Friday, April 30, 2021

Pine Hyacinth - Clematis baldwinii


Pine hyacinth (Clematis baldwinii) is the only upright member of this genus in Florida. It is an endemic perennial found throughout much of peninsular Florida in open mesic habitats. Although it grows upright, it does so on very thin stems that reach up to 2 feet tall. These arise from a set of leaves that are deeply dissected and 1-4 inches long. The leaves become linear up the stem. Pine hyacinth dies back to the ground in late fall and reemerges in early spring.

Flowering occurs throughout much of the year - from spring through November. The nodding pale lavender to deep pink blooms are produced on top of the thin stems. Each is 1-2 inches long with 4 distinctly recurved and slightly frilled petals. They are pollinated by bees - especially large-bodied species such as bumblebees. Clusters of decidedly fuzzy seeds ripen several months later.

This is a beloved genus among gardening enthusiasts and luckily this species is sometimes offered commercially by members of FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries. It is a species that I try to always have in my nursery - Hawthorn Hill. Seed can take several months to germinate once sown, but can be sped up by first soaking them and removing the outer covering. Though time consuming, the tiny seeds will germinate in about a month. Plant this in a location where it has ample sunlight and where it won't be crowded by other plants. It is adaptable to most soil conditions.  

Florida Scrub Rockrose - Crocathemum nashii

 Florida scrub rockrose (Crocanthemum nashii) is a perennial wildflower native to much of peninsular Florida in xeric habitats - scrub and sandhill.  Like other members of this genus, its flowers open in the morning and close by early afternoon. As these photos were taken in mid-afternoon, the bright yellow petals have closed for the day. New ones will open the following morning. This is a near-endemic species with a disjunct population found in a small region of North Carolina - approximately 330 miles from the Florida border.

Florida scrub rockrose is the only member of this genus in Florida with two-valved seed capsules and with pubescent ovaries and capsules. It is a somewhat upright species that stands about 8-12 inches tall. The narrow, linear leaves are approximately 8 inches long and dull green in color. The bright yellow flowers occur mostly in spring until early summer and occur on the ends of the stems. They number up to eight in each cluster. It also commonly produces cleistogamous flowers several months later - flower buds that do not open, but are pollinated inside the bud.  At this time there can be up to 40 buds on the terminal stems. The flowers are mostly pollinated by small bees.

All of the species in this genus make attractive additions to the landscape, but are rarely offered commercially. I do not have this one in my landscape.  They require open sunny locations in well-drained soils. 

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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Fairy Hats - Clematis crispa

Flower Close-up

Fairy hats (Clematis crispa) is perhaps more commonly referred to as swamp leather flower, but I find that name to be far too mundane for such a wonderful wildflower. I prefer to use the name coined by my granddaughter many years ago. This is a perennial vining plant that is common throughout much of the northern two-thirds of Florida in moist to seasonally wet habitats. It dies back to the ground each winter and reestablishes itself by spring. This species is a twiner, without tendrils, and it twines itself throughout the adjacent vegetation for many feet in all directions once it's established.

Fairy hats has glabrous compound leaves composed of three leaflets. They branch off the main stem opposite from each other and are noticeably veined. The stems are often reddish and become semi-woody over time.  Flowering occurs over many months from early summer to late fall. They are pale lavender in color. The edges of the reflexed petals are edged in white. As my granddaughter sees it, this makes them look like tiny hats - the kind a fairy might wear and I can't argue. These blooms are especially attractive to bumblebees and they buzz pollinate them while going in for the nectar.

Although this is a wetland species, fairy hats has done well also in my typical landscape settings. It does not withstand being completely dried out, but is is relatively drought tolerant once established. It clambers throughout the vegetation in this setting and the flowers are not always easily admired. I have most of my plants in a pot next to a foundation hedge. Here, I can make sure they get extra water and the flowers rise to the top of the hedge where I (and the bumblebees) can see them.

