Thursday, May 13, 2010

Carolina Rockrose - Helianthemum carolinianum

Carolina rockrose (Helianthemum carolinianum) is a rather diminutive member of this wonderful wildflower genus.  It is found throughout the northern half of Florida in well-drained sunny habitats and in the southern U.S. from Texas to North Carolina.
Unlike pinebarren frostweed (H. corymbosum) which I have also written about in this blog, Carolina frostweed remains as a short, narrow plant.  Its round basal leaves form a circle about 6 inches across.  From this, a flower stalk is produced in the early spring which eventually reaches about 12 inches in height.  Atop this stalk, several large showy yellow blooms are produced in March.  As with other members of this genus, the flowers have 5 bright yellow petals - looking very similar to those pictured for pinebarren frostweed.  I captured these photos above in early May when the seed capsules were splitting open.  Even at this stage, I find this wildflower to have a lot of charm.
Carolina frostweed is native to habitats with lots of sun and well-drained sandy soil.  If you can provide these conditions, it is easy to grow and maintain in a wildflower garden.  Mass it in the front of the bed or along trails or it will get lost amongst the other plants. 
We hope to propagate this species in the years ahead here at Hawthorn Hill to make it available to others.  Please check with us fall 2010 to see if we were successful.

1 comment:

  1. I was born and raised in St. Pete but now live North Florida and have discovered this native in my yard this year. I am a Master Gardener in Suwannee County and was thrilled to share this find at our monthly meeting.

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