So, next weekend, I move to north Florida, a place with Florida beauty much different than what I’ve known for the past 10 years. One of the most beautiful Florida wildflowers I’ve seen in this region occurs in a habitat that only a Florida “mother” could love: the pine flatwoods. Pine flatwoods are a habitat that is hot, flat and very hospitable to rattlesnakes (although I’ve never seen one there).
Tarflower is barely pink. To me it seems such a delicate thing in a rough place.
If you’ve ever read “South Moon Under” by Marjory Kinnen Rawlings, you may remember the passage about the boy being lost in the pine flatwoods for a day. The descriptions of the heat and the plants and the wildness of the place are so on target for southwest Florida.
It’s a really lovely flower in the midst of an environment that seems so unlovely, even dangerous. It’s named for the sticky stuff that oozes out of it.
Some friends of mine used it in a wedding buttoniere. It makes me think of spring and the coming heat.
It’s like the last gentle thing in the woods before the intense heat of summer.