The tropical climate of Florida--the southernmost state along the East Coast of the United States--enables the growth of plants often seen in picturesque postcards. Sunny and mild, year-round temperatures and regular rainfall provide ideal conditions for plants to thrive in without going into the full dormancy commanded by colder climates. The plants that are native to Florida have adapted well to their environment, developed well-established root systems that draw from the soil's nutrients and prevent erosion, and beautify the landscape with their rich, green foliage and vibrant floral blossoms.
Cabbage Palmetto -- Florida's State Tree
An evergreen perennial tree of the Arecaceae or palm family, cabbage palmetto (Sabal palmetto) was declared the State Tree of Florida in 1953. Cabbage palmetto is found abundantly throughout the state as well as west to Louisiana and north to North Carolina. Cabbage palmetto is also native to the Bahamas and Cuba. The tree has fan-shaped leaves, grows over 65 feet tall, is drought-tolerant and grows in full sun. In the summertime, it produces large clusters of small white flowers and in the late fall, its small black fruit form. Other common names are: palmetto, cabbage palm, cabbage tree, blue palm and sabal palm.
An endangered plant species native to the forest areas in Liberty and Gadsden Counties in Florida, Florida yew (Taxus floridana) is a perennial evergreen tree or shrub member of the Taxaceae or yew family. Florida yew grows to 25 feet in partial sun to full shade and drought-tolerant soil conditions. The needles and seeds of the Florida yew are toxic for human consumption, and although the propagation of this species will help prevent its extinction, it is not recommended for the home garden.
Leavenworth's Tickseed -- The State Wildflower of Florida
A perennial flowering herb of the Asteraceae or daisy family, Leavenworth's tickseed (Coreopsis leavenworthii) is native to Florida and Alabama. The plant grows to 3 feet in height in full sun to partial shade and moist soil. It produces bold yellow flowers with brown centers that bloom from late spring and onward in the northern part of Florida or year-round in southern Florida.
An evergreen tree or shrub of the Canellaceae family, wild cinnamon or winter cinnamon (Canella winterana) is native to Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Wild cinnamon grows to 33 feet in height in partial sun and moderately dry soil. Its purple and white flowers bloom in the summertime, and its red berries form on the tree in the fall.