Flyr’s Nemesis



Botanical Name:  Brickellia cordifolia

Common Name:  Flyr’s Nemesis, Heart-Leaf Brickellbush, Brickellia 

Description:  This is an absolutely beautiful, pink-flowering, Florida native perennial that you need in your garden.

It grows in sun or part sun areas of your garden. Likes moist, sandy soils. Its native habitat is woodland areas. It blooms pompom-like flowers late summer into fall. Deadheading will increase the bloom period. It quickly grows 3-4′ tall. Is in the aster family, so it doesn’t have any ray flowers, only disc type. The flowers grow in small clusters at the end of each stem. They have extremely long styles, giving each flower head a wispy, spidery appearance. They range in color from almost white to pinkish purple, and are very attractive to butterflies, bees, and flies. Yes, flies are pollinators too.

Perennial plant with slightly ribbed, softly hairy stems, 1.6 – 5 feet (50 – 150 cm) tall, often fallen over during flowering. Leaves are 2 – 4 inches (5 – 10 cm) long, with toothed margins, pointed tips, and rounded or squared-off bases; opposite at midstem, sometimes alternate near the top of the stem; lower surfaces of leaves slightly hairy and dotted with glands. Involucral bracts surrounding the base of the flower head are narrow and pointed; the outermost bracts are green and spreading, the innermost bracts pinkish, finely grooved, and not spreading. Flower heads are up to 0.8 inch (2 cm) across, with 35 – 45  dark pink disc flowers; there are no ray flowers; long, pink style branches give the heads a bristly or mop-head look. Fruits are about 0.2 inch (5 mm) long, dry, seed-like, surrounded by barbed, purplish bristles.

Despite the fact that Brickellia is easy to grow and propagate, there is very little of it around. There are some small, surviving populations in Wakulla, Jefferson, and Alachua Counties. It is on our state endangered list, and listed globally as a G2/G3 species (imperiled globally because of rarity or very vulnerable to extinction throughout its range because of other factors). So, please, if you see it in the wild, don’t mess with it.

Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water. Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray.

This plant in 1-gallon containers is 8-15″ tall.

Plant Lore:  Its Latin species name comes from the heart-shaped leaves. It’s commonly called Flyr’s nemesis for Lowell David Flyr, a doctoral student at Texas A&M University who studied it. The reasons why the plant is named for him, however, are shrouded in rumor.

Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 9


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