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Publication #Circular 1246

Common Native Wildflowers of North Florida1

Jeffrey G. Norcini2

The species in this publication are plants that are native to the U.S. and occur in Florida; most of them are considered native to Florida. You might observe these species along the roadside in North Florida, or while you're taking a hike in a natural area. Information shown in the following tables is based on personal observations and on information obtained from the references listed in the next section. Plant type, flowering, native habitat, and light requirement refer to North Florida conditions. Some of these species may be available at local garden centers or retail nurseries, especially those that specialize in native plants.

The species information presented refers primarily to plants as they occur in the wild. Wildflowers or cultivars obtained through seed companies or at local garden centers may differ substantially in flowering season, appearance, site requirement, and pest susceptibility. In addition, plants derived from a local native population of a wildflower species that are grown under garden conditions (applying supplemental water/fertilizer, pesticides, etc.) may differ in appearance, flowering time, and pest susceptibility compared to that same species as it grows in the wild. Fertilization, if necessary, should be kept to a minimum, especially if using wildflowers derived from a local native population.

The "Uses and Comments" column is included as a guide as to where these species could be used in a residential or commercial landscape. Choose a site with well-drained soil, and consider a species light preference and native habitat. Much of the information about native wildflower habitat is from Guide to the Vascular Plants of the Florida Panhandle by A.F. Clewell (see references).

References

Bell, C.R. and B.J. Taylor. 1982. Florida Wild Flowers and Roadside Plants. Laurel Hill Press, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Clewell, A.F. 1985. Guide to the Vascular Plants of the Florida Panhandle. Florida State University Press, Tallahassee, FL.

Jones, S.B., Jr. and L.E. Foote. 1990. Gardening with Native Wild Flowers. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

Native Nurseries, Tallahassee, FL. 1997. (pers. comm.).

Phillips, H.R. 1985. Growing and Propagating Wild Flowers. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC.

Rickett, H.W. 1967. Wild Flowers of the United States, Volume 2: The Southeastern States. McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.

USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database. (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Taylor, W.K. 1992. The Guide to Florida Wildflowers. Taylor Publishing Co., Dallas, TX.

Taylor, W.K. 1998. Florida Wildflowers In Their Natural Communities. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

Tables

Table 1. 

Descriptions of some native habitats (from Guide to the Vascular Plants of the Florida Panhandle).

Native Habitat Type

Description

Sandhills

Pineland (slash/longleaf) on dry site; understory of turkey oaks or other scrub oaks

Flatwoods

Pineland (slash/longleaf) on moist site; may have understory of saw palmetto

Pine-oak-hickory woods

Occurs on upland loamy soil and on sandy rims of river bluffs

Secondary woods

Reforested lands on drier upland sites

Hammocks

Mixed hardwood forest; soils are moist but not overly wet

Ruderal (disturbed areas)

Areas such as roadsides, lawns, vacant lots, etc.

Table 2. 

Wildflowers for Shade Conditions (species that prefer shade or will tolerate shade like that under a high hardwood forest canopy).

Scientific Name

Common Name

Plant Type1

Flower Season

Flower Color

Height (in flower)

Native Habitat

Uses and Comments

Aquilegia canadensis

Columbine

Perennial

March to April

Red and yellow

1 1/2 to 2 feet

Calcareous woods

Slightly moist site; use for naturalizing; hummingbirds; foliage may die back in summer

Packera aurea (Senecio aureus)

Golden

Ragwort

Perennial; evergreen

March to June

Yellow

Groundcover with 2- to 3-foot flowering stems

Floodplains

Woodlands;

moist site

Coreopsis integrifolia

Chipola Coreopsis

Perennial; evergreen

September to November

Yellow

2 to 3 feet

Floodplains; riverbanks

Moist site; fall flowering coreopsis

Lilium superbum

Turk's-cap Lily

Perennial

July

Orangish red

3 to 9 feet

Hammocks

Moist site; use for naturalizing

Lobelia cardinalis

Cardinal Flower

Perennial

August to October

Intense red

2 to 4 feet

Riverbanks; springs; coastal hammocks

Excellent for moist site; not rec. for full sun; red flowers easy to spot in woods

