 


Photo by Alan Cressler, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Family
: Pontederiaceae
Native range: Nearly throughout Florida
Hardiness: Zones 7–10
Soil: Inundated to saturated soils
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Growth habit: 2–4 feet
Propagation: seed, division
Garden tips: Pickerelweed is great for water gardens as well as pond edges and drainage swales, where it can also help with soil stabilization. It flowers best if grown in full sun. It is fast-growing and spreads easily on its own by underground rhizomes, forming large colonies if not maintained.

Pickerelweed is often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants.Visit plantrealflorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.

To see where pickerelweed occurs naturally, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=3688.