Thursday, November 23, 2023

Wiregrass Gentian - Gentiana pennelliana


Wiregrass gentian (Gentiana pennelliana) is a rare and endemic herbaceous perennial wildflower native to ten counties in the central Florida Panhandle.  This state-listed endangered species is found in open moist habitats such as wet pine flatwoods, prairies, pitcher plant bogs, and seepage slopes.  Like most wildflowers restricted to north Florida, it dies back to the ground in very late winter and reemerges shortly after.  Its common name comes from its affinity to wet wiregrass prairies and not from its foliage.

Wiregrass gentian eventually reaches a mature height of about 1 inch with weak herbaceous stems produced from a woody node at the ground. The leaves are opposite, widely spaced along the stem, linear elliptic, and 1-1.5 inches long. They are difficult to find within the adjacent vegetation when the plant is not blooming.

The distinctive showy white tubular flowers are produced in early winter - well after most wildflowers have bloomed. It is at this time of year that this wildflower makes its presence known.  A single bloom is produced at the tip of the stem.  Each is 2 to nearly 3 inches long, with 5 bright white petals that flare outward from a green center.  Between each petal is a fringed membrane.

Wiregrass gentian responds to fire like many species native to open graminoid-dominated systems.  It is most commonly observed in these systems during its blooming season in the year following a prescribed burn or natural fire. I could find no information on its value to pollinators and the lateness of its blooming season in north Florida likely restricts the number of pollinators present to visit it.  Although this is a beautiful wildflower, its restricted habitat needs do not make it a good candidate for home landscapes and it is not propagated by any nursery affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.  This is a plant to admire if encountered and left alone.

The above photos were taken by Steve Coleman and used with permission.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Catesby's/Coastal Plain Gentian - Gentiana catesbyi

Catesby's gentian (Gentiana catesbyi) is a perennial herbaceous wildflower found throughout most of the Florida Panhandle in organic-rich moist to wet soils from moist pine savannas, moist hardwood hammocks and seepage slopes.  In these habitats it prefers partial shade.  It also occurs throughout much of the Southeast Coastal Plain from Mississippi north to the edge of the Piedmont in New Jersey.  

Like other members of this genus, Catesby's gentian dies back to the ground in late fall and reemerges again in spring.  By early summer the stems are 6-18 inches tall, but often droop a bit. The stems are unbranched and pubescent while the leaves are dark green and shiny.  They also are opposite each other on the stem, elliptical in shape and without teeth along the leaf margins.  Most are without petioles as is evidenced in the above photos.

Flowering occurs from late September into early November; towards the latter end of this period in Florida.  The deep blue flowers occur in terminal clusters of up to 6 blooms and the weight of these also causes them to droop a bit.  Flowers are sessile. The calyx is green in color, glabrous, with lobes longer than the tube. The corolla is funnelform and is dark to light blue in color. Some flowers are almost white. The corolla lobes part only slightly at the apex. The fruit is a capsule.  It is reported that hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers, but most have migrated south of the range of this plant by blooming time.  This species is sometimes offered for sale by native nurseries north of Florida.  I have not tried to grow it in any of my landscapes. 

These photos were taken by my friend Floyd Griffith and used by permission.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Chapman's Sage - Savia chapmanii

Chapman's sage (Salvia chapmanii) was formerly lumped with S. urticifolia but has since been determined to be separate.  While S. chapmanii flowers in the fall, S. urticifolia blooms in the spring.  It also tends to be noticeably taller. 
This is a very rare species in Florida and classified as state endangered. It only has been vouchered from Jackson, Gadsden, and Alachua Counties in north Florida though it may have been missed in others. It also has been vouchered in Alabama (in three counties) and occurs in a variety of upland habitats - prairies, cedar glades, open hardwood forests, roadsides and rights-of-way.  

This perennial member of the mint family and a widely occurring genus is easily distinguished from other native salvias in Florida by its wide arrow-shaped foliage.  The leaves are opposite on the stem, pubescent, and slightly toothed along the leaf margins as can be seen in these photographs.  Chapman's sage spreads by underground rhizomes.  Though it tends to die back in winter, it reaches a mature height of 3-6 feet by fall.  

