Friday, September 30, 2016

Flower Friday: One look and you'll see why this flower is called bluecurls.

Photo by Stacey Matrazzo
Forked bluecurls (Trichostema dichotomum)
Forked bluecurls is an herbaceous to woody annual that bears dainty yet distinctive bluish-purple blooms. Flowers are two-lipped; the lower lip is white with purplish spots and tips. Stamens are long, purple and obviously curled. Leaves are narrowly elliptical and oppositely arranged. Stems are pubescent.

Flowers are short-lived, opening only in the morning, but individual plants may produce thousands of flowers throughout a season. It also has a particularly long flowering season, typically beginning in late summer and lasting through late fall, although flowering can continue into winter and sometimes even spring, depending on conditions. It tends to flower heaviest as the weather starts to get cooler. Forked bluecurls occurs naturally in sandhills, pine flatwoods, and open hammocks, as well as in disturbed areas throughout Florida.

Forked bluecurls is attractive to many pollinators, but especially to bees.

Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Hardiness: North, Central and South Florida (Zones 7-11)
Soil: Well-drained, sandy soils
Exposure: Full sun to minimal shade
Growth habit: 1–3 feet tall, 1–2 feet wide
Garden tips: Forked bluecurls is an ideal addition to a home landscape. It can be propagated by seeds or cuttings. It is a prolific self-seeder and spreads quickly, so it may require thinning to keep in check.

Forked bluecurls are sometimes available at nurseries that specialize in native plants. Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery in your area.

To see where forked bluecurls occurs naturally, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=3638.
Photo by Eleanor Dietrich

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