Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - August 20, 2012

From: Tallahassee, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: First flower of the year from Tallahassee FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, What is the first wildflower to bloom in the North Florida area each year? I appreciate your knowledge and attention to all the questions you are asked.

ANSWER:

We are going to teach you how to answer this question yourself. First of all, it must be quantified as  NATIVE flower because that is what the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants does. We are dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants grow naturally.

First, go to our Native Plant Database. Using the Combination Search, select on Florida and Herb (herbaceous blooming plant) under Habit. Farther down the page, select January for Bloom Time. This gave us 27 results. Now, we have to figure out which of those January flowers grow in Leon County, and it gets a little tricky here. We went through that list of 27 and found three we liked. The first one we picked is Berlandiera subacaulis (Florida greeneyes). Follow the link to our webpage on this plant, scroll down to the bottom of the page to Additional Resources, and click on USDA :Find this plant in  USDA Plants.

So we did that, and got a map of the United States and Canada with the states where it is native in green (in this case, only Florida). We clicked on Florida and got a map of the state with the counties, including Leon, where it grows in green. Sure enough, there it was. So, here is our list , with links to each one's Plant Profile Map. Sometimes when you click on a green state, you don't get anything, because the USDA has not received information on that plant from Florida.

Berlandiera subacaulis (Florida greeneyes)

Eclipta prostrata (False daisy)

Helianthus debilis (Beach sunflower)

Now, if you really want to get picky, go back to the webpage on each one, and see if any of them bloom in December. If they bloom in December AND January, that may be the first bloomer. So, we did that. Shoot, all three of them bloom 12 months of the year. There probably is no precise answer to your question. When a plant blooms depends on the health of that plant, the weather and soils. You might try the Florida Native Plant Society. That is probably a question they get a lot. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Florida greeneyes
Berlandiera subacaulis

Pie plant
Eclipta prostrata

Beach sunflower
Helianthus debilis

More Wildflowers Questions

Annual flowers for fall planting in San Antonio
June 22, 2010 - What are some recommended annual flowers for fall planting in a small garden in San Antonio? Also any help on planting and cultivating would be appreciated.
view the full question and answer

Fragrant native plant to plant on rock wall in New York
May 28, 2007 - HELLO THERE, I LIVE IN CENTRAL NY. I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD SUGGEST A PLANT FOR THIS ROCK WALL ON THE SIDE OF MY HOME. IT IS A NATURAL ROCK WALL, SO BEAUTIFUL!! THE ROCK IS FLAT, ACTUALLY THE AREA...
view the full question and answer

Peak period for viewing Central Texas wildflowers
March 31, 2006 - My daughter lives in San Antonio now. I want to time my next visit with the peak period to blue bonnets and other TX wildflowers. When do you recommend that I visit and come to the Center for the fi...
view the full question and answer

Seeds for Fall bloom in Austin
May 31, 2010 - What seeds should I be planting now for fall blooms here in Austin?
view the full question and answer

Time for planting wildflower seeds in East Texas
August 06, 2007 - I live in northeast Texas, and we have had abundant rains here. Can I plant some wildflower seeds now, and if so, what plants would be appropriate?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.