As stated above, the flowers are produced in the fall.  They occur in terminal and axillary clusters and also are dotted with noticeable glands and hairs.  The shape of the blooms is typical for the genus and the color is most often a deep purple with a white spot on the lower lip.  Flowers are reported to sometimes be whitish.  Each flower is rather small - about 1/4-1/3 in length.  I suspect that it is visited by much the same type of pollinators that are attracted by S. coccinea and S. lyrata.

I have not personally seen this in its native range.  These photos were taken by my friend, Floyd Griffith and used by permission. 

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Willowleaf aster - Sypmphyotrichum praealtum

Willowleaf aster (Symphyotrichum praelatum) is an herbaceous perennial wildflower native to only five counties in the Florida Panhandle, but common to nearly every state in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S.  Throughout this region, it is most common in open to partly shady savannas in moist soil, though it is adaptable to a variety of sites.  Willowleaf aster dies back to the ground in winter and reemerges again in spring; eventually reaching a mature height of 4-6 feet on stout stems. This species can spread aggressively to form dense colonies over time.  As its common name implies, it is characterized by its willow-like leaves that alternate along the stems.  Each leaf is 3-5 inches long and no more than 3/4's inches wide.

The numerous flowers are produced in early fall.  They are in various shades of lavender though white forms are sometimes produced.  Numerous thin ray petals surround a yellow central disc.  Like all asters, the blooms are especially attractive to pollinators and the plants serve as a host for the pearl crescent butterfly.  I am currently experimenting with this species here in west-central Florida.  As a landscape plant that suckers freely, it should form striking colonies that would create great interest in a large open pollinator garden.  I'm hoping to see that by next (2024) fall.  Willowleaf aster has never been propagated by native nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries, but it is sold by native nurseries north of Florida.

Monday, October 2, 2023

Camphor daisy - Rayjacksonia phyllocephala

Camphor daisy (Rayjacksonia phyllocephala) occurs in coastal habitats in scattered locations along the west coast of Florida.  There are vouchered specimens from Santa Rosa County in the extreme western Panhandle, a cluster of counties in west-central Florida, and records from the Florida Keys.  In this range, it is most common on beach dunes, salt flats, and disturbed open uplands.  Part of the anomaly in its seemingly disjunct range in Florida might be based on the fact that it shares many similarities to the ubiquitous camphorweed (Heterotheca subaxillaris).  Camphor daisy also occurs along the western Gulfcoast from Mississippi to the tip of Texas and northern Mexico.  In the more-tropical parts of its range it grows more like a perennial, but elsewhere it is considered to be an annual.

Like camphorweed, this wildflower produces a large number of yellow daisy-like flowers and smells strongly of camphor when the foliage is crushed,  The major distinguishing characters are the many bristly hairs along the stems and the toothed leaf margins.  Camphor daisy reaches a mature height of 2-4 feet and has a bushy aspect.  The 2-inch long leaves alternate along the stems and have very widely spaced shallow teeth along the margins.  They are somewhat linear in shape.

Flowering occurs throughout the year in the warmer parts of its range and from summer to late fall elsewhere.  The bright yellow daisy-like flowers are about 1-inch wide.  Like most, if not all, asters they attract the attention of a great many pollinators.

Camphor daisy has never been offered for sale commercially by any nursery in Florida affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries, nor by any nursery that I'm aware of outside of Florida. It is easy to propagate from ripe seed, however.  Though a bit weedy in aspect, it would make a good addition to a coastal pollinator garden.

Mossier's False Boneset - Brickellia mosieri

Mosier's false boneset (Brickellia mosieri) is an herbaceous perennial wildflower endemic to a small area of pine rockland habitat in Miami-Dade County. It is listed as a state and federal endangered species. 

A relative of the much showier Flyr's nemesis (B. cordifolia), Mosier's false boneset is a thin-stemmed evergreen plant that stands 1-3 feet tall.  The stems are grooved and very finely pubescent.  The thin linear leaves alternate along these stems and are up to 1 inch long.  As the photo above shows, they typically droop downwards and have a distinctive twist.  

Flowering occurs year-round. The small whitish petals are mostly hidden by the cream-colored anthers that extrude from each flower head.  These are produced in succession along the stems as the plant grows upward.  As they ripen, the seeds (achenes) occur in the axils and are dispersed via the fluffy white pappuses attached to each.

