Home' The River Weekly News : RWN 103015 Contents THE RIVER - OCTOBER 30, 2015
by Gerri Reaves
The common native wildflowers
pictured here are only three of the
hundreds of species in the aster, or
asteraceae, family, which includes sun-
flowers, dandelions, goldenrods, thistles,
coneflowers, zinnias and many others.
The word aster derives from the Greek
word for star, which aptly describes the
star- or daisy-like form of many asters: a
central disk, or head, of compact flowers
surrounded by ray flowers.
These three species bloom throughout
the year. They are low-maintenance and
excellent choices for a butterfly garden.
Their simple beauty will add a cheerful
note to any yard.
Climbing aster’s (Symphyotrichum
carolinianum) flowers measure about two
inches across and have yellow or orange
centers surrounded by slender petals of
pale pink, lavender or rose-purple.
A woody sprawling vine, it grows to
about 10 feet long and can be used as a
groundcover or climber.
It is one of the larval host plants for
the pearl crescent butterfly.
Give it a moist area and partial shade.
East coast dune sunflower (Helianthus
debilis) is a coastal species particularly
valuable for sand-dune stabilization, but
it also does well in a sunny well-drained
This sprawling multi-branched peren-
nial is pest-resistant, fast-growing, and
highly salt- and drought-tolerant. It readily
reseeds and forms a dense groundcover
up to two feet high.
The flowers of about three inches
across have a brown or purplish center
surrounded by yellow rays.
Besides attracting various butterflies,
it provides oily seeds to birds and other
Spanish needle’s (Bidens alba) yellow
center and white ray flowers resemble a
small version of the cultivated daisy.
One of the most common Florida wild-
flowers and an irrepressible volunteer, it
flourishes along roadsides, in open fields,
and in yards, excelling in beauty, self-
sufficiency and wildlife-friendliness.
It is the host plant for the dainty sul-
phur butterfly, and attracts several other
species, including ruddy daggerwings,
Julias and the great southern white.
The plant’s tiny twig-like slender seeds,
the “needles” or beggar’s ticks, attach
themselves to clothing or animal fur,
ensuring the flower’s spread and propa-
gation far and wide.
Plant Smart explores the diverse
flora of South Florida.
AMIKids To Host
AMIKids Southwest Florida is host-
ing a gulfside dinner to familiarize
guests with the programs and
services at AMIKids Southwest Florida.
The event will take place on Sunday,
November 8 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m . at
the Tarpon Lodge Restaurant, 13771
Waterfront Drive on Pine Island. Event
attendees will learn about the behavioral
and education programs that AMIKids
Southwest Florida offers to local stu-
dents while enjoying a beautiful sunset.
The event costs $75 per person,
which will include buffet dinner, wine,
beer and soft drinks. The attire for the
event is casual/nautical. Transportation
will be provided for those who wish; the
organization’s bus will leave at 4:30 p.m.
from Publix at Colonial Crossings, 4600
To register, go to https://donate.
florida-dinner, or for more information,
Native wildflowers (from left) climbing aster, east coast dune sunflower and Spanish needle are butterfly-attracting members of the
photos by Gerri Reaves
Children’s Musical At Broadway Palm
This fall Broadway Palm Children’s Theatre presents Fancy Nancy The
Musical, playing November 5, 6, 10, 13, 15* and 20. Fancy Nancy
The Musical is based on The New York Times bestselling series by Jane
O’Connor and is a musical that will have fans dressing up to join in on the fun!
This vibrant musical is based on the wildly popular children’s books about a little girl
who loves anything that glitters! Nancy and her friends are excited to be in their school
recital, until Nancy gets cast as a boring tree. She soon discovers that being fancy
comes in many forms and all it takes is a dash of imagination. Fancy Nancy The
Musical is full of catchy songs, colorful costumes and an upbeat story that the whole
family will enjoy.
Broadway Palm Children’s Theatre presents full-scale productions that are great for
all ages. All performances begin with a buffet at 10:30 a.m. and showtime is at 11:30
a.m . (except where indicated*); lunch is at noon and the show begins at 1 p.m. The
chef’s special buffet includes children’s favorites like pizza, chicken fingers, french fries,
pasta and more.
Put on your “fancy” shoes, grab your sparkly purse and bring your whole family to
Fancy Nancy The Musical, playing selected matinees now through November 20 at
Broadway Palm. Ticket prices for the buffet and the show are only $19 for all ages.
Group rates are available for parties of 20 or more. Tickets are now on sale and can
be reserved by calling 278-4422, by visiting www.BroadwayPalm.com or by stopping
by the box office at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.
The cast of Fancy Nancy performs a musical number
Fancy Nancy is at Broadway Palm through November 20
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