Yellow is the color of those cute little smiley face icons we add to our email messages, of rubber duckies, of bananas, and pollen. It's a happy color.
It is the color of sunshine, the color of Florida.
I didn't realize just how many yellow wildflowers are in my butterfly garden until last week. The butterfly bed -- a narrow space packed with flowers for pollinators -- is aglow in yellow.
Many of the flowers look like daisies, with multiple ray-like petals encircling either a yellow or dark center disk.
There is black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta).
And rosinweed (Silphium astericus).
|Gulf fritillary on rosinweed
And the lovely cutleaf coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata), perhaps my favorite.
|Green sweat bee on cutleaf coneflower
Earlier in the summer, I had tickseed (Coreopsis spp.) though it has died back in my garden now. I saw more tickseed in pastures, ditches and along roadsides this year than I can ever recall -- seas of egg-yolk blossoms that never failed to make me slow down and soak in the sheer beauty of these "fields of gold."
|Tickseed meadow, Myakka River State Park
in June 2014
|A closer look at tickseed
And soon I will have the tall stalks of goldenrod (Solidago spp.) and the prolific narrow-leaved sunflowers (Helianthus angustifolius) that reach heights of 8 feet if I don't cut the stems back in early July, before flower buds start to form.
| Narrow-leaved sunflowers,
All of these species are native to Florida. All are perennials -- meaning they return year after year to shine in your yard (although tickseed is an annual for me, and every spring I transplant a few from a nearby vacant lot).
Several, like goldenrod and narrow-leaved sunflowers, reseed with abandon, multiplying over time so you can share them with friends.
Maybe it's not a coincidence that the Sunshine State has so many sunshine-colored wildflowers!