Botanical Name: Amsonia ciliata
Common Name: Fringed Bluestar, Slimpod, Blue Dogbane
Description: Fringed bluestar is a beautiful perennial that occurs naturally in pine flatwoods, sandhills, and scrub throughout west Central Florida and North Florida. It blooms in spring, attracting a variety of pollinators, especially butterflies. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are attracted to the nectar. Despite being in the same family as milkweed, the plant is not a known larval host for Monarchs or other butterflies that use milkweed as a host plant.
Its flowers are whitish-blue and star-shaped with a slender floral tube that opens into five petal-like lobes. Flowers are born in loose terminal panicles. Leaves are shiny, linear (almost pine- or grass-like), sessile and alternately arranged. They are bright green but turn orange or yellow in the fall. Stems emerge from a thick underground tuber. When broken, the stems release a milky sap. Both new leaves and stems are covered in tiny hairs. Seeds are born in narrow, erect follicles that dry and split open as the fruit matures. Follicles generally appear in pairs. If it gets too floppy in the summer, give it a prune by about half. That’ll help it to stay upright and bushy.
Likes moist to dry well-drained, sandy loam, or calcareous soils in a sun, part sun, or part shade area of your garden. Quickly grows 2-3′ tall and wide. Is drought tolerant once established, but looks best with supplemental water during extended drought times. Fringed bluestar’s delicate flowers, interesting foliage, and fall color make it a nice addition to wildflower gardens in dry, sunny landscapes. Once established, it requires little maintenance. The plant is deciduous and will die back in the winter.
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 5-15″ tall.
Plant Lore: The genus Amsonia is an homage to English physician John Amson, a friend of British botanist John Clayton. The species epithet ciliata is from the Latin cilium or “eyelash,” and refers to the cilia or tiny hairs found on young leaves and stems.
Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 9