Thursday, June 11, 2020
Soft Greeneyes - Berlandiera pumila
Unlike its close cousin (B. subacaulis), soft green eyes forms a tall flower stalk prior to bloom time, though its basal foliage is quite similar. These leaves are blue-gray in color, bluntly toothed, and with a noticeable midvein. Each leaf is about 4 inches long and several inches wide. The leaves die to the ground by early winter and reemerge in early spring.
Soft greeneyes has a decided blooming season from March until early July. The flower stalks rise well above the basal leaves, reaching a mature height of 2 - 2 1/2 feet. Multiple flowers are produced at the tops of each stalk. The bright yellow ray petals surround a center of reddish disc flowers. Each bloom is several inches across and fragrant - exuding a scent somewhat reminiscent of chocolate. Like other members of the Asteraceae, the flowers attract the attention of a great many pollinators.
Soft greeneyes is a beautiful wildflower that has only rarely been propagated commercially in Florida. I have tried it in central Florida, but found it to be difficult this far outside its natural range. I wish others, in north Florida, would take it up. This species requires well-drained sands and full sun to prosper. It grows easily from ripe seed collected from the brown flower heads. Sow it shallowly in a flat of well-drained potting soil and transplant the seedlings before they get too large.