Mosier's false boneset is a very rare plant and rare in cultivation as well.  I was given a few seeds (legal) by a friend and it has proven to be quite easy to propagate.  As such, I hope to be able to offer it to others in the future.  This is a connoisseur plant that is interesting, but not especially valuable as an extra addition to a pollinator garden. I do not know its sensitivity to freezing temperatures.  


Sunday, September 3, 2023

Pink Bogbutton - Sclerolepis uniflora


Pink bogbutton (Sclerolepis uniflora) is an aquatic plant native to most of the U.S Atlantic Seaboard. In Florida, its recorded distribution is mostly on the west coast south to Pasco County. It is the only member of its genus and can often go unnoticed because of its growth habits.  It is most likely to occur in freshwater ponds and innundated wetlands where it lives underwater, producing long stems and flaccid elongated leaves.  Under these conditions, it does not flower.  The erect stems, needle-like leaves and bright pink blooms only occur in years/times when the water recedes and exposes the now-muddy soil to the sun.  

Pink bogbutton is a perennial and it forms extensive vegetative mats in the shallow-water habitats it frequents.  There is little information on its habits as a submerged plant, but its striking aspect in its emergent form easily draws attention to it.  The emergent stems may reach 2 feet tall at maturity in early summer.  The tiny, simple, linear leaves are arranged in whorls up the stems.  As its Latin name implies, a solitary flower bud is formed at the tip of each stem. 

Flowering occurs in summer and fall, largely dependent on water conditions.  The individual flower heads are comprised of a great many spidery pink rayless blooms.  In many ways, they closely resemble those of Flyr's nemesis (Brickellia cordifolia).  I suspect, that like Flyr's nemesis, it is eagerly sought out by a variety of invertebrate pollinators, but I've found no information on this in the literature.

This unique and interesting plant is sometimes available from native plant nurseries outside of Florida. It has never been offered, to the best of my knowledge, by members of FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.

The above photos were posted on the Facebook site of the Florida Native Plant Society without reference to the photographer and have been shared elsewhere without reference as well.  I am using them here under the assumption that they are shareable.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Scareweed - Baptisia simplicifolia

The truly awful common name, scareweed, does no justice to this wonderful endemic member of the wild indigo genus.  Baptisia lanceolata has a very restricted range - vouchered only in a five-county area of the central Panhandle in open upland pinelands.  It is listed as a state-threatened species, but is reported to be relatively common in the right habitats within Apalachicola National Forest and nearby Tate's Hell - two of Florida's true natural treasures.

Like other Baptisias, scareweed is a perennial forb that dies back to the ground in winter.  It reemerges much later in spring than most other wildflowers; often as late as May when other members of this genus are in full bloom.  It quickly reaches its mature height of about three feet by early summer.  Unlike most legumes, the leaves are compound but appear as a single leaflet and these alternate up the stems.  This character distinguishes it from all other Baptisias in Florida which clearly have three leaflets per leaf.

Flowering occurs in mid-summer and into September.  The small (about 1/2 inch long) yellow flowers occur at the ends of the stems in distinctive racemes.  These are of greatest interest to bees - their primary pollinator.  Small, dark seed capsules ripen by fall.  

The common name "scareweed" may result from the fact that the upper portions of this plant break off at the ground after it dies in late fall and act like "tumbleweeds" - blowing across the landscape in the wind.  Although it is a narrow/restricted endemic species, it is sometimes offered as a landscape plant by native nurseries, though I am not aware of it being commercially propagated by those affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.  While there might be other Baptisias that are showier and more commonly sold, this species is likely used as a host plant for various legume-feeding butterfly and moth caterpillars and would make a valuable addition to landscapes devoted to them if its growing requirements are met.

These photos were taken by my friend, Lily Byrd, and used by permission.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Whiteleaf Leather-flower - Clematis glaucophylla

The genus Clematis has given us a great many beautiful landscape plants from regions around the world.  Many of the species and their cultivars that were used in my gardens of the Upper Midwest have large showy blooms. That's not really the case with Florida's six native species, but they have a charm of their own.  I've written about most of these previously in this blog. Today, I'm writing about one I haven't yet featured - whiteleaf leather-flower - C. glaucophylla.  

Whiteleaf leather-flower is yet another vining herbaceous perennial that produces upside-down tulip-shaped blooms.  My oldest granddaughter, Caroline, thinks that they look like fairy hats....... This species has a fairly restricted distribution in Florida; it is found in a 6-county region of the central Panhandle and has been reported also in Levy County.  It also has a fairly restricted range outside of Florida, having been vouchered in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi - with a disjunct population in Oklahoma.  Throughout this range, it seems to prefer the rich moist soils in the semi-shaded conditions found in habitats such as streambanks.

