In 1991 the Coreopsis was designated as Florida’s official wildflower. The state legislature made this designation after the colorful flowers were used extensively in Florida’s roadside plantings and highway beautification programs. The Coreopsis is found in a variety of colors, ranging from golden to pink. There are so many beautiful native species of wildflowers here in Florida. So much so that when Juan Ponce De Leon came ashore around Easter in 1513 he named this land La Florida. He called the area “la Florida” in honor of Spain’s Easter time celebration “Pascua florida” (feast of the flowers).
One of my favorite wildflowers is the Coral bean. Coral bean is a native plant that can add interest to the landscape from winter to spring … In North and Central Florida coral bean grows as a large perennial, reaching 6 feet tall before it freezes to the ground in winter. It can be found growing wild throughout Florida in the pine flatwoods , scrub, hammocks, coastal dunes and sandhills. It blooms from winter to spring.
Atamasco lilies or “Rain lilies” are another beautiful native species. These plants are threatened. They bloom in spring and sometimes summer. Their habitat is slope forests, bluffs, moist, pine flatwoods, river swamps, meadows, limestone outcrops and ruderal areas. They were used by the Seminole indians to treat toothaches. They are poisonous to livestock and chickens.
Partridge peas are another favorite of mine. These grew all over our pasture when I was a little flower girl. Beautiful yellow flowers that the bees and butterflies favor as well.
This tiny wildflower goes unnoticed sometimes, but it was a sweet gift for my Mama many times. I spent a lot of time wandering around the yard, pasture and pine flatwoods. I would pick them by the handfuls. They would be terribly wilted by the time I got around to wandering back to the house. We would put them in water and before you know it they would perk right up. I still love them and pick them from my yard and bring them to my Mama , and she is still just as happy to receive them as she was when I brought them to her wilted in my tiny hands.
So, when you are out and about around this part of Florida, stop and take a look for those little wildflowers. There is almost always something blooming!