Florida Paintbrush

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Florida Paintbrush
Rising to the sky
Bright red flowers send color
Blazing toward love

Dorothy Rodwell

The Florida Paintbrush, Carpheporus corymbosus, is one of Florida’s brightest wildflowers. A short-lived perennial this member of the Aster family is found in the sunny sandy soils of almost all of Florida’s counties except the panhandle.

The corymbosus begins its growth from an underground root like stem called a rhizome. A single erect and stout herbaceous stem stands in the middle of a ground hugging basal rosette of spatulate (spoon shaped) leaves. The herbaceous stem covered with ascending ovate leaves range 2.5 to 4 feet in height.

A cluster of branching flower heads is found at the top of the stem. This is the plant’s inflorescence or flower arrangement. This inflorescence is called a corymb or a flattop. Flower stalks grow in an upward arch one at a time from the stem until all the flower heads are arranged in a flat top. Each flower head has a bundle of bright red Aster disc florets. This species does not have usual Aster sunflower shape with ray and disc florets.

The specimen in the picture is a young corymbosus growing in a large plant population in the Koreshan State Park.