Friday, May 15, 2015

Flower Friday: Florida's wetlands are festooned with lizard's tail blooms

Photo by Stacey Matrazzo
Lizard's tail (Saururus cernuus)
Lizard's tail is a perennial aquatic wildflower. Its tiny, white blooms are borne in abundance on long, "nodding" racemes, making for a distinctive and showy display. The flowers are also quite fragrant. Leaves are arrowhead- or heart-shaped, stalked and alternately arranged. They clasp the stems, which are hairy and reddish in color.

Lizard's tail flowers in early spring through summer and occurs naturally in shallow swamps and marshes, along ditches and drainage canals, and in wet forests.
It attracts a variety of pollinators and is also eaten by foraging ducks such as wood ducks.

Both the common and genus name refer to the flower's resemblance to a lizard's tail.

Family: Saururaceae (Lizard's tail family)
Native range: Throughout most of Florida
Hardiness: Zones 7-10
Soil: Rich, mild to acidic, saturated soils

Photo by Laurel Newman
Exposure: Full to partial shade
Growth habit: 2-4 feet tall
Garden tips: This plant is best suited for pond, drainage swale and wetland edges. It spreads by rhizomes and can form dense colonies.

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

To see where lizard's tail occurs naturally, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.

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