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 three Florida native milkweed species: