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Bletia purpurea

Copyright by: George D. Gann
In habitat, New Providence, Bahamas, 2012

General Landscape Uses: Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also wildflower gardens.

Ecological Restoration Notes: A fairly uncommon understory herb in a variety of mesic and wetland ecosytems, but occasionally becoming abundant in small areas.

Availability: Grown by enthusiasts and occasionally by native plant nurseries and botanical gardens.

Description: Medium herbaceous wildflower with grass-like leaves.

Dimensions: Typically 1-2 feet in height; up to 5 feet when in flower. Generally taller than broad.

Growth Rate: Slow.

Range: Monroe County Keys north to Palm Beach and Lee counties; disjunct in Polk County; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and northern South America. In the Monroe County Keys, disjunct from Miami-Dade County to the pine rocklands of Big Pine Key and nearby islands.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: Pinelands, marshes and swamps.

Soils: Moist to seasonally wet, well-drained to poorly-drained sandy, limestone, or organic soils; also found on stumps and floating logs in swamps.

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.

Drought Tolerance: Moderate to low; requires moist to wet soils, but tolerant of short periods of drought once established.

Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade.

Flower Color: Pale pink to bright rose-pink, with yellow on the lateral sepals and lip.

Flower Characteristics: Showy, 1/2-3/4" wide.

Flowering Season: Winter-summer; peak in spring.

Fruit: Green capsule with dust-like seeds.

Wildlife and Ecology: In Florida, all plants are self-pollinating. In the West Indies, the flowers are pollinated by bees that do not occur in South Florida.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from division and seed.

Comments: It is listed as threatened by the state of Florida.

Copyright by: George D. Gann
In habitat, New Providence, Bahamas, 2012

Copyright by: George D. Gann
In habitat, New Providence, Bahamas, 2012

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Other data on Bletia purpurea available from:

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