This species is not frequently available from native plant nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries so it may take some sleuthing to find it. I have been propagating here at Hawthorn Hill, however, for many years from seed collected from my plants. The seed of all native Clematis can take several months to germinate. Soaking it first and removing the outer seed coat speeds this up by several weeks.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Crenulate Leadplant - Amorpha crenulata

Flowers - Close up


Leaves close up - Note the crenulate edges to the leaf margin
Amorpha herbacea - Note the lack of crenulate edges on the margins

Crenulate leadplant (Amorpha crenulata) has also been described as a unique variety of the very common herbaceous leadplant (A. herbacea) but that is in error in my (and many others') opinion. They are very distinct from each other and quite easy to distinguish.  While crenulate leadplant is an upright evergreen woody shrub, herbaceous leadplant dies back nearly to the ground each winter and tends to grow horizontally more than it does upright. Crenulate leadplant can get to be at least 4-5 feet tall, while I've rarely seen herbaceous leadplant stand more than 2. There also are differences in the leaf margins - and I've photographed both above for your comparison.

In nature, crenulate leadplant occurs only in a few pine rockland areas in Miami-Dade County in extreme south Florida. It is endemic to Florida and listed as endangered by both the federal and state government. Its rarity is due, however, to the widespread loss of this special habitat. It was likely more widespread prior to development pressures.

Crenulate leadplant is an evergreen shrub that loses some of its foliage in the winter when planted north of its natural range. Each plant produces many upright stems that are rigid enough not to bend much as the clusters of blooms are produced at the ends. The stems and leaf veins are reddish  and the leaves are a deep bluish green - much different than in A. herbacea as shown above. Like many legumes the leaves are compound - composed of 20 or more leaflets. Each leaflet has crenulate edges along the margins.

Like many south Florida natives, blooming occurs over most months. The one photographed above in my Pasco County landscape, began flowering in early April. In contrast, the A. herbacea planted near it shows no signs yet of flower buds. The flowers occur on 2-3 inch long racemes and the flowers open from the bottom upwards over several weeks. Each flower bud is reddish purple in color and the open flowers are white with contrasting yellow stamens.  Like all members of this genus, they are eagerly visited by a wide assortment of pollinators. It also may be a host to the silver spotted skipper.

Crenulate leadplant is sometimes offered by native plant nurseries in the southern parts of Florida. I have found it to be an easy plant to both propagate and maintain in my central Florida landscape.  They do not require the types of alkaline soils that they occur in naturally and they are tolerant of a wide variety of soil moisture conditions. The one requirement seems to be adequate light to bloom. A specimen I planted at least a decade ago has never flowered though it is still alive after all of these years. This is a spectacular addition to a pollinator garden and should be more widely propagated. I have been doing so at Hawthorn Hill using the seed from my landscape specimen. I do not know how much cold this species can tolerate, butt it has not suffered negative impacts from temperatures in the mid-20's F.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Spring 2021 Open House

 I've picked a date for my next Open House - Saturday, May 22, 9 am - 1 pm

1648 Paragon Place, Holiday, FL  34690

Below is the list of native wildflowers that I will have for sale. I hope you can join me and take a few of these home with you.

Open House – Hawthorn Hill                                                                                       Spring 2021

Plants marked as (***) in very limited numbers/Plants marked as FALL will be ready later this year

All 4” pots are $4. Very few in 1 gallon pots are $8.

Wildflowers                                                                                                                      Host, SFL native, Wetland

Allium canadense                                            Meadow garlic***         

Amorpha crenulata                                         Crenulate leadplant                                        H?

Amorpha fruticosa                                          Leadplant                                                            H

Amorpha herbacea                                         Sandhill leadplant                                            H

Ampelaster caroliniensis                               Carolina aster                                                    W

Arnoglossum floridanum                              Florida Indian plantain

Arnoglossum ovatum var. lancifolium     Lance-leaved Indian plantain                      W

Asclepias incarnata                                          Pink swamp milkweed                                   H, W

Asclepias perennis                                          White swamp milkweed                                               H, W

Asclepias tuberosa                                          Butterfly milkweed                                         H

Berlandiera subacaulis                                   Greeneyes

Capsicum annuum                                           Bird pepper                                                        SFL

Clematis baldwinii                                            Pine hyacinth

Clematis crispa                                                  Fairy hats                                                             W

Clematis reticulata                                           Netted leaf leather-flower

Crotalaria rotundifolia                                    Rabbitbells                                                          H?

