Sunday, September 1, 2019

Shrubby False Buttonweed - Spermacoce verticillata

Although this blog is devoted to Florida NATIVE plants, I have from time to time posted about a nonnative that is widely seen in natural areas. This is one of them. Woodland false buttonweed (Spermacoce verticillata) occurs throughout peninsular Florida in a wide variety of open habitats. I photographed these at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park in Okeechobee County. It is classified as a Class II invasive plant by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC). Of the eight species vouchered for Florida, six are natives. All are considered "weeds" due to their habit of spreading quickly in disturbed locations.
This species is well-visited by pollinating insects and its numerous flower heads produce large amounts of seed. Most species in this genus are low growing, but shrubby false buttonweed becomes almost woody and reaches a mature height of about 2-3 feet. It is a perennial. The foliage is narrowly elliptical, deep green and shiny. Flowering can occur during nearly every month if temperatures do not go below freezing.
Although it would be a reasonable addition to a pollinator garden, its cultivation should be avoided - especially in areas anywhere near a natural area.


  1. Thank you for the info. Can you tell me how to tell the native from the non native species of false buttonweed? I live in Brevard Co. Fl.

    1. All of the Spermacoce species in your region are low-growing herbaceous plants while the common nonnative I've posted above is upright and almost shrubby.


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