Monday, May 27, 2024

Wild Allamanda (Hammock Viper's Tail) - Pentalinon luteum

Wild allamanda (Pentalinon luteum) is a perennial evergreen woody vine native to the southern coastal counties of Florida - from Lee County on the west coast to St. Lucie County on the west.  It also is found throughout much of the Caribbean and on the Bay Islands of Honduras.  Although it is semi-tropical to tropical in nature, it has some cold tolerance and has been used ornamentally in landscapes that periodically receive light freezing temperatures. It naturally occurs in a variety of soils in hammocks, pinelands and coastal thickets although it has only limited tolerance of light salt spray. It prefers full sun in all of these habitat conditions.

Like most vines, wild allamanda clambers naturally through adjacent vegetation and can get extensive in a landscape if not occasionally pruned back or trained to climb a trellis or pergola.  It has attractive oval shiny leaves that are opposite on the stems and curl slightly under along the margins - which are entire.  Each leaf is 1-3 inches long and up to 1 inch wide.  The stems are decidedly woody and are numerous arising from the central root.  Because of this, frequent/regular pruning can make it become shrublike.  

Flowering occurs in most months, but mainly throughout April - September in Florida.  The trumpet-shaped bright yellow flowers are 2 inches long and composed of five fused petals.  They are produced in clusters at each of the branch tips and normally open one flower at a time in sequence.  The flowers are especially attractive to large-bodied bees and the pollinated flowers ripen into a 2-parted pod. 

The foliage and flowers of this beautiful wildflower are toxic if eaten and will cause nausea in mild cases, but more severe reactions in more-sensitive people.  The sap can cause skin irritations so care must be taken when pruning it.  Wild allamanda is a relative of the extremely toxic, but widely planted, oleander, and serves as a host for the oleander moth. 

Although care should be taken when considering adding this native vine to your landscape, its beauty and adaptability make it a good choice in locations where it is not likely to be handled by curious children or eaten by pets.  Wild allamanda should not be confused with the more commonly planted landscape allamandas in the genus Allamanda, but all share the same level of toxicity. 

Friday, April 19, 2024

Last Open House At Hawthorn Hill

For a good many years, I have been growing wildflowers at my home as a licensed nursery known as Hawthorn Hill.  My goal has never been to make money but to make a greater diversity of weildflowers available to the public.  I believe that I have achieved this goal with the growth in the number of native nurseries and with my ability to grow my plants and sell them at my place of work - The USF Botanical Gardens in Tampa.  With our Plant Shop open from Tuesdays - Sundays and a larger propagation area to work with, I can grow more plants than ever and make it easier for everyone to access them.

My last Open House is scheduled for Saturday, April 27, 9 am-noon and we will be selling everything we can before moving the plants we don't sell to the Botanical Gardens.  We have ther largest diversity of species we've ever had.  Below is the list.  Some are currently in very short supply.

Most everything is in 4" pots, well rooted, for $5 each.  The rare woody mints and a few others are $10.  We prefer cash, but can take Visa & Mastercard as well as personal checks.

Jane and I hope to see you a week from Saturday - or later at the USF Plant Shop.

Natives in the Plant Shop/Hawthorn Hill Spring Open House

● *USF Plant Shop only
● #Not ready at this time
● @Very limited numbers

Abutilon hulseanum

Aesculus pavia*

Amorpha crenulata@

Amorpha fruticosa

Andropogon glomeratus

Andropogon spp. (unknown)

Andropogon ternarius

Annona glabra

Apios americana

Arnoglossum atriplicifolium

Arnoglossum ovatum var. lanceolatum

Argemone mexicana (later)