Like others in this genus, the herbaceous stems die back to the ground each winter and reemerge again in spring. Each of the many stems can reach a mature length of 15 feet and it sprawls up and over everything in its path.  If it wasn't for its spectacular flowers, it could be considered a nuisance - and adding it to a landscape should be well considered beforehand.  The leaves are wider than long and have 3 distinct lobes.  As the common name suggests, the undersides of this foliage has a whitish blush, but the leaves are, in fact, glabrous.  They are positioned opposite each other along the stems. 

Flowering occurs in late spring to very early summer.  Buds are produced in the leaf axils all along the stem.  Each turns downward as it matures and begins to turn a rich lavender-pink in color.  The inner side of each flower is white - as shown in the above photos. Clematis flowers are favorites of bees (especially bumblebees) and butterflies. As such they are an excellent addition to a pollinator garden. They simply need a trellis to climb on and relatively moist soil.  Although beautiful, native Clematis are only rarely propagated by nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.  I have not seen this species offered at any time.  I have grown other species of vining Clematis successfully from cuttings and from seed - though ripe seed may take 3-4 months to germinate.

The lower photo was taken by Charlotte Glen.

Missouri Ironweed - Vernonia missurica

Florida is home to six distinct species of ironweeds (Vernonia spp.)  - all of them relatively robust with rich purple flowers.  All of this makes distinguishing them from each other a bit problematic.  What's most useful is a close look at the foliage, the overall growth form, and the habitat it occurs in.  

Missouri ironweed (V. missurica), despite its common name, is a Florida native though restricted to five counties in the far western Panhandle and in two others in the central portion of that region.  It also is reported in the central swath of states in the U.S. - from directly north of Florida (Georgia and Alabama), east to Texas and then north to Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Michigan.  Throughout this region, it is most often found in sunny open habitats with extra moisture; though it is not considered to require wetland soils. 

Vernonia missurica is best distinguished from other ironweeds by the usually greater number of disk florets per flower head and by the hairy stems and leaf undersides. This is an upright perennial that typically grows 3-5 feet tall on stiff, leafy stems which branch at the top. Narrow, lance-shaped to narrow-ovate leaves (to 7 inches long) have serrate margins.The leaves alternate along the stems.

Flowering occurs in summer to early fall.  The individual blooms lack ray petals (which is true for all ironweeds) and occur near the tops of the main stem and in corymbose cymes arising from the upper leaf axils.  Each "head" is composed of fluffy deep purple disc flowers.  These are exceedingly attractive to butterflies and bees - a trait of all ironweeds.

I've been growing this wonderful species here at Hawthorn Hill in south Pasco County for several years and find that it's an easy species to maintain.  The seed germinates readily without cold stratification and it has adapted well to my created wetland conditions - growing in pretty much the same conditions as New York ironweed (V. novaboracensis).  If you wish to add this species to your landscape, you likely will have to purchase it from sources outside of Florida.  I do not know of anyone (other than myself) in Florida that has ever propagated it and my original seed source did not come from a Florida population.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Florida skullcap - Scutellaria floridana

Florida skullcap (Scutellaria floridana) is an exceedingly rare plant, endemic to Florida and only vouchered from Bay, Franklin, Gulf, and Liberty Counties in the central Gulf Coast side of the Panhandle.  It is listed as a federally threatened species.

There is limited information available for this species and I've had no personal experience myself. The above wonderful photos were taken by Floyd Griffith and used with permission. Florida skullcap is a perennial species that dies back to the ground in winter; reemerging again in early spring.  It occurs in moist, fire-dependent plant communities that include moist flatwoods, wet prairies and savannas.  It is reported that flowering does not occur in areas where fire is absent for more than 3 years.  This fire dependency may account for some of its rarity.

Plants reach a mature height of 12-15 inches by late spring to summer.  As for most mints, the stems are square. The short linear leaves occur as whorls along the main stem(s). Each is often tipped in red.  Flowers are typical in structure to the genus - the upper petals form a "helmet" above the broad lower lip.  Flowers occur up the top of each stem and emege from the axils of the upper leaves. They are produced from May to June. Each is a rich purple in color with a white patch on the inside of the lower lip and covered by soft white "hairs".  

