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Coreopsis in bloom

Happy Birthday to…Florida!

Did you know that today, March 3, 2020, is Florida’s 175th birthday?  We know Florida is pretty special and a great way to celebrate, is to get outside and explore and appreciate all that Florida has to offer!  Here are some facts about Florida’s state plants and animals as well as some links to learning more about the flora and fauna of the sunshine state.

Florida’s state tree
Cabbage Palm, Florida's State Tree. Photo credit: Anne Yasalonis, UF/IFAS Extension

Cabbage Palm, Florida’s State Tree. Photo credit: Anne Yasalonis, UF/IFAS Extension

Our state tree, is actually not a tree at all!  It’s the Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto).  It’s name comes from the edible “heart” that has been said to taste like cabbage.  This native palm is drought-tolerant, low-maintenance and looks great in any landscape.  The fan-like fronds should be maintained at 360 degrees (as seen in the photograph). These palms are susceptible to Lethal Bronzing Disease and care should be taken when maintaining palms.  Always clean your tools between plants as you prune!

 

 

 

 

Florida’s state flower
Orange Blossom

Orange blossom, Photo credit: UF/IFAS Communications

The state flower of Florida is none other than the beautiful and fragrant orange blossom.  Florida is second only to Brazil in orange juice production and many people associate oranges with Florida.  The Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred has been researching citrus for over 100 years!

 

 

 

Florida’s state wildflower
Coreopsis in bloom

Coreopsis in bloom. Photo credit: UF/IFAS Extension

Coreopsis (also known as Tickseed), is the state wildflower of Florida. You may have seen it blooming along roads and in natural areas around the state, but it is easy to grow in the home landscape as well.  This native wildflower is drought-tolerant and low-maintenance, and blooms continuously in warm weather. It spreads by seed and looks beautiful planted with other flowering perennials such as salvia, pentas, and blanket flower.

 

 

Florida’s state butterfly
Zebra longwing, Florida's state butterfly

Zebra longwing, Florida’s state butterfly. Photo credit: UF/IFAS Communications

This large butterfly is the Zebra Longwing.  It is the state butterfly–did you know that Florida had a state butterfly? The black and white larvae feeds on passionflower vines while the adult butterfly will nectar on a variety of flowering plants.  Planting a butterfly garden is enjoyable and beautiful! Many of the plants that attract butterflies are colorful additions to the landscape and complement the landscape.   A list of butterflies and plant can be found here.

 

 

Other special things about Florida include some of the wildlife that you may encounter. UF/IFAS Extension has a wealth of information on wildlife and there is so much to learn!

Our state reptile, the alligator

Snakes! 

Frogs and toads!

Bears!

Find out more about Florida’s wildlife by watching Wildlife Wednesdays here.

For more information, contact UF/IFAS Extension Polk County at (863) 519-1041 or visit us online at http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/polk.  The Plant Clinic is open Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-4:00 pm to answer your gardening and landscaping questions. Visit us in person, give us a call, or email us at polkmg@ifas.ufl.edu.

If you are not in Polk County, Contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic.

The Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a volunteer-driven program that benefits UF/IFAS Extension and the citizens of Florida.  The program extends the vision of the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, all the while protecting and sustaining natural resources and environmental systems, enhancing the development of human resources, and improving the quality of human life through the development of knowledge in agricultural, human and natural resources and making that knowledge accessible.

An Equal Opportunity Institution.

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