General Landscape Uses:
Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also butterfly gardens along the coast.
Ecological Restoration Notes: A common element of beach dunes and coastal strand nearly throughout coastal South Florida.
Grown by enthusiasts.
Description: Small scrambling herb.
Dimensions: Typically 3-12 inches in height or higher, climbing over the ground or other vegetation and forming large patches.
Growth Rate: Moderate.
Monroe County Keys north along the coasts to Brevard (southern Merritt Island) and Manatee counties; West Indies (where possibly introduced in part), southern Mexico, Central America and South America.
Habitats: Coastal beaches, thickets, and hammock edges.
Soils: Moist, well-drained sandy soils, with or without humusy top layer.
Nutritional Requirements: Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.
Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance: Frontline; grows in direct salt wind but away from constant salt spray.
Drought Tolerance: High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade.
Flower Color: White.
Flower Characteristics: Inconspicuous.
Flowering Season: All year; peak spring-summer.
Fruit: Inconspicuous utricle. All year.
Wildlife and Ecology:Nectar plant for cassius blue (Leptotes cassius), great southern white (Ascia monuste), long-tailed skipper (Urbanus proteus), Miami blue (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri), Schaus’ swallowtail (Papilio aristodemus ponceanus) and other butterflies.
Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from cuttings.
References: Hammer 2004.
Comments: This is much more common in South Florida than seaside joyweed (A. maritima), which does not have stalked flowering clusters.
Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer
Copyright by: James Johnson, 2014 In habitat, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Monroe County, Florida
Copyright by: James Johnson, 2014 In habitat, Blazingstar Preserve, Palm Beach County, Florida
Other data on Alternanthera flavescens available from: