Friday, January 2, 2015

Flower Friday: Buttonsage will bring in the butterflies year round!

Buttonsage flower cluster (Photo by Bob Peterson)
Buttonsage (Lantana involucrata)

Buttonsage leaf arrangement (Photo by Stacey Matrazzo)
Buttonsage is a woody, evergreen shrub that produces dense clusters of small, fragrant, whitish to lavender flowers. Leaves are oppositely arranged, ovate to elliptical in shape, with toothed margins and a rough upper surface. They are aromatic when crushed. Its fruit is a small, purplish-black drupe.

Buttonsage occurs naturally along coastal strands, dunes, hammocks, and pinelands in coastal counties from Pinellas (on the west) and Brevard (on the east) south to Monroe and into the Keys.

Family: Verbenaceae (Verbena)
Hardiness: North, Central and South Florida (Zones 8A-11)
Soil: Well-drained, sandy soils
Exposure: Full sun to minimal shade
Growth habit: 3–5+ feet tall with 1–5 foot spread
Garden tips: Buttonsage is an excellent addition to tropical and subtropical butterfly gardens as
its nectar is attractive to a variety of butterflies and other pollinators and it blooms year round. It is drought- and salt-tolerant. It also works well as a hedge plant.

Caution: Do not confuse this with its non-native relative, Lantana camara, which has larger, more colorful blooms, but is highly invasive and thus should be avoided. Lantana camara is the species typically found at big box retail garden centers. Be sure to inquire with staff to ensure you are purchasing the native species, or visit a nursery that specializes in native plants. Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.

To see where buttonsage occurs naturally, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=3639.


Calvin James said...

That flower is gorgeous! I have never heard of Buttonsages before this, but they are really unique looking! They have a very geometric look to them which I like. Do you know where you can buy seeds for them? http://www.harvestingbeauty.com

FlaWildflowers said...

We're not aware of seeds for this plant, but if anyone had them it would be the Florida Wildflower Seed Co-op, www.floridawildflowers.com.