Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Big Cypress Wildflowers in May

Olivia and I stopped at the Kirby S Storter Park in Big Cypress.  We planned on a boardwalk stroll....but noticed that the "wet prairie" was dry enough for a walk...and was loaded with wildflowers (early May).  Here's what we saw.

Showy Milkwort (Polygala grandiflora).
Flowers look like orchids....and milkworts (though not apparently P. grandiflora) were used medicinally by the early Seminoles.

Ethnobotany of Early Seminoles.....great thesis!

   Purple Thistle (Circium nuttalii).
Lots of thistle species with lots of medicinal uses....

Marsh-Pink (Sabatia stellaris).
One of the most common wildflowers in the Everglades.

Coastal Plain Yellowtops (Flaveria linearis).
Beautiful native plant for your garden....and butterflies love it!

UF bulletin

Longleaf Milkweed (Asclepias longifolia).
Any and all milkweeds are great butterfly garden plants.

Milkweeds wiki link.....good stuff!

Cardinal Airplant (Tillandsia fasciculata).
A genus of over 700 species!


Endangered in Florida.  Larvae of the Mexican Weevil (Metamasius callizona) kill the plant.

UF/IFAS photo
Mexican Bromeliad Weevil.   This is one of several color variations.

Small's Flax (Linum carteri)
Endangered in Florida, although locally common in Big Cypress.
Flax is a very ancient herb....said to have powers of "money, protection, beauty, healing and psychic powers".....and protection against witches!!
Didn't see any in Big Cypress....now I know why!

Sabatia stellaris (pursh)

Pineland Heliotrope (Heliotropium polyphyllum).
Flowers tend to be white in Big Cypress and Corkscrew Swamps....but yellow in the Everglades National Park!
All species of Heliotropium have similar chemical qualities and were used by native Americans and South American Indians for diarrhea!

Cowpea (Vigna luteola).
Larval host plant for Long-tailed and dorantes Skippers!
Used to treat "ghost sickness" in Polynesia.

Fringed Yellow Stargrass (Hypoxis juncea).
Hypoxis species have long been used in traditional African medicine.

Starrush Whitetop Sedge (Rhynchospora colorata).
Common in wet prairies....attracts pollinators.

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis).
Deciduous shrub....loves water....good for a water garden.

 Swamp Lily  (Hymenocallis ?palmeri).


Mystery plant!  Help, help!  Cannot ID in any of my field guides.

A quick stroll on the boardwalk before heading to 
Everglades National Park.
Clyde Butcher was instrumental in the building of the boardwalk so that the public could enjoy Big Cypress as much as he did.

Cypress swamps are so very amazing!

It's dark and wet in the swamp, but you will still find some wildflowers there!

 Crested Floating Hearts (Nymphoides crista).
Similar to waterlillies, but not the same family (Nymphaea).

Popular in ponds and water gardens!

Water Hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes).
Fast growing and declared a "noxious weed" it clogs waterways all over South Florida.  

Wiki link....very interesting!

Our "go to" field guide for Big Cypress, Corkscrew and the Everglades.

I have tried to get good ID on all species, but will gladly defer to any and all botanical cognizatee.
Photography by both of us....but I think Olivia is the better shooter!


  1. Beautiful photos. A very cool place indeed. Just a quick ID correction. The string lily is actually a Spider lily, Hymenocallis sp.of witch there several sp. in FL. The Floating heart is N. crista just last year categorized as a noxious weed in FL. as it can really take over. The native one is N aquatica, and they look a lot alike. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for the help Patrick. Ironically, a Ranger at Everglades NP told me it was a String Lilly! Every time I post, I learn something!