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Welcome to Floridata!

After years of delay I'm back at work on a new version of Floridata that is optimized for tablets and mobile devices. Security issues and other concerns have delayed the effort but now I identified and learned a new technology that will let us add new features and while not having to spend all our time dealing with hack attacks and spammersl. I'm planning to launch a prototype version of the Plant Encyclopedia next month but as the technology we're using is experimental we'll keep the current site up and running as well. Thanks for visiting, tell your friends about us and be good and grow! ~ Jack   October 20, 2014

New Profile!

Artemisia dracunculus

Our newest Plant Profile is of the herb French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus), a plant whose aromatic leaves lend Bearnaise sauce its distinctive flavor. Read about tarragon, an easy to grow culinary and medicinal herb that is hardy in USDA Zones 4 - 8.

Picture Gallery

orange cosmos
Orange Cosmos

I know of a patch of orange cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus) that reseeds itself each year. In late summer the plants stand more than 7 feet high and burst into full bloom creating a colorful mini-jungle. This annual is very easy to grow and attracts swarms of bees and butterflies for food and fun. Click here to download a large version (800x600) to display on your computer screen.

prickly pear with pink muhlygrass
Pink Muhlygrass

A prickly pear cactus (Opuntia spp.) frames fuzzy haze of pink muhlygrass flowers (Muhlenbergia capillaris) and colorful dogwood (Cornus florida) trees in North Florida.Click here to download a large version of this image.

popcorn senna
Senna alata

This impressively beautiful senna blooms at this time of year, shooting its long candle-like yellow flower clusters skyward, a display that continues on well into winter (or until frosted). Click here for more on this tropical evergreen shrub or small tree for Zones 10-11. From Zones 7-8 grow this beauty as a root hardy perennial or as an annual from seed each year.

Visit the Wallpaper Browser page to see more than 1,500 larger format (800x600px) plant images. Links to these images are also present in the title area of each Plant Profile.

Articles & Resources

A Tulip History
The Daffodils

The Hawaiian Silverswords
Haleakala  Volcano
Flagship Plants of the Islands
Bruce Bohm shot this picture of the famous Hawaiian silversword plants, in full bloom, growing in Haleakala Volcano crater. Click here to see and read more about these fascinating and beautiful plants.

click to visit the Butterfly Gallery
Butterfly Gallery

Visit Floridata's Resource and Articles page.


Mexican bush sage
Mexican Bush sage
Salvia leucantha

Members of the genus Salvia are often referred to collectively as the "sages". This includes the familiar culinary quartet of "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" fame as well as some wonderful garden plants, many of which are prolific bloomers and able to thrive on dry, infertile soils. While many gardeners are familiar with the bedding annual scarlet sage (S. splendens), there are many other ornamental Salvia species to know if not actually grow. Back home in North Florida the Mexican bush sage is blooming now along with the big yellow forsythia sage and a nice pink autumn sage that looks pretty boring most of the time but makes up for it at this time of year.

Some Salvias to consider:
autumn sage (Salvia greggii)
blue anise sage (Salvia guaranitica)
forsythia sage (Salvia madrensis)
hybrid wood sage (Salvia nemorosa)
'Indigo Spires' sage (Salvia 'Indigo Spires')
lyreleaf sage (Salvia lyrata)
mealycup sage (Salvia farinacea)
Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha)
Mexican sage (Salvia mexicana)
pineapple sage (Salvia elegans)
scarlet sage (Salvia splendens)

Texas red sage
Texas Red Sage
Salvia coccinea

Every butterfly and hummingbird garden can benefit from the presence of a few of these non-stop annual bloomers.

garden sage
Salvia officinalis

The leaves of culinary sage are used to flavor savory dishes but it also produces beautiful blue blossoms in summer.

Floridata Master Plant List
The Floridata Plant Encyclopedia profiles all kinds of plants for every kind of climate. Visit the master Plant Profile List page that organizes species alphabetically by botanical name. Use the FloridataGrid page for advanced sorting, filtering and searching of the database.

Plant Tag Lists
Plant Type Tags
One or more "tags", represented as icons, are are assigned to a species to indicate plant form form and type.
Feature Tags
These tags are assigned to a species to summarize characteristics and uses.


Strange Fruits

Chinaberry Fruits

At this time of year, all across the The South, the chinaberries (Melia azedarach) are ripening. The fruits of this invasive tree species are toxic but some birds eat them anyway, eventually pooping out the undigested seeds. These often germinate to form linear mini-forests beneath the birds' utility line roosts.

camphor tree
Cinnamomum camphora

From a distance the camphor tree is a handsome species but it has a number of problems and should not be cultivated in the US. It produces large crops of seeds - the reason it is "invading and disrupting native plant communities in Florida."

tung oil tree
Aleurites fordii

Tung trees were once grown commercially in parts of the Deep South. Tung oil, extracted from the "nuts", was once an important industrial commodity that lost its importance with the invention of plastics.

tallow tree
Sapium sebiferum
This pretty little tree became an invasive pest in many warm-winter climates where it was once planted as an ornamental. The leaves become very colorful in autumn but this a noxious weed in most places and should not be planted.

Autumn Leaves

American persimmon foliage
Diospyros virginiana

At this time of year, even North Florida will get a touch of autumn color from the the leaves of several native deciduous species. In my yard the American persimmon trees can be depended on for an impressive seasonal foliage display in red, yellow and orange.

More trees with colorful autumn leaves:
black cherry (Prunus serotina)
Carolina buckthorn (Rhamnus caroliniana)
Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia)
chinkapin oak(Quercus muehlenbergii)
cornelian cherry (Cornus mas)
Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioicus)
northern catalpa tree (Catalpa speciosa)
northern red oak (Quercus rubra)
pond cypress (Taxodium ascendens)
shiny sumac (Rhus copallinum)
Carolina silverbells (Halesia spp.)

Ginkgo biloba

Maintenance people like ginkgo trees because the golden leaves tend to drop from the tree all at the same time!

little leaf linden
Tilia cordata

The littleleaf linden (Tilia cordata) is a durable shade tree noted for fragrant spring flowers, showy autumn foliage and adaptability to urban conditions.

Liquidambar styraciflua

The spiny fruits are a nuisance but there sterile sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) varieties are available that don't produce annoying dingleballs. Sweetgum grows well in moist soils and produces impressive colorful fall foliage displays.

Fall Foliage Plant List icon  Fall Foliage Plants
Browse Floridata's Fall Foliage Plant List for more species whose leaves turn in autumn.

Like Floridata

Winter Aconite

Eranthis hyemalis is among the earliest bloomers, sometimes their jewel-like flowers appear while snow is still on the ground!

More spring-flowering bulbs that are planted in autumn (now!):
crocus (Crocus spp.)
daffodil (Narcissus spp.)
grape hyacinth (Muscari spp.)
hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)
snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis)
tulip (Tulipa spp.)
winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

© 1996-2013 LC
Tallahassee, Florida USA

v7.2 August 9, 2011