The rain this year has been good for the Common Dayflower. It is not a true native, and grows wild in many lawns (especially mine!). It spreads along the ground and roots easily, making it hard to eliminate from the landscape. But the tiny blue blossoms make what remain a bit more welcoming!
There is a native Dayflower, but it has 2 blue flower petals, with the third one white.
Common Dayflower - Commelina diffusa
Cardinal Flower is a Florida native plant that thrives in wet areas. If you canoe or kayak along the Wekiva, Withlacoochee or any of our other wild waterways during the summer, you’ll likely see this bright red flower along the shore. The flowers are so nice, that it has become a popular nursery plant, so you can easily purchase plants on-line to try them in your own garden. Just be sure to pick a moist shady area. It is a great hummingbird attractor too!
Cardinal Flower - Lobelia cardinalis
Ball Moss is most commonly found growing on Live Oak trees in Central and South Florida. If you see a fuzzy grey ball growing on a tree – it is most likely Ball Moss. But it is not an actual moss – it is a true flowering plant, related to pineapple, Spanish moss, and other bromeliads. An epiphyte, meaning it does not take nutrients or water from its host, it causes no harm to the tree. It gets nutrients from the atmosphere and rain. During spring and summer it produces lovely tiny purple flowers. A brown seed pod follows.
Ball Moss - Tillandsia recurvata
The Golden Polypody is also known as the Cabbage Palm Fern, since that is where you’ll most likely see this plant growing throughout Florida.
It is an epiphytic fern with large arching 2′ fronds which sprout out from a rhizome attached to the palm. The rhizomes are brown and hairy resembling a rabbit’s foot.
Golden Polypody - Phlebodium aureum
Resurrection Fern is a small fern that grows on the branches of Live oaks & large Cypress trees. It is an epiphyte, meaning that it takes nutrients from the air and water that collects on the tree. It does not feed on the tree itself.
During dry weather the Resurrection fern is brown, shriveled and dead looking. But once the rain comes it “resurrects” or comes back to life and its brown fronds unfold to green. After a few days without rain, it shrivels once again.
These photos were taken right outside my front door of a cluster of Resurrection fern growing on a Live oak tree.
Resurrection fern - Polypodium polypodioides
Resurrection Fern - drying up and starting to shrivel
This yellow flowering sensitive plant was found growing along the roadside near Ozello, Florida.
The sprawling, low growing creeper has leaves that will curl up when touched. Very similar to the pink Mimosa microphylla, but with no thorns and yellow round flowers. A member of the pea family, it is the larval host plant for the Ceraunus Blue butterfly.
Tropical Puff - Neptunia pubescens
This was another plant found last week on the roadside near Ozello, Fl. The Gulf Coast Swallow-wort is a native climbing milkweed. Clusters of small pale peachy colored flowers are along a twining vine with sparse slender leaves. More easily noticed because of the typical seed pods, and also as host plant for the Queen butterfly.
It prefers the brackish salty areas along the Florida coastal counties.
Gulf Coast Swallow-wort - Cynanchum angustifolium
Last June I posted about the Seaside Gentian, a beautiful lavender flower with a purple center. This June I’m posting it again in its white flower form! These were found growing on the salty roadside sand in large groups near Ozello, Fl, along with their purple flowering relatives. If you want to try growing these at home, you’ll most likely have some luck with another Seaside Gentian relative known as Lisianthus in garden centers throughout summer.
White Seaside Gentian - Eustoma exaltatum
Purple Seaside Gentian - Eustoma exaltatum
These lovely pink flowers were found growing under the cypress trees along the Withlacoochee River. The flower color was hard to capture on camera. The pale pink flowers seem a bit white in most of my photos due to the deep shade they were in.
These are small plants that grow 6 to 12 inches tall. They prefer wet soils in shady areas.
The flower in the first photo is a bit unusual in that it has a bright pink lining on the yellow starburst center. Maybe a different variety?
Coastal Rosegentian - Sabatia calycina
Coastal Rosegentian - Sabatia calycina
This beautiful flowering shrub is considered endangered in its native Florida panhandle. Lucky for us though, it can be easily found at nurseries specializing in Florida natives. This photo was taken in north central Florida at a garden center (so it is possible this is a hybrid variety). It was heaven to be amid the thousands (millions?) of orange blossoms.
Florida Flame Azalea - Rhododendron austinum