Asclepias incarnata

Asclepias perennis

Asclepias tuberosa

Asimina obovata@

Asimina pygmaea@

Asimina reticulata@

Baptisia alba

Brickellia mossieri

Calamintha coccinea@

Calamintha georgianum@

Callicarpa americana*

Chaptalia albicans#

Chaptalia tomentosa#

Carphephorus corymbosus#

Cicuta maculata

Clematis reticulata

Conradina canescens@

Conradina glabra@

Conradina spp.@

Dalea pinnata

Diospyros virginiana*

Echinacea purpurea

Encyclia tampensis

Eriogonum tomentosum

Eryngium yuccifolium

Erythrina herbacea@

Flaveria linearis

Garberia heterophylla*

Hamelia patens*

Hibiscus grandiflorus

Hibiscus laevis

Hibiscus moscheutos

Hibiscus poeppigii

Ipomoea imperati*@

Ipomopsis rubra

Lespedeza capitata#

Lespedeza hirta#

Lespedeza virginica# 

Liatris chapmanii

Liatris elegans

Liatris laevigata

Liatris savannensis

Lonicera sempervirens*

Nemastylis floridana

Nyssa ogeche*

Palafoxia feayi#

Pediomelum canescens

Penstemon laevigata

Penstemon multiflorus

Physalis walteri

Picramnia pentandra*

Piptochaetium avenaceum#

Psychotria tenuifolia

Randia aculeata*

Rhyncosia minima

Rudbeckia hirta

Rudbeckia laciniata

Rudbeckia triloba

Saccharum giganteum

Salvia coccinea

Salvia lyrata

Saururus cernuus*

Senna ligustrina

Sericocarpus tortifolius#

Solidago odora var. chapmanii

Solidago petiolaris#

Sorghastrum apalachicolense

Sorghastrum nutans@

Stokesia laevis@

Symphyotrichum bahamense

Symphyotrichum carolinianum

Symphyotrichum concolor

Symphyotrichum dumosum

Symphyotrichum elliottii

Symphyotrichum georgianum

Symphyotrichum laeve

Symphyotrichum lanceolatum

Symphyotrichum lateriflorum

Symphyotrichum patens#@

Symphyotrichum pilosum

Symphyotrichum plumosum

Symphyotrichum praealtum

Symphyotrichum sericeum

Symphyotrichum shortii

Symphyotrichum undulatum

Symphyotrichum walteri#

Trifolium reflexum

Ulmus americana*

Vachellia farnesiana*

Vernonia gigantea

Vernonia missurica

Vernonia novaboracensis

Zamia integrifolia*

Zanthoxylum clava-herculis

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Hairy Phlox - Phlox amoena

Hairy phlox (Phlox amoena) is an uncommon native phlox in Florida - vouchered sporadically in extreme north Florida: Escambia and Jefferson Counties in the Panhandle and four counties in and around the Jacksonville area in northeastern Florida.  It is widely distributed north of Florida, however, from Georgia and Alabama north to North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky.  It is a perennial wildflower most common to upland sunny habitats such as sandhills, open woodland edges and roadsides.  

This species dies back to the ground in winter and reemerges again in spring.  It eventually reaches a mature height of about 1 foot prior to flowering in late spring.  Though phlox species share many characteristics, hairy phlox is rather easily identified by the noticeable hairs on both the leaves and stems. Even the flower calyx is hairy though the flowers themselves are smooth. The narrow eliptical leaves are opposite along the stem and up to 2 inches long.  

The flowers are typically shaped and colored for others in this genus; the color can range from pale pink to a much deeper rose.  The center is marked by a deeper color. One characteristic to also look for is that the stamens do not extend outside of the corolla tube of the 5 fused petals. Other phlox species that I am more familiar with attract a wide variety of pollinators and I suspect this species does as well.  Pollinated flowers produce small seed capsules that "explode" when fully ripe, scattering the seed away from the parent plant.

Many native phlox are available from various native plant nurseries in the Southeast, but I can find none that currently offer this one.  It would seem to be a species that would warrant commercial availability.  

The above photos were taken in south Georgia by my friend, Floyd Giffith and used by permission.

Gulf Coast Lupine - Lupinus westianus

Gulf Coast lupine (Lupinus westianus) is a short-lived perennial endemic to the western Panhandle counties of Florida and listed as a state-threatened species.  Like other native members of this genus, it is found in very well-drained sandy and open sunny habitats.  Gulf Coast lupine is most common near the Gulf Coast on relic dunes though its salt toleranance is not well reported.  Most lupines, except sundial lupine (Lupinus perennis), live at most for three years, flowering sparingly during year two and forming large plants that flower expansively in year three.  They persist by reseeding and their seeds survive for many years in the seedbank.  Disturbance can stimulate germination and result in large areas of new plants.

