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BEACH/DUNES and MARITIME FORESTS, what a nice sounding name for the very South-East coastal Florida area in USA. It is the name of my area’s native gardening zone.

I came across this term in my renewed search for fine edible flowering plants, as well as local edible wildflowers, and wild flower ornamentals.

Wild edibles, another interest I put on the back burner for much of my recent stint with South East Florida as a home base.

This interest, in knowing which edible wilds, and wild plants grow nearby, simmers no matter where I have travelled or lived. I have been known to comb local markets with people’s cooks, and spend time with translators and people’s mother’s.

I did this as a tiny girl: at 3 1/2 I’d be placed in such a way to sit and play, that I could go down some steps, out to the front yard, and observe the plants, trees and various tall pine-y shrubs. I’d break pieces of plants off, smell, and decide on what to bring back to mix up for my baby doll.

As an adult, I walked with Wild man Steve Brill in New York City. It was a sight at that time. It was not the hippy generation timing, more the Wall Street time.

Today, my interest, was pulled out and dusted off. I stopped in to see “Magic Mona,” at the Deerfield Beach, Florida, Green Market. She gave me a lead and suggested I seek an “Asclepias,” a plant that is being promoted to grow as a native or near native, and liked, because it attracts butterflies. I must have seen varieties of this plant all my life.

Asclepias, the Greek god of medicine or healing? Sounds good.

So many varieties of Asclepias. It seems I have some type growing bunched together, pruned as shrubs in my area. Are any of them considered native? And with all the spraying of chemicals, I will have to find some in more natural habitats, and or grow some of my own.

Now did she mean Asclepias Tuberosa? http://www.wildflower.org/gallery/result.php?id_image=21450

Or is Asclepias Incarnata a prairie and swamp plant that may have an adapted relative for my area? Incarnata is named for it’s flesh colored flowers.


This Incarnata has Edible Uses listed:  
“Unopened flower buds: Cooked. Tasting somewhat like peas. They can also be dried and stored for later use.
Young shoots: Cooked. An asparagus substitute. Tips of older shoots are cooked like spinach.
Young seed pods: Harvested when 3 – 4 cm long – cooked. A pea-like flavour, they are very appetizing. The flower clusters can be boiled down to make a sugary syrup.”

It Might be like a caper bud.

I Still have to find out which Asclepias does well in the Maritime Forest.

To live in a forest, a MARITIME FOREST, sounds adventurous, rather legal (maritime law), and beautiful.

This Tropical Maritime Forest, with both wild and manicured plants and citrus is part of what charmed me as a child when visiting my grandmother in Miami Beach, Florida. (This and seeing the Atlantic Ocean in such large expanses in our drives and stops along the coast.)

Florida Horticulture Hardiness Zones

In very nearby areas there are also the Florida Pine Flatwoods Zone, and the Pine Rocklands Zone … a good lot of information on what are considered to be native wildflowers and plants for all of these areas can be found at the following links

via Florida Association of Native Nurseries FANN.

via Florida Wildflower Hunt.

And fyi: wild, or cultivated wild edibles: the universal edibility test protocol on your own:


    • Test each part of the plant for edibility. Just because one part is safe to ingest does not mean that other sections of the plant are safe to ingest. Each portion needs to be tested separately to insure that you are dealing with an entirely edible wild plant.