Native Florida Cassia: Winter Butterfly Bush

Fall in Florida feels like a second spring.   Looks like it too!  While most plants and trees are loosing their leaves, evergreen native cassia is just beginning to bloom.  By Christmas, walls of dense overhead shrubs will be completely covered with clusters of bright yellow flowers.  Sulphur butterflies choose these as the host for their caterpillars.  Also known as Winter Cassia or Butterfly Bush; it's a standard for the Florida Gardener.  The first cold snap will shatter the pseudo spring illusion.  But it wont last long.  After the winter blooms fade, notice the green pea shaped seed pods forming.  Let them hang there until the pods are completely brown and dried out all the way to the stem.  My last year's guerrilla seed harvest, off the side of the road, are just begging to bud.  It's a typical November day.  78 degrees, sulphur butterflies are laying eggs and we're raising their caterpillars in total denial.  Spring, it's right around the corner!

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