Texas is home to more 5,000 species of wildflowers. Thanks to Mother Nature and The Texas Department of Transportation these flowers are flourishing. In 1932, the department hired Jac Gubbels, a landscape architect, to maintain, preserve and encourage wildflowers and other native plants along rights of way. For over 60 years, the DOT rules have delayed all mowing, unless essential for safety, until spring and early summer wildflower seasons are over. This state department also buys and sows about 30,000 pounds of wildflower seed each year. We all know and love the iconic Bluebonnet, the state flower that inspires annual pilgrimages, but here are 10 more Texas wildflowers that deserve our attention.
Blooms early spring throughout the state. Several species, whose colors vary from scarlet to orange, cream, yellow, and occasionally purple. The bright tips of the petal-like bracts look like they’ve been dipped in paint. The genus name honors Spanish botanist Domingo Castillejo (1744-1793).
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Blooms April to June across much of the state. When viewed in a mass, the brilliant combination of red, orange, and yellow resembles brightly woven fabric. Also called firewheel.
Blooms early spring. Occurs most frequently in spectacular masses of color among sandy post-oak woods and along roadsides in south Central Texas. Most common color is red, but shades of pink, blue, and purple are also seen.
Blooms most profusely in spring, but may flower at other times of the year depending on rainfall. Found throughout the state, verbena is among the state’s most abundant wildflowers.
Pink evening primrose
Blooms April to June across much of the state. Opens at dusk in northern portions of Texas; flowers wither each day, replaced by new blossoms each evening. Elsewhere in the state, blooms stay open all day. Also known as buttercup, this flower is drought-tolerant.
Blooms June to September in moist areas in fields and prairies, and in drainage areas, except in Big Bend Country. Please don’t pick them! Bluebells have virtually disappeared in many locations because of indiscriminate picking. One of the state’s loveliest flowers; an entire field is stunning. Flowers range from bluish-purple to white, or white with tinges of yellow or purple.
Blooms early spring into summer, in most parts of the state, except the west. Grows in sandy soils in open woods and scrublands. Mostly single flowers, on plants about six to eight inches high. A tall branched variety bears many blossoms on one plant.
Tall erect annual or biennial that blooms May through August. Thrives in sandy or rocky pastures, prairies, plains, and meadows throughout Texas. Also called lemon-mint, horsemint, and wild bergamot.
Blooms August to December on well-drained soils in prairies, plains, limestone glades, hillsides, and on the edges and open areas of woodlands. Also called button snakeroot because roots and underground stems have been used to treat rattlesnake bites. Butterflies and hummingbirds are frequent visitors, and goldfinches and other songbirds eat the seeds.
Blooms early spring through fall, thriving on calcareous soils of West and Central Texas. Low-growing perennial; blooms form a dense, compact mound. Other common Texas daisies are Tahoka daisy, chocolate daisy, and sleepy daisy.
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Do your part to nourish and sustain the Texas wildflowers. Look - don't touch! don't pick them, and when taking pictures, be careful not to step on and crush the plants.