Florida is well-known for its warm weather and large amusement parks. But did you know that this state is home to a seemingly endless amount of wildflowers? Florida’s mild winters and warm summers make for the ideal growing conditions for many plants, including native and non-native flowers. Sunflowers, asters, and milkweed are just a few of the wildflowers in Florida.
19 Wildflowers in Florida
The official wildflower of Florida is Coreopsis, which is also known as Tickseed, and it was designated the state’s wildflower in 1991. This decision was made after the state used the colorful, cheery plant to beautify its roadways.
While this plant may be one of the most commonly seen wildflowers in Florida, it is far from the only one you will encounter while in the state.
1. Black-Eyed Susan
Scientific Name: Rudbeckia hirta
The Black-Eyed Susan is a short-lived perennial or herbaceous annual that produces a daisy-like bloom. The petals are bright yellow in color and they have a dark brown center.
These blooms appear from spring to fall and attract various pollinators, including butterflies. Black-Eyed Susans are common throughout the state and thrive in various habitats, including pine flatwoods and sandhills.
2. Coastal Mock Vervain
Scientific Name: Glandularia maritima
This perennial produces clusters of small flowers that are lavender-purple in color. They can tolerate salt and drought, and make a wonderful groundcover.
The Coastal Mock Vervain blooms all throughout the year and attracts butterflies and various other pollinators. Unfortunately, this plant is listed as threatened and not as commonly seen as other wildflowers. It grows best in coastal uplands, hardwood forests, and pine flatwoods.
3. Summer Farewell
Scientific Name: Dalea pinnata
The Summer Farewell is a perennial wildflower that has branched stems with white blooms that appear in late summer and fall. This plant can tolerate dry conditions and is a host plant for the Southern Dogface butterfly.
Summer Farewell has a maximum height of 3 feet and grows well in sandy, dry soils with good drainage. It is found in the sandhills throughout Florida.
Scientific Name: Carphephorus corymbosus
Paintbrush wildflowers produce a cluster of vibrant pink flowers on an erect stem. These blooms appear from later summer through fall.
This plant attracts pollinators, including butterflies, and thrives in full sun. It can tolerate dry soil, and is found in various pine flatwoods, hardwood forests, and sandhills throughout the state of Florida.
5. Dotted Horsemint
Scientific Name: Monarda punctata
The Dotted Horsemint is an unusual wildflower that produces aromatic leaves on long spikes. From late spring to the fall, a cluster of small white, pink, or purple flowers appear.
These flowers attract a wide array of pollinators, including butterflies. The Dotted Horsemint grows in pine flatwoods and coastal uplands all around the state of Florida.
6. Bushy Aster
Scientific Name: Symphyotrichum dumosum
The Bushy Asters is an important plant during the summer and fall months that is a food source for a wide array of pollinators, including honey bees. This plant produces stalks of dainty light purple to white colored blooms that look similar to daisies. Bushy Asters can be found in a wide array of habitats, including pinelands, woodlands, ditches, and roadsides.
7. Joe-Pye Weed
Scientific Name: Eupatorium fistulosum
The Joe-Pye Weed is often confused for milkweed due to its similar appearance. While Joe-Pye Weed is in the same family as milkweed, they are two separate plants.
Joe-Pye Weed has tall stems with purplish to pink clumps of tiny flowers. These flowers attract butterflies, as well as other pollinators. Joe-Pye Weed is found in south and central Florida in moist soils.
8. Lyreleaf Sage
Scientific Name: Salvia lyrata
Lyreleaf sage produces spikes that are free from leaves but have tubular-shaped flowers in hues of blue to lavender. This plant is a member of the mint family, and blooms in late winter to late spring. While bees are the main pollinator of this plant, they can also attract hummingbirds and butterflies as well.
9. Purple Passionflower
Scientific Name: Passiflora incarnata
The Purple Passionflower is an unusual-looking plant that produces edible fruit and large light purple blooms on a climbing vine. This plant is an important host plant for various butterfly species, such as Gulf Fritillary and Zebra Longwing. Purple Passionflower is found in hardwood forests throughout most of the state.
10. Blue-Eye Grass
Scientific Name: Sisyrinchium atlanticum
Blue-Eyed Grass gets its name from the grass-like leaves that it has. Its blooms, which appear on short stalks, are light purple in color and have a yellow center.
