Wildflowers on Cortez

In 1960 a contractor bought sod from a local cattle farmer for a roadway being built along SR19/US27 south of Tallahassee. Unbeknownst to the contractor that sod contained flower seed, specifically crimson clover.

The cattle farmer had planted crimson clover to enrich the pasture soil with nitrogen as winter forage for his cattle.

Wildflowers 1Most of what you will see along roadsides, medians and even railroads are a native wildflower called phlox.

Phlox is a genus of 67 species of perennial and annual plants in the family Polemoniaceae (Jacob’s-ladder or phlox family). Some flower in spring, others in summer and fall. Flowers may be pale blue, violet, pink, bright red or white.

In 1963, the Wildflower program was initiated. With years and years of in-depth research which included mowing treatment, the study of pollinating groups such as bees, wasps, flies, beetles and butterflies, ultimately made the program successful as well as beneficial to the eco-system.

In 1991, the genus Coreopsis was designated Florida’s official wildflower.

In 1999, the legislature approved the Wildflower license plate designed by Bill Celander (1953-2011).

The sale of these license plates (additional fee) helps fund native Florida wildflower research, education and planting projects and also includes a Florida Wildflower Foundation membership.

For more information about the Wildflower Program, please visit these websites: http://www.fdot.gov/designsupport/wildflowers/default.shtm | http://flawildflowers.org/

Article II, section 7(a), Florida Constitution – “It shall be the policy of the state to conserve and protect its natural resources and scenic beauty.” Adopted in 1998