Packera glabella (Senecio glabellus)

Golden Ragwort; Jeffrey Butterweed

Annual

February to April

Yellow

2 to 4 feet

Floodplains; marshes; along streams; ruderal2

Moist site

Phlox divaricata

Blue Phlox

Perennial; semi-evergreen

February to April

Blue

10 inches

Bluffs; calcareous hammocks

Slightly moist site; foliage may die back in summer

Salvia lyrata

Lyreleaf Sage; Cancer Weed

Perennial; may be evergreen

February to May; October

Purple

1 to 1 1/2 feet

Disturbed areas; marshes

Slightly moist site; sun or shade; ornamental foliage; reseeds

Spigelia marilandica

Indian Pink; Woodland Pinkroot

Perennial

April to May

Red and Yellow

1 to 1 1/2 feet

Bluffs; calcareous hammocks

Rich soil; woodland edges; tubular flowers

1 Plant type - Unless otherwise noted, all species are herbaceous and not evergreen

2 Ruderal means disturbed areas such as roadsides, lawns, vacant lots, etc.

Table 3. 

Wildflowers for High Light Conditions (full sun; filtered sun like that under a high pine canopy; edges of woodlands).

Scientific Name

Common Name

Plant Type1

Flower Season

Flower Color

Height (in flower)

Native Habitat

Uses and Comments

Aletris lutea

Yellow Colicroot

Perennial

March to May

Yellow

2 to 3 feet

Flatwoods; bogs; moist ruderal2 sites

Moist site; roadside ditches or backslopes

Amsonia ciliata

Bluestar; Blue Dogbane

Perennial

April to November

Powder Blue

1 to 3 feet

Sandhills, scrubs; sandy ruderal2 sites

Beautiful blue flower for sandy site

Asclepias humistrata

Pinewoods Milkweed

Perennial

April to June

Pinkish

Prostrate but some stems may ascend

Sandhills, scrubs; dunes

Dry, sandy site; showy foliage (pinkish purple venation)

Asclepias tuberosa

Butterfly Weed

Perennial

May to October

Orange

Up to 32 inches

Sandhills; flatwoods; secondary woods

Hot, dry site

Berlandiera pumila

Soft Greeneyes

Perennial

March to June

Yellow

2 to 3 feet

Sandhills

Dry, sandy site; roadsides

Carphephorus odoratissimus

Vanilla Plant; Deer Tongue

Perennial

September to November

Purple

2 to 3 feet

Flatwoods; bogs; pond margins

Slightly moist site; dead leaves usually have vanilla scent

Cassia (Chamaecrista) fasciculata

Partridge-Pea

Annual; semi-woody

July to October

Yellow

3 to 4 feet

Sandhills; flatwoods; disturbed areas; secondary woods

Hot, dry site; reseeds

Conoclinium coelestinum

Wild Ageratum; Mistflower

Perennial

July to November

Bluish Purple

2 to 3 feet

Floodplains; moist woodland edges; pond margins; ruderal2

Slightly moist site; spreads vegetatively; reseeds

Coreopsis basalis

Dye Flower; Texas Tickseed

Annual

April to June

Yellow

1 to 1 1/2 feet

Disturbed areas

Meadows; dry site; reseeds

Coreopsis lanceolata

Lanceleaf Coreopsis

Perennial; semi-evergreen to evergreen

June to October

Yellow

Up to 2 feet; usually about 1 foot

Sandhills; disturbed areas; edges of cypress swamps

Slightly dry to slightly moist site; reseeds; remove faded blossoms for reflowering

Coreopsis leavenworthii

Leavenworth's Coreopsis

Perennial

July to September

Yellow

1 to 3 feet

Disturbed areas; moist areas

Moist site; edges of woodlands; reseeds

Coreopsis nudata

Swamp Coreopsis; Georgia Tickseed

Perennial

March to June

Pink

2 to 4 feet

Flatwoods; bogs; cypress ponds; wet ditches

Moist site; only pink coreopsis in Florida

Erigeron quercifolius

Southern Fleabane; Oakleaf Fleabane

Perennial

March to June

White with pinkish to purplish tint

1 to 2 feet

Sandhills; disturbed areas; lake margins

Disturbed site; mass planting results in a 'sea of white'

