Archive | December, 2010


25 Dec

Here’s another wild Poinsettia or Painted-Leaf as it is also known.

This one is the more common version with the red bracts and lobed leaves. Native throughout Florida.


Painted-Leaf - Poinsettia cyathophora



Wild Poinsettia

24 Dec

The wild poinsettia – or “Painted-Leaf ” grows throughout the state in old fields, hammocks and disturbed sites. This one was found on a trail along the Apopka Beauclaire Canal in Central Florida. However this variety pictured has pink bracts and slender straight leaves – so it may be a relative of Poinsettia cyathophora or Poinsettia pinetorum?

Painted-Leaf - Poinsettia cyathophora

Madagascar Periwinkle

15 Dec

The Madagascar Periwinkle, or just plain Periwinkle as most call it, is not a Florida native – but it can be found growing wild throughout central & south Florida. The main road on Sanibel Island is even named after this pretty little flower.

Many new fancy varieties can be found in the “big box” garden centers labeled as Vinca, yet those seem to get fungus and die quickly for me. The tried and true original (shown below) that I remember from my childhood is the star performer.

There is a gas station nearby that has a large Periwinkle plant growing from the cracks on its cement pump island. Not a drop of dirt in sight & only gets water when it rains – but the plant is always green & covered with flowers. So if you have a sunny, dry hot spot where nothing else will grow – throw in a few Periwinkle seeds!

Madagascar Periwinkle - Catharanthus Reseus

Turk’s Cap

7 Dec

Turk’s Cap isn’t a native flower, but can be found growing in many places in Florida. It is growing wild  now, left-over relics of abandoned homesteads as it was once a popular landscape plant. It is a hardy relative of the showy hibiscus flower. The Turk’s cap blooms in either Red (most prevalent), Pink & White. The flowers never fully open like a hibiscus – they hang like unopened jewels.

As a child, we had a hedge of these alongside the house. All of us neighborhood kids used to pick the flowers and suck on the juices. If my mom would catch us – we’d get yelled at, but we’d keep on doing it because they were sweet like candy! I guess that is why it is a hummingbird favorite.


Turk's Cap - Malvaviscus penduliflorus