Good News for Florida's Roadside Wildflowers!



By Lisa Roberts
Florida Wildflower Foundation Executive Director

Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad recently signed the department's new Wildflower Management Program Procedure, which will allow more of the state's native wildflowers to flourish along roadsides through reduced mowing and other management practices.

Left to right - Jeff Caster, FDOT landscape architect; Jeff Norcini,
FDOT wildflower horticulturalist; FDOT Sec. Ananth Prasad;
Florida Wildflower Foundation liaison Eleanor Dietrich
FDOT state transportation landscape architect Jeff Caster said, “Roadsides are the state’s most visited and visible landscape.  The department is committed to increasing the visibility and enjoyment of native wildflowers.” 

State Road 65 - roadside wildflowers; photo by Eleanor Dietrich
"We salute the department in enacting this forward-thinking program," said Vince Lamb, Florida Wildflower Foundation board chairman. "In Florida, wildflower tourism is building as its own brand of ecotourism, as is exemplified in the eastern Panhandle. There's no doubt that FDOT's new statewide procedure will help preserve native wildflowers, the most beautiful roadside assets of all."

Roadside ORCHIDS! Platanthera species; Photo by Eleanor Dietrich
Hairstreak butterfly on roadside Oclemena reticulata (white
topped aster) in Leon County; photo by Eleanor Dietrich
Not only are they beautiful, wildflowers provide habitat for the pollinators vital to Florida's agricultural success. Together, they are essential to the production of every third bite of food we eat.

On Jan. 28, the Florida Wildflower Foundation and the Magnolia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society hosted a meeting of more than 100 Panhandle Wildflower Alliance members in Tallahassee to introduce the new program. Established in 2012, the Florida Panhandle Wildflower Alliance is an informal network of regional wildflower enthusiasts that advocates for conservation of wildflowers in the state’s Eastern Panhandle.

For additional information, see the following links:
Panhandle Wildflower Alliance
Florida's wildflowers

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posted by Laurie Sheldon

Comments

Elizabeth Hart said…
This is a win/win on so many levels! Great news.
Dallee said…
Great news, indeed! Wildflowers on the side of roadways were one of Lady Bird Johnson's great achievements and usually rated, among the First Lady projects, as one with outstanding impact.
Ca McDonald said…
About time! the Blue Flag Iris in my garden are "rescues" from long ago when the expansive drifts of beautiful Blue Flags were bulldozed along State Road 776 and are now replaced with weedy exotic invasives :( what a waste of tax dollars that was!

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