Eupatorium fistulosum

Joe-Pye Weed; Trumpetweed

Perennial

July

Purplish

6 feet or more

Stream banks; wet hammocks; pastures; moist woodland edges

Slightly moist site; large, showy flower heads

Gaillardia pulchella

Blanketflower; Firewheel; Indian Blanket

Annual

May to October

Yellow and red; red; yellow; rose

1 to 2 feet

Disturbed areas; sandy open sites

Excellent for hot, dry site; reseeds; blue-green foliage

Helianthus angustifolius

Swamp Sunflower; Narrow-leaved Sunflower

Perennial

September to October

Yellow

2 feet, but up to 6 feet

Flatwoods; bogs, marshes; disturbed areas; secondary woods

Moist site; very showy yellow fall flower; spreads vegetatively

Helianthus debilis subsp. debilis

Beach Sunflower; Dune Sunflower; Cucumberleaf Sunflower

Annual/Perennial; semi-evergreen

June to August

Yellow

Groundcover, up to 3 feet high

Disturbed areas; beaches

Sandy site in full sun; not freeze tolerant

Helianthus radula

Rayless Sunflower

Perennial

September to November

Dark purple disk flowers (few to no ray flowers)

2 to 3 feet

Flatwoods

Slightly moist site; novelty plant

Ipomopsis rubra

Standing Cypress; Spanish Larkspur

Perennial

July to October

Scarlet

3 to 6 feet

Sandhills; disturbed areas; dunes

Don't use in clayey soils; hummingbirds; feathery foliage

Jacquemontia tamnifolia

Hairy Clustervine; Jacquemontia

Annual; may be semi-woody

July to October

Blue

Creeping or climbing vine

Disturbed areas; floodplains

Slightly dry to slightly moist site; blue summer flowers; reseeds

Liatris elegans

Pinkscale Blazing Star

Perennial

September to October

Lavender

2 to 4 feet

Sandhills; mesic longleaf pinelands; edges of woodlands

Well-drained site; tall flowering stems tend to lodge

Liatris gracilis

Slender Blazing Star

Perennial

September to October

Lavender

2 to 4 feet

Sandhills; flatwoods; bogs; dry bluffs; woodland edges

Well-drained site; tall flowering stems tend to lodge

Lobelia cardinalis

Cardinal Flower

Perennial

August to October

Bright red

2 to 4 feet

Riverbanks; springs; coastal hammocks

Excellent for moist site; not rec. for full sun; red flowers easy to spot in woods

Lupinus perennis

Sundial Lupine

Perennial

March to April

Bluish purple

1 to 2 feet

Sandhills; open woods

Excellent for hot, dry site in full sun; palmately compound leaves

Lupinus villosus

Lady Lupine

Perennial

March to April

Pinkish purple

1 to 1 1/2 feet or more

Sandhills; scrub

Excellent for hot, dry site in full sun; silvery (hairy) ovalish leaves

Monarda punctata

Spotted OR Dotted/Horsemint OR Beebalm

Perennial; may be semi-woody

August to October

Yellowish with pinkish purple bracts

1 1/2 to 3 feet

Disturbed areas; open sandy areas; floodplains

Hot, dry site; unusual flower; best viewed close up

Passiflora incarnata

Passion-Flower; Maypop

Perennial

April to August

Purple

Creeping or climbing vine

Disturbed areas; edges of woodlands

Slightly dry to slightly moist site; exquisite flower; spreads vegetatively

Phlox divaricata

Blue Phlox

Perennial; semi-evergreen

February to April

Blue

10 inches

Bluffs; calcareous hammocks

Slightly moist site; foliage may die back in summer; not recommended for full sun

