I know there's a huge movement out West and in the Northeast to make the flower industry more sustainable, but there isn't really much of one here in Florida. So I've decided that, in my own small way, I'd try to shed light on the abundance, beauty and wonder of Florida wildflowers with a new series called "Field to Vase". Each post will feature a different wildflower from its native state in the field, all the way to the vase, bouquet or wear-able arrangement.
In a place whose namesake translates to "flowery land" (or something like that) I kind of feel like this is the least I can do!
First up: Spanish Needles (Biden alba seds)
Spanish Needles bloom along roadsides, parking lots, meadows and woods all year long. In the winter, they are the number one source of nectar for our local bees and butterflies. I haven't tried any yet, but I've read that the flowers and young leaves can be used in salads and the mature leaves can be boiled or steamed for greens. They also have a pretty long vase life for wildflowers (about 5 days).
Unfortunately, most locals consider Spanish Needles weeds and try to get rid of them, either mowing them down or dousing them with toxic pesticides.
On Saturday, I went to my favorite little pasture of Spanish Needles, just down the road from my house, and snipped a few bunches. I also clipped some locally grown oak branches from my yard and some gorgeous peachy roses from a friend's garden.
I used about 10-15 stems of Spanish Needles, 5 Stems of Garden Roses and 3 small Oak Tree Branches to create a super sweet, peachy, summery arrangment!
The wiry stems of the Spanish Needles really help give the arrangement a one-of-a-kind shape.
I think what I find most beautiful about this flower, besides the bounty it provides to our bees and butterflies, is how imperfect the little white petals are. In one single stem you can have two to four blossoms. Some blossoms might have three or four or five petals, others none. No stem is the same!
Floral Styling + Photos by Mary Stonecypher Maslow