waterlily flower and leaves

Wildflowers, What’s Blooming: Grass-like Plants

Named by Ponce de Leon in 1513, La Florida means “Land of Flowers” — and indeed it is!  Florida has more than 3,600 native and naturalized flowering species. Wildflowers are plants that grow in their natural state with little or no interference from man. Florida has 170 species of endemic wildflowers, which mean that they grow naturally in a certain area, and nowhere else. Because of this restriction, many are threatened, living on the verge of extinction. It is illegal to pick or dig wildflowers from public property, but there are many species that can be purchased for landscape use.

In this issue of Wildflowers: What’s Blooming , we explore grass-like plants:

Wildflowers: What's Blooming  Yellow-eyed Grass (Xyris spp.) Members of this genus have flowers with three yellow petals that sit on a scaly, cone-like spike and a leafless stem. Only one species has white petals with yellow stamens. Leaves are flat and grass-like. Find this North American native blooming from spring through fall in moist pinelands and other wet areas.  Pipewort (Eriocaulon spp.) Also commonly called Hat Pins, this water loving plant grows in moist pinewoods, ditches, and marshes throughout the state. Tiny white flowers form hard, button-like heads in spring which mature to black by fall. If you have this rush-like plant growing on your property, the flowers work well in dried floral arrangements.  Yellow-star Grass (Hypoxis sp.) This Florida native grows in pinewoods throughout the state and features star-shaped, yellow flowers that bloom yearround. With hairy stems and small yellow flowers, similar species in this genus are often differentiated by the width of their narrow leaves.

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