One of the wonderful things about hiking is the unique perspective. A hiker looks ahead, up, and down at the same time. It’s the downward perspective that we often ignore during our day-to-day goings about–looking ahead to the next appointment, the next intersection to cross. When hiking, there are so many surprises to see on the ground, a snake hurrying away, a bee on a wild flower, a blade of grass with…a splash of red. I’ve seen this native Florida plant often, but didn’t know what it was.
The Painted Leaf looks like a tall blade of grass or a weed. That’s until you spot the bright dabs of red towards the center of this native Florida wild flower. The ones I saw had three or four dabs of red, but there are photos online of plants with five or six of the splashes of red.
Here’s another (flowering) Painted Leaf alongside a different wild flower.
There are more than 2,000 species within this genus, growing over most of the United States, except for New England. The plants flower all year and can be an allergen.