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Yellow joyweed
Alternanthera flavescens

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

General Landscape Uses: Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also butterfly gardens along the coast.

Ecological Restoration Notes: A common element of beach dunes and coastal strand nearly throughout coastal South Florida.

Availability: Grown by enthusiasts.

Description: Small scrambling herb.

Dimensions: Typically 3-12 inches in height or higher, climbing over the ground or other vegetation and forming large patches.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: Monroe County Keys north along the coasts to Brevard (southern Merritt Island) and Manatee counties; West Indies (where possibly introduced in part), southern Mexico, Central America and South America.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: Coastal beaches, thickets, and hammock edges.

Soils: Moist, well-drained sandy soils, with or without humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Frontline; grows in direct salt wind but away from constant salt spray.

Drought Tolerance: High; does not require any supplemental water once established.

Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade.

Flower Color: White.

Flower Characteristics: Inconspicuous.

Flowering Season: All year; peak spring-summer.

Fruit: Inconspicuous utricle. All year.

Wildlife and Ecology: Nectar plant for cassius blue (Leptotes cassius), great southern white (Ascia monuste), long-tailed skipper (Urbanus proteus), Miami blue (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri), Schaus’ swallowtail (Papilio aristodemus ponceanus) and other butterflies.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from cuttings.

Comments: This is much more common in South Florida than seaside joyweed (A. maritima), which does not have stalked flowering clusters.

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: James Johnson, 2014
In habitat, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park,
Monroe County, Florida

Copyright by: James Johnson, 2014
In habitat, Blazingstar Preserve, Palm Beach County, Florida

Other data on Alternanthera flavescens available from:

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