Foraging preference of Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed Deer) at ornamental plantings was compared amongst 11 wildflower species native to north Florida and south Georgia. Deer exhibited strong preference for Coreopsis floridana (Florida Tickseed), C. gladiata (Coastalplain Tickseed), C. integrifolia (Fringeleaf Tickseed), and Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower). Browsing significantly reduced the height of Florida, Coastalplain, and Fringeleaf Tickseeds, and reduced the number of Florida and Fringeleaf Tickseed flowers. Browsing pressure remained high throughout the growing season; therefore, temporary exclosures are unlikely to offer a viable solution to damage caused by deer. Information on variation in deer preference between species and across seasons should help private landowners and public land managers make strategic decisions regarding which species to establish at residences, food plots, or roadside beautification projects.
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Vol. 10 • No. 4