Phlox drummondii

Drummond Phlox

Annual

March to June

White; pink; purple; red

6 to 12 inches

Disturbed areas

Hot, dry site; reseeds

Pityopsis graminifolia

Grass-leaved Golden Aster

Perennial; semi-evergreen to evergreen

August to November

Yellow

1 1/2 to 3 feet

Sandhills; flatwoods; scrubs; bog; pine-hickory-oak woods

Good for dry site; low-growing, silvery grass-like foliage; spreads vegetatively

Rhexia mariana

Maryland Meadow Beauty; Pale Meadow Beauty

Perennial

May to October

Light pink

1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet

Sandhills; flatwoods; bogs; marshes; wet ditches

Edges of woodlands; moist site; roadside ditches; meadows

Rhexia parviflora

White Meadow Beauty

Perennial

June to August

White

Up to 16 inches

Margins of open cypress swamps

Slightly moist site; Rhexias have interesting urn-shaped capsules

Rudbeckia fulgida

Orange Coneflower

Perennial

August to October

Yellow

1 to 1 1/2 feet

Slightly moist areas

Slightly moist site; spreads vegetatively

Rudbeckia graminifolia

Grassleaf Coneflower

Perennial

May to September

Orangish red

2 to 3 feet

Bogs; cypress swamps

Moist site; grass-like foliage; reflexed petals

Rudbeckia hirta

Black-eyed Susan

Annual; Perennial (short-lived)

May to October

Yellow

1 1/2 to 2 feet

Sandhills; bogs; pine forests

Slightly dry site; full sun to part shade; reseeds

Rudbeckia mollis

Softhair Coneflower

Annual

June to July

Yellow

1 1/2 to 3 feet

Sandhills

Hot, dry site; several flowers per stem in a raceme

Rhynchospora colorata

Starrush; White-top Sedge

Perennial

June to November

White (with white bracts)

1 to 3 feet

Flatwoods; bogs; coastal swales

Wet site in full sun; spreads vegetatively

Sabatia bartramii

Bartram's Rosegentian

Annual

July to August

Purplish pink

2 to 3 feet

Bogs; cypress swamps

Moist site; exquisite flower with satin-like finish; must see to appreciate

Salvia lyrata

Lyreleaf Sage; Cancer Weed

Perennial; (may be evergreen)

February to May; October

Purple

1 to 1 1/2 feet

Disturbed areas; marshes

Slightly moist site; sun or shade; ornamental foliage; reseeds

Saururus cernuus

Lizard's-tail

Perennial

May to June

White

1 to 3 feet

Floodplains; acid swamps; marshes

Wet ditches; pond, river, stream margins

Sisyrinchium atlanticum

Eastern Blue-eyed Grass

Perennial; evergreen

March to May

Blue

Up to 2 feet

Flatwoods; bogs; swales in sandhills; riverbanks; hammocks

Slightly moist site; showy blue flowers in spring; grass-like foliage

Solidago spp.

Goldenrods

Perennial

August to November

Yellow

1 1/2 to 6 feet or more

Varies

Slightly dry to slightly moist site depending on species; showy early fall flowers

Spiranthes vernalis

Spring Ladies' Tresses

Perennial

April to June

White (spiral on stem)

10 to 18 inches

Flatwoods; riverbanks; ruderal2

Slightly moist site; frequently occurs in turf that hasn't been mowed in the spring

Vernonia angustifolia

Tall Ironweed

Perennial

July to October

Purple

2 to 4 feet

Sandhills; secondary woods

Woodland edges; dry site; combine with goldenrods

Vernonia gigantea

Giant Ironweed

Perennial

June to October

Purple

2 to 7 feet

Hammocks; floodplains; coastal hammocks; bluffs

Woodland edges; moist site; combine with goldenrods

Zephyranthes atamasco

Atamasco-Lily; Rain Lily; Zephyr Lily

Perennial

February to March

White to light pink

1 to 2 feet

River swamps; limestone outcrops; bluffs; roadsides

Moist site; sun or shade; use in masses

1Plant type - Unless otherwise noted, all species are herbaceous and not evergreen

               

2Ruderal means disturbed areas such as roadsides, lawns, vacant lots, etc.

Footnotes

1.

This document is Circular 1246, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date February 2000. Revised June 2002. Reviewed July 2012. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Jeffrey G. Norcini, associate professor, native wildflower and grass specialist, Environmental Horticulture Department, North Florida Research and Education Center, Cooperative Extension Service, Insitute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.