Limited research reports that they are primarily pollinated by megachilid bees. Although skullcaps in general are wonderful additions to a wildflower planting in a home landscape, this is not one of those species. It's restricted habitat requirements make it unsuitable for most locations. Therefore, it is one of those wonderful wildflowers, restricted solely to our state, that should simply be admired for what it is.

Gulf Coast Barbara's Buttons - Marshallia angustifolia


While some taxonomists include this species with Marshallia graminifolia, others separate Marshallia angustifolia from it as a distinct species.  They are very similar, but there are distinct differences as described below per Weakley's Flora:

 Lower stem leaves (and basal leaves) spreading, oblanceolate or spatulate, with rounded or obtuse apices, relatively thin in texture, the 2 lateral nerves (parallel to the midnerve) often obscure; caudex lacking fibrous remnants of the previous year's leaves; phyllaries thin, linear-subulate, abruptly narrowing to the next series; [e. GA southward and westward; disjunct in Eastern Highland Rim of TN]
Lower stem leaves (and basal leaves) erect, narrowly lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, with attenuate or long-acuminate apices, relatively thick in texture, the 2-4 lateral nerves (parallel to the midnerve) prominent; caudex with fibrous remnants of the previous year's leaves (if not burned off); phyllaries thick, ovate-attenuate, gradually narrowing to the next series; [NC, SC, and extreme e. GA]

These photos, taken by Floyd Griffith and used with permission show the lower stem leaves as spreading instead of erect.

While grassleaf Barbara's buttons is vouchered from much of central peninsular Florida, Gulf Coast Barbara's buttons is confined to the northern third of the state.  It also is reported from Georgia west to Louisiana along the southern Gulf Coast.  

Like its close relative, it is a perennial species most commonly found in open moist habitats such as pine savannas and seepage bogs.  It dies back to the ground in winter and reemerges in early spring.  As the above photos show, the leaves are simple with entire margins (no teeth) and they alternate along the stem.  A single stem arises from the basal leaves and reaches a mature height by summer of 1-2 feet.  

A single flower head is produced at the tip of this main stem.  Ray petals are absent and the disc flowers that form the head are pink and quite showy.  Like other asters, the flowers open from the outer perimeter and proceed to the interior over several weeks. Most flowering in Florida occurs during the summer months. The flowers attract a wide variety of pollinators.

Though all members of this genus share a great many qualities that would make them desirable in a moist setting in a home landscape, none are grown (to the best of my knowledge) by members of FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.  Hopefully, that will be corrected someday in the future.  I have never had ripe achenes to attempt it myself, but I suspect it would not be difficult from seed.

Swamp Milkwort - Polygala appendiculata

As its name implies, swamp milkwort (Polygala appendiculata) is a wetland species, vouchered in Florida only in seven counties in the extreme northern part of the state.  It also is reported in Louisiana, southern Mississippi, and Texas as well as Mexico, the West Indies, and portions of Central and South America.  This is most definitely not a plant suited for below-freezing temperatures.  Throughout its extensive range, it occurs in savannas, pastures, bogs, open wet pine woods, and pond margins.

Like other members of this genus, it is considered to be an annual.  Slender stems emerge in the early spring and reach a mature height of about 18 inches.  The narrow linear leaves are appressed on the stems and alternate along it.  Flowering occurs at the tips of these stems in late spring to early summer.  The blooms are often a pinkish lavender (as they appear in these photos), but can be white or a deeper purple.  Each of these flowers are tiny - no more then 1/4-inch long, but they atttract the attention of small bees and other pollinators.  Small brownish seed capsules result from pollination.

Swamp milkwort is one of 22 species of milkworts native to Florida. Because they are annuals and habitat specific, even the showier members are not often offered for sale by native plant nurseries.  That is especially true for this species.  Despite that, it is an interesting species and should be looked for in various wetland habitats during its blooming season.

These photos were taken by Steve Coleman and used by permission.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Georgia Milkwort - Polygala leptostachys

Georgia milkwort (Polygala leptostachys) is an annual member of a large genus of wildflowers native to Florida.  Despite its common name, it is far more widespread in Florida than it is in Georgia - or the rest of the Southeast for that matter.  It has been vouchered in many of the counties in north Florida and its range extends down the west coast to Pasco County.  It is sporadically reported from the extreme southern counties of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.  Throughout its range, it occurs in well-drained soils and open habitats such as sandhills and disturbed roadsides.

