Compiled by Marcy Shortuse
Photos by Caroline Clabaugh,
Roselle Agles, Julianne Greenberg
Gasparilla Island may be beautiful all the year through, but in March and April the flowers of the island
explode with color. They are a stark contrast to the cold winter taking place in northern climates; it’s
odd sometimes to watch our season of color come in what many people across the country consider
to be the coldest months of all.
Here is just a random sampling of some of the flowers you will see while walking around the island. Not all
of these bloom only in the spring, some bloom year-round and others bloom further into the summer. Either
way, this can be a handy guide to take with you when you jump in the golf cart with your grandchildren on an
idle day, or to go on a “flower scavenger hunt” next time you’re with your friends.
Many thanks to those who contributed the amazing photographs!
Gaillardia (Gaillardia pulchella)
Also known as Firewheel, Indian Blanket or Sundance, this beautiful flower was named
after an M. Gaillard de Charentonneau, an 18th-century French magistrate who was a
patron of botany. The common name may refer to the resemblance of the inflorescence
to the brightly patterned blankets made by Native Americans, or to the ability of wild taxa
to blanket the ground with colonies. Many cultivars have been bred for ornamental use.
This species of short-lived perennial in the sunflower family blooms at almost any time
during the year, but primarily in summer to early fall. It is also the state wildflower of
Favored by honeybees, it produces a dark reddish amber, buttery-tasting honey.