Like most national retailers, immediately following Halloween is Christmas. Nothing is different in sunny Florida and while we aren’t experiencing the cooler temperatures that Mother Nature provides to get us in the holiday spirit, she gave us something else to remind us that it’s almost winter. Florida snow. No, not the individual ice crystals that grow while suspended in the atmosphere. This is the weed variety.
Florida snow, or Florida pusley, is a white perennial weed-flower that blankets many Florida lawns in the “cool” season. It’s also known as Mexican clover even though it’s neither a clover or native to Mexico. Actually it’s from Brazil. In the U.S. this weed is only found in central and south Florida and is considered invasive by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.
The white flowers that give the pusley the snow like appearance produce seeds quickly causing it to spread from lawn to lawn in a matter of weeks. If you find yourself with “snow” in your yard and you wish to get rid of it beware because it's nearly impossible to mow. The mower tends to have the opposite effect as it can spread and scatter the seeds.
Pusley is more drought-resistant than grass and can survive sub-freezing temperatures. The weed is also resistant to most herbicides. These attributes, plus its ability to control soil erosion, do give Florida pusley a higher ranking on the environmentally friendly list though. The flowers also provide a good nectar source for pollinators.
If you’re channeling your inner Grinch and still insist on getting rid of it, the best way is to pull it by hand. While you’re doing so just remember there’s not many natural reminders of winter in Florida and appreciate this as being the primary one.