Archives for posts with tag: Spring wildflower Florida



Bidens mitis

Forb/herb, annual

Native, L 48

Flower color: yellow

Blooming: February, March

The tick in the common name refers to black seeds in a round ball which have a barb at the end.   This enables the plant to spread by sticking on to feathers, fur or clothes.


Saurus cernuus

Forb/herb, perennial

Native: L48 and Canada

Blooming:  May, white

Location: N 30 00.132, W 084 32.996 (.75 RL), N 30 00.102, W 084 32.477 (.2RR)



Salvia Lyrata

Forb/herb, perennial

Native: L 48

Blooming:  March, April, blue

Pollinated and visited by bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  Seeds eaten by gold finches.

Called cancer weed because of its medicinal use by Native Americans and early settlers.   Use for treatment of asthma, colds, coughs, colds, diarrhoea and constipation.  Fresh leaves applied to warts and an ointment made from leaves and seeds for wounds and sores.

Location:  Nick’s Road primitive campsite.



February 9, 2014

Tillandsia bartramii



Native:  Lower 48, Puerto Rico

Blooming:  March, April, pink, purple

Location:  RR N 30 00 150′ W 84 32 972′

Epiphytes (air plants)  grow on other plants, such as trees, but they do not parasitize the host plant, using it mainly for support.   The root structure is very efficient in absorbing water and nutrients which come in contact with them, especially from rain.  There are sufficient dissolved nutrients in rain, as low as these might be.  They do not tolerate fertilization.

All Tillandsias are flowering.  Bartram’s airplant has pink flowering stalks and purple “petals”.  Seeds are equipped with “wings” which enable them to air-float to another tree to begin new life.

While they are prolific on trees on southern tributaries of the Apalachicola River, this is the first sighting of Bartram’s airplant on this creek.



Nyssa sylvatic var biflora


Native L 48, Canada

Blooming:  March, before Ogeechee tupelo, white

Pollinated by insects, primarily bees, but pollen also spread by wind.  Honey produced usually called baker-grade honey, which, unlike white tupelo, will granulate.

Foliage and twigs eaten by deer.   Black bears, foxes, wood ducks, wild turkeys and robins eat fruit in the fall.  The photo above was taken on October 10, 2013.

Early settlers used hollowed trunks as bee hives or rabbit traps which traps were called  bee-gums or rabbit-gums.  Twigs  broken at right angles were once used as toothbrushes, hence the common name, pioneer’s toothbrush.

Location: N 30 00 306, W084 33 566′ (2.9 RL)

P1020499Iris virginica L.


Native L 48, Canada

Blooming:  April, May, purple

Location: N 30 00 209′, W 084 33 548′ (1.7RL), N 30 00 830′, W 084 34 449′ (3.8 RL).

The flower of the iris attracts large bumble bees, flies, skipper butterflies, moths and other insects.  The iris rely on both seeds and rhizomes for propogation.

Cherokees used the root as a salve for ulcers, infusion for liver health, and a decoction from root for “yellowish urine.”

Iris was a goddess in the Greek Pantheon who acted as a messenger between the denizens of Olympus and humans on earth.  Her presence was always noted with a rainbow and ancient Greeks interpreted a rainbow as a message being transmitted by Iris from a god to a human.   Because she was also responsible for guiding women’s souls after death, iris were often planted on graves.

The symbol of the iris was used by royalty as early as the  Eygyptian pharoahs and from Clovis of the Franks to Louis VII embarking on the Crusades.   Fleur-de-louis (Flower of Louis) became “fleur-de-lys”, “fleur-de-luce”, or  “fleur-de-lis”, a symbol associated with France.

While the blue flag iris is native to the US, there are many species of Iris in the world, which appear in many colors.  The yellow iris, seen on riverbanks in other areas of the  US, are not native.

The resin in the tubers, if over ingested, is dangerous.  Iridin or Irisin, used as a diuretic was once produced from the plant.  In India the root is still used today to combat obesity and it is believed that the chemicals may be able to increase the rate of consumption of fat into waste.   Orris root is iris root. The iris root was dried which then smells like violets.  Ground orris roots were put into pomander balls to perfume the air.   Witches used the powder to induce abortions.   Iris roots are still used as fragrances.

Blue flag flowers, when mixed with water, produces a blue dye which, like litmus paper, will turn red when exposed to acid, or back to blue when re-exposed to an alkali.

Because it grows in areas where sunlight is at a premium, both sides of the iris leaf can assimilate light, unlike other broad-leafed plants.

There are not as many patches of blue flag iris on Womack creek compared with Crooked River just 2 miles downriver,  where there are large stands.  Look for stands on Womack Creek where there are patches of sunlight on the forest floor.    They bloom earlier on the Crooked River, the river in Tate’s Hell which connects the Ochlockonee, south of Womack creek, to the Carrabelle/New River on the west side of Tate’s Hell State Forest.

We expect to see more Iris blooming in 2014  on Womack Creek because so many of the large trees have fallen in 2013 opening up more areas exposed to sun.


Euonymus americanus L.


Native: L 48

Location:  N 30 00 162′ W 84 33 000′ (.5 RL)

This is a photo of the seeds.  Small white flowers bloom  in April and May.  Because the shrub is spread thinly the flowers are not easily seen.

Deer eat its its foliage and young shoots and northern flickers, brown thrashers, catbirds, eastern bluebirds, cardinals and eastern towhees and wild turkeys eat its seed.  Small insects and flies are pollinators.

A tea made of sweet gum bark, summer graps and hearts-a-bustin’-with-love was drunk by native Americans.

P1020157Lyonia lucida

Shrub; perennial

Native: L48

Blooming:  April, white

Location:  Womack Creek Campground

Not to be confused with Eubotrys racemosa, swamp sweetbells, which grows profusely along the creek.

If soil is poor in nutrition, it will not bloom.  It has seeds, but it propagates mainly vegetatively, asexual reproduction such as by shoots, leaves or rhizomes.

Visited by butterflies and bees for nectar.

P1020266Viola primulifolia L.

Forb/herb; perennial

Native: L 48

Blooming:  March, April, May, white

Location:  Landing, Womack Creek Campground

Violets attract pollinators as butterflies.  Ants prefer the oily coating of the seeds, eating only the coating and discarding the seed.  This aids in seed dispersal since the removal of this coating allows more seeds to germinate.   This is what is called a mutualistic relationship.

P1020154-003Polygala nana (Michx.) DC

Forb/herb, annual

Native: L 48

Blooming:  April, yellow

Location:  Womack Creek Campground