Why Native Plants...

Phase I of III

Courtesy of Kirsten Sharp-Ortega

Before the latest landscape installation, Pine Bluff already had unique features towards the development of a wonderful habitat for Florida’s Flora and Fauna.  These foundations were started by mother nature (birds and pollinators). Thus, it made sense to go with the flow and jump in nature's wagon!

By planting the plants listed below we are encouraging more of these Florida Natives to make their home in our community.

Courtesy of Kirsten Sharp-Ortega
Courtesy of Kirsten Sharp-Ortega
Courtesy of Kirsten Sharp-Ortega

We focused on the entrance areas to start adding Natives.  Below is information about some of the plants that are being added and why they are important.  Our star plant or main feature shrub is the Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginica) this spectacular specimen is one that showcases itself early in the year with a shower of fragrant white flowers that welcome spring.  After the blooms have finished the leaves appear and the berries will form, these turn to purple by midsummer and the birds love them.

It is hailed as the Best Native Tree that no one knows!

Courtesy of Kirsten Sharp-Ortega

Another plant that is an absolute must is the Firebush (Hamelia patens), there are two varieties of this lovely shrub, regular and compact.  This wonderful native is a Hummingbird and Butterfly magnet.  It has orange to red tubular flowers which will appear throughout the year followed by clusters of berries that go from red to black.  The birds like to feast on the berries.  The leave tinge red on the tips in winter when it is not too cold!  It is also the preferred nectar food for Florida’s state butterfly the Zebra Longwing Butterfly (Heliconius charithonia).

Courtesy of Kirsten Sharp-Ortega
Courtesy of Kirsten Sharp-Ortega
Courtesy of Kirsten Sharp-Ortega

Silver Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) is one of the most famous Palm trees of Florida.  These horizontal growing Palms can reach incredible ages and is home to many different -good- critters.  They are very slow growing but once they start to flower the bees love the flowers and the fruit is eaten by a variety of animals and birds.

Another Palm-like plant is the Coontie (Zamia pumila).  This wonderful evergreen fern-like plant is a member of the Cycad Family and grows to form thickets over time. It has male and female plants with different cones that produce orange fruit on the female.   It is also a larval host plant for the endangered Atala Butterfly (Eumaeus atala).

Interesting fact about Coontie: the Native American Indians used to harvest the roots of the Coontie to use as a form of starch and it was called Florida Arrowroot.

Walters Viburnum courtesy of Kirsten Sharp-Ortega

We added two different kinds of Walters Viburnum.

  1. Walters Viburnum 'Withlacoochee', which is an erect evergreen shrub with small white flowers in the spring that the insects love. It has an upright growth habit and creates good hiding places for birds.
  2. The second one is the Walters Viburnum ‘Densa’ which is a compact plant that stays small and again has the white flowers in the spring.

The upright version also produces red berries for the birds.

Walters Viburnum        Walters Viburnum

Finally we finished off the beds with some Native Perennials that will flower for long periods of time to give the beds some color for many months of the year.

  1. Rosinflower (Silphium asteriscus)
  2. Calamint (Calamintha spp.)
  3. Pineland Lantana (Lantana spp.)
Fosgate & Jack Pine Entrance
  • Coontie
  • Silver Saw Palmetto
  • Swamp Twinflower
  • Coontie
  • Silver Saw Palmetto
  •  Silver Leaf Aster
  • Swamp Twinflower
  • Walters Viburnum ‘Densa’
  • Compact Firebush
  • Coontie
  • Calamint
  • Silver Leaf Aster
  • Swamp Twinflower
North Intersection of Jayhil and Jack Pine (by sign)
  • Fringe Tree
  • Simpson’s Stopper
  • Compact Firebush
  • Simpson’s Stopper
  • Calamint
  • Rosinflower
  • Pinelands Lantana
  • Swamp Twinflower)
  • Muhly Grass)
  • Dwarf Fakahatchee Grass

Hancock Entrance

  • Walters Viburnum
  • Silver Saw Palmetto
  • Simpson’s Stopper
  •  Coontie
  • Calamint
  • Rosinflower
  • Swamp Twinflower
  • Pinelands Lantana
  • Dwarf Fakahatchee Grass
  • Muhly Grass
  • Silver Leaf Aster

 

Pine Bluff Entrance - off Fosgate East

  • Calamint
  • Swamp Twinflower