Category Archives: Roots in the Sand

Dune Sunflowers

Pretty self explanatory, a dune sunflower is a sunflower that grows on a dune! Their bright yellow petals cannot be missed. They grow at an extremely fast pace, and are  imperative to preserving the coastal dunes.

Like other beach flowers, they thrive in bright sun, saltwater air, and low-nutrient soil. They can be found in eleven counties in Florida, all of which are on the eastern coast.

Did you know that the Latin word for sun is “heli”, and for flower it is “anthus”? The scientific name for the Dune Sunflower is Helianthus debilis, with “debilis” referring to this flower’s “debilitated” crawling growth pattern.

dune sun flowers beach wildflowers

Learn more about the Dune Sunflower with the Florida Native Plant Society.

Indian Blanket Flower

When you think of the beach, wildflowers are not usually the first image that comes to mind. Believe it or not, there are many interesting wildflowers you can find at the beach!

The Indian Blanket Flower (Gallardia pulchella) is a wonderful wildflower that flourishes in sandy soils. It is also known as the “fire wheel” because of its flame-colored petals. At the beach, you will sometimes find it amongst dune sunflowers. The Indian Blanket can also be abundantly found in meadows and prairies.

This wildflower is the state flower of Oklahoma. It is believed to hold medicinal properties to fight ailments such as gastroenteritis. The Kiowa Indians celebrated this flower as token of good luck.


The Railroad Vine

The Railroad Vine , also known as the Beach Morning Glory, is as strong as it is beautiful. It thrives in some of the harshest conditions for a plant- saltwater air and sand dunes.

The Ipomoea pes-caprae gets its common name because of how quickly the vine chuga-chuga-choo-choos across the dunes; it can grow up to one foot a day!

It is most commonly purple, but can vary towards pinker hues. This perennial wildflower blooms throughout the year. It has been said that the Carib Indians used Railroad Vine during certain rituals to cleanse evil spirits.

Dune flowers such as the Railroad Vine help to naturally preserve and stabilize sand dunes, so when you come across these flowers, bask in their beauty, but don’t disturb their home.

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