The Blue-Eyed Grass attracts various small species of butterflies and can tolerate a wide array of growing conditions. This wildflower can be found in just about any habitat, including lawns, grassy fields and prairies, pine flatwoods, and even along the roadside in ditches.
Scientific Name: Packera glabella
Butterweed is one of the first wildflowers to flower in spring and is often found along river edges and moist roadsides throughout Florida. Butterweed produces a cluster of small, bright yellow blooms. This plant first appears in fall and winter as an arrangement of foliage at the base of the stem close to the ground.
Scientific Name: Vaccinium arboreum
The Sparkleberry is a small tree or woody shrub that has reddish bark and glossy leaves. Its small blooms are bell-shaped, white, and appear in clusters.
These blooms appear in spring and will give way to black-colored berries during the summer months. These small berries are a food source for birds. Not only is the Sparkleberry good for attracting birds, but it is also a host plant for the striped hairstreak butterfly.
13. Beaked Butterfly Pea
Scientific Name: Centrosema virginianum
The beaked Butterfly Pea is a vine-type wildflower that produces pink to purplish pea-shaped blooms that have a white center. These blooms appear from spring to fall, except in the southern counties of the state where they bloom all year round. Beaked Butterfly Pea is a host for the long-tailed skipper butterfly, and can be grown as a vine or as a ground cover.
14. Wild Coffee
Scientific Name: Psychotria nervosa
Wild Coffee is an evergreen shrub that produces clusters of delicate white blooms that attract many different species of butterflies. Wild Coffee is most often seen in the hardwood forests, pine flatwoods, and coastal uplands of Florida.
15. Canadian Toadflax
Scientific Name: Linaria canadensis
Canadian Toadflex is an annual that produces lavender-colored in spring. This plant is a larval host for the Buckeye butterfly and is an important source of nectar for butterflies, bumblebees, and various other long tongue pollinators. Canadian Toadflex is found throughout the entire state.
16. Mountain Laurel
Scientific Name: Kalmia latifolia
Mountain Laurel is an evergreen perennial shrub that produces white or pink blooms in the spring. These blooms are pollinated by bees, and the entire shrub itself acts as a cover for mammals and birds. This plant thrives in acidic and moist soils and can be found growing in sloped forests and along stream banks.
17. Lakeside Sunflower
Scientific Name: Helianthus carnosus
Also known as Flatwoods Sunflower, the Lakeside Sunflower is a short-lived perennial that produces yellow daisy-like blooms. These blooms are pollinated by bees and beetles, and the seeds of this plant are consumed by birds and other small mammals. Lakeside Sunflowers are found in wet flatwoods and roadside ditches.
18. Wild Sage
Scientific Name: Lantana involucrata
Sometimes referred to as Wild Lantana, Wild Sage is an evergreen perennial that produces blooms and fruits all year round. Both the flowers and the fruit are showy and provide food for various wildlife.
For example, the blooms attract pollinators, such as butterflies, bees, and ants, while the berries are consumed by birds. Wild Sage is found in the southern portion of Florida, and its native habitats are coastal dunes, pine rocklands, and tropical forests.
19. Florida Sensitive Brier
Scientific Name: Mimosa quadrivalvis
The Florida Sensitive Brier is a short-lived perennial vine that produces round purple to rose-colored flower heads on tall stalks. The leaves of this plant will fold up when touched, which is why this wildflower is called a sensitive brier. This plant attracts various pollinators and is found in flatwoods and sandhill areas of the central to northern portions of the state.
Where and When to See Wildflowers in Florida
Florida’s warm climate creates a perfect environment for wildflowers to show their stunning blooms throughout the year. However, the spring and fall seasons are considered the prime wildflower viewing times for the state’s major habitats, which are the sandhills and pine flatwoods.
You can also view a wide array of wildflowers in Florida by visiting one of the state’s many national and state parks. Florida is home to 175 state parks and 11 national parks. As you can see, the state has no shortage of places for you to view an abundance of native flora and fauna.
A few examples of state parks where you can view wildflowers all throughout the year include Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Myakka River State Park, Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park, Withlacoochee State Trail, Falling Waters State Park, and Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park.