Georgia milkwort is easily overlooked due to its small stature and tiny flowers.  The thin stem can reach a maximum height of about 12 inches at maturity. It is unbranched along most of that height until near the top where it forms 2-3 flowering stems.  The leaves are 1/2-1 inch long and linear; arranged in whorls along the stem.

Flowering occurs in early to mid-summer.  Clusters of greenish white flowers are produced at the tips of the stems.  Each inflorescence is only about 1 inch long and composed of more than a dozen blooms that are less than 0.1 inch long.  As in other members of the milkwort genus, they are composed of 2 winged sepals and 3 smaller side ones as well 3 petals of which one is "keeled" and bearing a fringed crest.  All of this is difficult to distinguish without a good hand or macro lens due to their small size. The flowers bloom from the bottom of the inflorescence up.

Milkworts are primarily pollinated by bees, but I have no reports of this wildflower's significance to pollinators. Its small size and its status as an annual make it very unlikely to be propagated by native plant nurseries. It is an interesting species, however, and should be looked for in the right habitat conditions during its summer blooming period. It may be more widespread than it has been reported.

The photos above were taken by my friend and wonderful nature photographer, Floyd Griffith, and used by permission.

Friday, June 30, 2023

Halberd-leaved Hibiscus - Hibiscus laevis

Halberd-leaved hibiscus (Hibiscus laevis) is yet another perennial native Florida hisbicus species common to wet soils. This one is rather uncommon here; native to only 10 counties in the Florida Panhandle.  It is extremely widespread elsewhere, however, and occurs throughout the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. and in Ontario as well. As would be expected, it dies back to the ground each winter and reemerges in spring.  

Like most of our native hibiscus, halberd-leaved hibiscus eventually attains a mature height of about 6 feet in early summer.  It has a straight stout main stem  and numerous small side branches.  The leaves alternate on the stem and are distinctive in shape - as evidenced by the last photo above.  As the common name signifies, they are halberd-shaped -  a two-handed pole weapon that came to prominent use during the 13th-16th centuries. The halberd consists of a specially shaped axe blade not too different than the blade of these leaves.

The flowers are produced at the axils of the leaves beginning near the top of the stem. Multiple blooms are produced singly or a few at a time during the early to late summer as the plant reaches its final height.  They remain open only for a day.  Flower color can be quite variable; from white (very similar to H. moscheutos) to a deep rosy pink (not unlike H. grandiflorus) but always with a bright crimson-colored center.  The flowers above are between those two extremes. Each flower is about 3 inches across.

Halberd-leaved hibiscus, like other members of this genus, attract the attention of a wide variety of pollinators. Hibiscus as a genus are hosts for several moths, including the Io.  Although many of our native hibiscus are widely propagated and sold by native plant nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries, this species has been ignored to date. Hopefully, this will change and this beautiful species will become more available to native plant gardeners.  I have been growing this now for 2 years at Hawthorn Hill and hope to continue its propagation through the years to come.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Fringed loosestrife - Lysimachia ciliata

Fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata) is a perennial wildflower native to only Jackson, Gadsden, and Liberty Counties in the central Panhandle region of Florida, but it is common throughout much of the U.S. except California and Nevada in the far Southwest.  Throughout its vast range in our nation, it occurs in seasonally wet soils along stream banks and similar habitats with rich organic soils and in shady to partially sunny areas.

This species dies back to the ground in early winter and reemerges in early spring.  Eventually, it reaches a mature height of nearly 3 feet.  It produces an upright thin stalk that is unbranched or slightly branched. The leaves are simple and lanceolate, and they occur opposite each other.  As its name implies, the leaf stems are covered with simple hairs.  

Flowering occurs in early summer (May, June).  The bright yellow blooms are about 1 inch across and are produced in open clusters atop the main stem.  They are especially attractive to bees.  Pollinated flowers form rounded seed capsules

This showy wildflower would make a nice addition to a moist area in the understory of a deciduous woodland or partly sunny wetland edge.  It has never, to my knowledge, been sold commercially by members of FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries, but it is available by many native nurseries north of us.  How these seeds/plants would fare in Florida is unknown.

These photos were taken by my friend, Floyd Griffith and used by permission.