Friday, April 30, 2021
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.
Thursday, April 15, 2021
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
|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
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***
Everglades tomato H, SFL
Blue chai butterfly pea*** H