The flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.
By LYNN ARTZ and DAVID RODDENBERRY
Eastern bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana) is a native perennial with lovely clusters of light-blue flowers in early spring. Its tubular flowers flare to a star-shape at the rim. The flowers attract long-tongued insects such as carpenter bees, butterflies, and hummingbird moths. They also attract hummingbirds. Deer and rabbits avoid this plant. Also called blue dogbane, it forms dense multi-stemmed clumps 1-3 feet tall and wide. Eastern bluestar thrives in full sun to part shade in moist, loamy soil. Once established, it is drought tolerant. In autumn, the narrow, willow-shaped leaves turn golden. Eastern bluestar is an excellent addition to a butterfly nectar garden. In the wild, it grows in moist, open woods in the Panhandle and Big Bend. Eastern bluestar is blooming now in the wildflower meadow at the south end of Sopchoppy Depot Park.