Eryngium aquaticum                                       Blue button snakeroot                                  W

Eryngium integrifolium                                  Blue button snakeroot                                  W

Eryngium yuccifolium                                     Rattlesnake master                                                                                        

Garberia heterophylla                                   Garberia***

Helianthus radula                                             Rayless sunflower***

Hibiscus coccineus                                           Scarlet hibiscus (White & Red)                   W

Hibiscus grandiflorus                                      Pink hibiscus                                                      W

Hibiscus moscheutos                                      Crimson-eyed rosemallow                           W

Hibiscus poeppigii                                            Poeppig’s rosemallow***                           SFL

Jacquemontia pentanthos                           Skyblue clustervine                                         SFL

Kosteletzkya pentacarpos                            Virginia saltmarsh mallow                             W

Liatris aspera                                                      Tall blazing star

Liatris elegantula                                              Elegant blazing star

Liatris gracilis                                                      Graceful blazing star                                      

Liatris savannensis                                           Savanna blazing star      

Nemastylis floridana                                       Fall ixia/Celestial lily        ($10 each)

Ocimum campechianum                               Native basil                                                         SFL

Oclemena reticulata                                       Pinebarren aster                                             

Penstemon multiflorus                                 White beardtongue                                       

Rudbeckia hirta (southern variety)           Black-eyed susan

Rudbeckia laciniata                                          Cutleaf coneflower

Rudbeckia mohrii                                             Mohr’s coneflower                                         W

Rudbeckia mollis                                              Softhair coneflower                                       

Rudbeckia triloba                                             Brown-eyed susan

Ruellia caroliniensis                                         Wild petunia

Salvia coccinea                                                  Red salvia

Salvia lyrata                                                        Lyre-leaved sage

Scutellaria incana                                             Common skullcap

Senna ligustrina                                                                Privet cassia***                                                               H

Silphium asteriscus                                          Rosinweed

Solidago odora chapmanii                            Chapman’s goldenrod

Solidago stricta                                                  Wand goldenrod

Stokesia laevis                                                   Stoke’s aster

Symphyotrichum chapmanii                        Chapman’s aster                                              H

Symphyotrichum concolor                           Silver aster                                                          H

Symphyotrichum elliotii                                                Elliot’s aster                                                        H

Symphyotrichum georgianum                    Georgia aster                                                     H

Symphyotrichum pilosum                            White oldfield aster                                        H

Symphyotrichum undulatus                        Wavy-leaved aster                                          H

Tephrosia angustissima coralicola             Coral hoarypea                                                 H?, SFL

Thalictrun revolutum                                      Wavy-leaved meadow rue

Tiedemannia filiformis                                   Water dropwort                                               W, H

Vernonia angustifolia                                     Tall ironweed

Vernonia gigantea                                           Giant ironweed

Vernonia novaboracensis                             New York ironweed

Viola sorarria (white flowers)                     Common wood violet                                    H



Andropogon ternarius                                   Splitbeard bluestem                                       H?

Andropogon virginicus var. glaucus          Chalky bluestem                                              H

Chasmanthium laxum                                    Slender woodoats

Sorghastrum apalachicolense                     Apalachicola Indiangrass                               H?

Sorghastrum nutans                                       Yellow Indiangrass                                           H

Sorghastrum secundum                                                Lop-sided Indiangrass                                    H?



Woody Plants (Small – 4” pots)

Carya floridana                                                  Scrub hickory***

Quercus chapmanii                                         Chapman’s oak***

Sideroxylon lanuginosum                             Gum bully***

Sideroxylon tenx                                              Tough bumelia***

Nonnative plants

Everglades tomato                                                                                                                          H, SFL

Blue chai butterfly pea***                                                                                                          H