Spring is upon us and that means the start of Texas’ amazing spring wildflower season. Late winter annuals and perennials lead the 2021 flora parade along Texas highways and state lands within our diverse ecoregions and vernal landscapes.
Texas bluebonnets typically peak at the end of March through mid-April. Bluebonnets often start blooming near Interstate 10 between San Antonio and Houston and then farther north toward the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The native range of Texas bluebonnets is primarily the Hill Country and Blackland Prairie Ecoregions, although Texans have seeded these flowers well beyond.
“Recent Texas flora Facebook posts, and photos from native plant enthusiasts, that I received during the winter storm included blooming bluebonnets covered in ice in central Texas,” said Jason Singhurst, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) botanist. “Believe it or not though, most native perennial or biennial plants such as bluebonnets fared just fine under the insulated snow and ice. If we can get some steady rain in the coming weeks and temperatures stay in mid-80’s or below through April, it should be a great Texas bluebonnet spring.”
During the early spring, Texans everywhere can expect to see a flourish of trout lilies, butter cups, many mustards, Dakota vervain, four-nerve daisy, spring beauty, violets, Texas rainbow cactus, fishhook barrel cactus, Texas mountain laurel flowers, among many others.
Singhurst says that he anticipates that this spring will allow for a very promising wildflower season in the Big Bend and far west Texas region. Previous years have had extremely dry winters but this season will likely be more colorful due to increased wet weather over this winter. In central Texas, Singhurst anticipates that residents will see many vegetative bluebonnets, Engelmann’s daisy, Blackfoot daisy, Drummond’s skullcap, Lindheimer’s paintbrush, Missouri primrose, prairie fleabane, and many others.
Texans who set out to view wildflowers this spring can log the flora they see on iNaturalist and contribute to biologists knowledge of the state’s wildflowers. The platform also allows other plant enthusiasts to assist one another in identification of species throughout the state.