Mature plants reach a height of about 3 feet and can spread to about that distance in width.  The leaves and stems are covered by soft hairs and the leaves are alternate on the stems. Each leaf is unifoliate and without the stipules present in some other Florida species.  The stems are herbaceous in young plants, but become "woody" in older plants. 

Flowering occurs in spring.  The purple to lavender blooms occur on terminal spikes that arise on the multiple stems.  Like other lupines, there is a distinct keel above the fused lower lip. The keel is marked by a deeper purple patch that extends from the tip to the throat.  Plants in bloom are very showy.  Pollination is likely performed primarily by large-bodied bees, though I have no personal observations of that.  The pollinated flowers produce the typical oval seed pods and these are quite hairy.

Florida's native lupines (with the exception of sundial lupine) are notoriously difficult to propagate for commercial or restoration production though they are in high demand for such purposes. Though seeds are not difficult to germinate without special scarification/stratification, the seedlings form complex relationships with soil microbiota and they are very difficult to keep them alive for any appreciable period of time in containers.  They also are difficult to grow out via direct seeding unless the proper soil conditions already exist for them.  For these reasons, Gulf Coast lupine is not propagated by any of the nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries, or by others. Its conservation is the target of the Center for Plant Conservation and its future rests largely in protecting coastal dune properties within its range from development and by wise land management.

All of the photos in this post were taken by my friend, Floyd Griffith, and used by permission, except the comparision one which was produced by Edwin Bridges, also used by permission.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Large-leaved Jointweed - Polygonum smallianum


Large-leaved jointweed (Polygonum smallianum) is a perennial sub-shrub found in scrub habitat within a very restricted range in western peninsular Florida and in one county (Baldwin) adjacent to Florida in Alabama.  It is listed as a state-threatened species and that denotation is largely due to the extensive habitat loss occurring within this region.  Large-leaved jointweed forms stiff, almost-woody stems that can stand 3 feet tall.  As its common name indicates, large, spatulate-shaped, succulent leaves alternate up these stems. At the base, these leaves can be nearly 3 inches long. 

Flowering occurs in spring.  The above photos, taken by my friend Floyd Griffith and used by permission, were taken on 15 March 2024.  Like other members of this genus, the tiny flowers occur as racemes in an open inflorescence.  This red-flowered form has only been reported from Franklin County, Florida.  Elsewhere in its range, the flowers are white with pink anthers as evidenced in the below photo taken by Roger Hammer and used in the University of South Florida's ISB site.

Jointweeds are typically pollinated by a variety of pollinators and I suspect this is true for this species.  

Large-leaved jointweed is not available commercially by any of the nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries and its protected status makes it illegal to collect any part of it without permits.  This is an interesting component of our flora that should be admired when encountered in those areas where it still occurs.


Bearded Milkvetch - Astragalus villosus

Photo by Steve Coleman

 Two photos above by Floyd Griffith

Bearded milkvetch (Astragalus villosus) is an annual member of the legume family and one of two milkvetches native to Florida.  I have written about the other (A. obcordatus) previously.  Unlike A. obcordatus which has a very limited range in Florida and the Southeast, bearded milkvetch is widespread throughout the Florida Panhandle and the northern peninsula in open well-drained habitats - often those that are somewhat disturbed such as roadsides and pastures.  This is a component of the Southeastern flora and also is found in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.  

Bearded milkvetch forms a taproot in late winter and then forms numerous prostrate stiff stems that spread outward in all directions for about 3 feet.  The compound leaves are composed of 10 or more rounded leaflets without a noticeable notch at the tip.  Both the stems and the leaves are covered by villous to hispid hairs.  There also are noticeable stipules at the base of each leaf.

Flowering occurs in the spring.  Clusters of lemon yellow blooms are formed at the tips of each branch, though they can appear much paler than those in the photos above.  Like most members of the bean/pea family they are composed of a noticeable keel above a fused lip.  The calyx immediately below the petals is hairy as well.

Milkvetches are important nitrogen fixers and are pollinated mostly by big-bodied bees.  Although many legumes serve as host plants for butterflies such as the long-tailed skipper, I can find no record of them using this genus and no record that this species has been used in herbal medicine.

Although this is an attractive and useful wildflower, I also could find no records of it being offered for sale either as seed or plants.  As a short-lived annual it would have limited use as a landscape plant, but a nice addition to a larger restoration planting in the right growing conditions.