I do like hunting wildflowers in the Fisheating Creek Park in Glades County. Fisheating Creek is a cyrpress swamp that is loaded with ferns and other acquatic plants. At this time of year swamp waters have receded making walking on dirt trails a lot easier. It was on one particularly muddy trail that I found several specimens of the Dotted Smartweed, Polygonum punctatum. A perennial herb that grows from a rhizome buried in rich soil. A single erect stem with swollen nodes grows to maximum height of about 3 feet. Lance shaped dark green leafs to 6 inch in length are arranged in an alternate order along the stem.
At the tip of the stem is an inflorescence 1 to 11/2 in length. The inflorescence is a cluster of tiny white flowers about 1/16th inch in diameter. This particular species is a bit unusual because its flowers have no petals. The flower is simply an open bud with five pointed petal like sepals. At the center of the bloom are yellow colored sex organs. There are six to eight male stamens. It is very difficult to view these flowers without a hand lens. In the picture there are several round red and white buds that have not yet bloomed. Actual blooms exhibit pointed tips that welcome pollinators.
Smartweed is found in every county in Florida where is resides in marshes, swales, river banks and swamps. Smartweed is native to Florida.