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Friday, December 19, 2014

Catesby's lily. Photos by John Moran for the Florida Wildflower Foundation

Dear Friend,

With your support, the Florida Wildflower Foundation made major strides in 2014 to ensure that La Florida, our land of flowers, lives up to its name. You helped us spread the word about the starring role native wildflowers play in a healthy ecosystem. Here are just a few of the things we could not have accomplished had it not been for your support:

Donate now!
1.  More wildflowers than ever are blooming along roadsides, thanks to people like you who are enthused and empowered by our work with state and county transportation officials to establish wildflower areas with mowing guidelines. That means more wildflowers feeding more pollinators — feeding us!

2.  Studies such as the one undertaken by the Florida Department of Transportation at the Foundation's request are showing that native wildflowers' value far exceeds their beauty. Ecosystem services — such as reducing the effects of vehicle emissions and trimming the cost of highway maintenance while providing habitat for essential crop pollinators — add up to millions of dollars in savings over the long run. How beautiful is that?

3.  Finishing touches are being put on fourth-grade curriculum, developed with help from our friends at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. Enhancing classroom education is a way to reach out to the next generation of Earth's stewards. Says Shane Overstreet, an educator at the Oakland Nature Preserve in Orange County: "It seems when we empower the kids with knowledge of a native world, they can't help but to then pass it on to friends and family."

Your support is vital as we push ahead on planting, education and research projects designed to bring Florida's native wildflowers the attention they so deserve. Your generous year-end gift will help us hit the ground running in 2015!

Thank you for all you do for native, natural Florida.


Lisa Roberts
Executive Director
Florida Wildflower Foundation

P.S. We have ambitious plans for the coming year, including expanding educational opportunities and increasing the scope of roadside management. But we can't do it without you. Won't you click on the photo above to help us grow a better Florida with your contribution of $35 or more? We are counting on you to help us keep the momentum going. Your generosity has never been more important!

Flower Friday: Burr marigolds illuminate our wetlands!

Photo by Joseph A. Marcus
Burr marigold (Bidens laevis)

Burr marigold is an annual wildflower that grows en masse in wetlands and along river and marsh edges throughout Florida. Its blooms consist of bright yellow ray flowers and dark yellow to brownish disk flowers. Its leaves are linear to elliptic in shape and oppositely arranged. Burr marigolds bloom in late fall through early winter.

Bidens laevis bears many similarities to other members of the Bidens genus:

  • It attracts many bees and butterflies and is an important source of nectar.
  • Its seeds have two barb-like bristles on the end that stick to clothing, hair and animal fur. (The name Bidens comes from the Latin words bis, meaning "two," and dens, meaning "tooth.")
  • Its young leaves are edible. (But unlike other Bidens members, its leaves are unlobed.)
Family: Asteraceae (Aster or Daisy)
Hardiness: North, Central and South Florida (Zones 7-11)
Soil: Moist to wet or inundated soils
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Growth habit: 2–3 feet tall
Garden tips: A mass of burr marigold can be beautiful in a large wetland planting, but it is not recommended for the small or formal landscape as it can spread prolifically.

Burr marigold is occasionally available at nurseries that specialize in native plants.Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.

To see where burr marigold occurs naturally, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=4084

Friday, December 12, 2014

Flower Friday: Skyblue clustervine is a South Florida specialty.

Photo by Jason Hollinger.
Skyblue clustervine (Jacquemontia pentanthos)

Skyblue clustervine is an evergreen, twining vine that produces many small but showy flowers. Bloom colors range from sky blue to pinkish-lavendar, all with white "throats." Leaves are deeply veined and oval- to cordate-shaped.

Also known as Key West morning-glory, skyblue clustervine occurs naturally in coastal hammocks and along wetlands in South Florida. It typically flowers in winter, but is known to bloom from early fall through late spring.

Skyblue clustervine is a member of the morning glory family, so flowers open in the morning. It attracts a variety of pollinators, including the nessus sphinx (Amphion floridensis), tantalus sphinx (Aellopus tantalus) and tersa sphinx (Xylophanes tersa) moths, which pollinate the flowers at dusk. 

It is an endangered species in Florida.

Family: Convolvulaceae (Morning glory)
Hardiness: South Florida (Zones 10-11)
Soil: Moist but well-drained sand or lime rock
Exposure: Full sun to minimal shade
Growth habit: trailing vine, 6–12+ feet with support
Garden tips: Skyblue clustervine works well on a trellis or as a ground cover. It is easily propagated by seeds or from cuttings.

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

To see where skyblue clustervine occurs naturally, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=919.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Flower Friday: Hammock snakeroot is great for formal and naturalistic landscapes.

Photo by Wayne Matchett, www.spacecoastwildflowers.com
Hammock snakeroot (Ageratina jucunda) 
Hammock snakeroot is a low-growing, herbaceous to woody shrub that produces many clusters of white, flat-topped flowers. It is yet another member of the Eupatorieae tribe of the Aster family, which means its flowers consist of only disc and no ray florets. Its disc flowers are tubular. Hammock snakeroot's leaves are oppositely arranged and triangular with serrate margins.

Photo by Jason Sharp, Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants
Hammock snakeroot flowers in summer through early winter. It occurs naturally in pine flatwoods, sandhills, hammocks, upland mixed woodlands, and along roadsides and stream banks. Flowers are attractive to a variety of bees, butterflies and birds, but the plant is poisonous to both humans and livestock if ingested.

Family: Asteraceae
Hardiness: Eastern panhandle and throughout peninsular Florida (Zones 8-11)
Soil: Moist but well-drained soils
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Growth habit: 2-3 feet tall (usually taller than wide)
Garden tips: Hammock snakeroot makes a nice low shrub border, but also works well in naturalistic plantings and in mixed beds. It can tolerate short periods of drought once established.

Hammock snakeroot seeds are available through the Florida Wildflowers Growers 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 hammock snakeroot occurs naturally, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=2516.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Flower Friday: Skip the crowded malls and head out to a wetland to see climbing aster in bloom!

Photo by Mary Keim
Climbing aster (Symphyotrichum carolinianum)
Climbing aster is a robust vine-like shrub that produces many fragrant daisy-like blooms. Its ray florets vary in color from lavender to pinkish or even bluish; disk florets are yellow to reddish-orange. Its leaves are alternately arranged and elliptical- to lanceolate-shaped with entire margins. Climbing aster is a profuse bloomer.

Climbing aster occurs naturally in floodplain swamps and marshes, in coastal hammocks and wet pine flatwoods, and along riverbanks and lake edges. It typically flowers in late fall and is an excellent nectar source for many butterflies and bees.

Climbing aster in bloom along Wekiva River
Photo by Lisa Roberts
: Asteraceae
Hardiness: North, Central and South Florida (Zones 8-11)
Soil: Moist to saturated soil
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Growth habit: 10+ feet
Garden tips: Climbing aster is a showy plant that is adaptable to a variety of conditions. Its sprawling nature can appear messy and it may require effort to keep it under control. It is best for an informal or naturalized landscape. It also works well on a trellis or fence.

Climbing aster is usually available at nurseries that specialize in native plants.Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.

To see where climbing aster occurs naturally, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=3150.