Central Texas Wildflower Guide

A field of Firewheels and other Texas wildflowers blooms in spring 2019. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
A field of Firewheels and other Texas wildflowers blooms in spring 2019. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

A field of Firewheels and other Texas wildflowers blooms in spring 2019. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

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GOLDENEYE PHLOX Visual: small purple or pink flower with five petals and a hollow, white-to-yellow center Fun fact: phlox is pronounced “flocks” Time active: Feb.-May (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
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GOLDEN GROUNDSEL Visual: small flowers with spread- out, yellow petals and an orange pollen disc at the center Fun fact: an evergreen plant that blooms each spring Time active: Feb.-June (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
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TEXAS BLUEBONNETS Visual: a group of purple/blue and white petals at the top of a thin stem Fun fact: the official state flower of Texas Time active: March-May (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
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INDIAN PAINTBRUSH Visual: fanned top with orange/ red leaves under small white flowers Fun fact: varieties can vary in color including shades of yellow Time active: March-May (Courtesy Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center)
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TEXAS YELLOWSTAR Visual: a small, star-shaped flower with yellow, pointed petals Fun fact: flower stars can have five, six or three petals Time active: March-May (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
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ANTELOPE HORNS MILKWEED Visual: cluster of small green, white and purple flowers atop a stem Fun fact: Milkweed is the food source for Monarch butterfly caterpillars Time active: March-Oct. (Courtesy Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center)
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HORSEMINT Visual: white, pink or purple flowers in bunches atop the stem Fun fact: can stay in bloom through the summer if adequate rain is present Time active: April-June (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
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PLAINS COREOPSIS Visual: round flower head with yellow petals and a red ring at the center Fun fact: can be found across much of the United States Time active: April-June (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
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COMMON SUNFLOWERS Visual: large, round yellow flowers with a dark brown seeded center atop a tall stem Fun fact: seeds are edible and can be used to make oils Time active: July-October (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
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MEXICAN PLUM Visual: a tree with clusters of white flowers and oval-shaped leaves Fun fact: produces dark-purple fruit that ripen in the summer Time active: Feb.-April Mexican Plum (Courtesy Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center)
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TEXAS REDBUD Visual: a 15- to 20-foot-tall tree with small pink flowers Fun fact: rounder, more glossy leaves than other redbud species Time active: March-May (Courtesy Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center)
Each year beginning in late February and early March in Central Texas, a variety of native wildflowers begin to bloom with thousands of species active across the state. Wildflowers can be found in open fields, along local roads and highways, and at local parks.

While wildflowers are present every spring, the amount of blooms and length that they stay vibrant can vary each year depending on weather. According to Andrea DeLong-Amaya, the director of horticulture at South Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, spring flower blooms typically last into May but can sustain through June. A colder winter can push back blooming, while spring rain can help extend the season into the summer.

DeLong-Amaya said that most wildflowers that pop up in the spring begin to grow in the fall. Some fall and winter rain, combined with days of good sunshine, can lead to a full spring display of flowers. Those interested in spreading wildflower seeds on their properties should seed in the early fall for a spring bloom, she said. Other varieties also bloom in late summer and the fall, which could be seeded in the spring.

“It’s always nice to promote native flowers, because it helps promote habitat and food for native species, and they are still beautiful to look at,” DeLong-Amaya said.

Wildflowers benefit native pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, birds and beetles. They can also provide shelter for animals and insects and are a source of food for some native animals, she said.


Wildflowers can also grow in areas that have been disturbed—impacted by wildfire or prescribed burns, drought, over-grazing or excavation.

“Wildflowers will take advantage of disturbed sites,” DeLong-Amaya said. “If there is soil exposed, fast-growing plants like weeds and wildflowers will come in.”

Native flowering trees, such as redbuds, Mexican plums and laurels, also show spring colors in Central Texas, she said.

CENTRAL TEXAS WILDFLOWERS

The following wildflowers can be found across Central Texas each spring and into the summer. This list is not comprehensive.

GOLDENEYE PHLOX

Visual: small purple or pink flower with five petals and a hollow, white-to-yellow center

Fun fact: phlox is pronounced “flocks”

Time active: Feb.-May

GOLDEN GROUNDSEL

Visual: small flowers with spread- out, yellow petals and an orange pollen disc at the center

Fun fact: an evergreen plant that blooms each spring

Time active: Feb.-June

PINK EVENING PRIMROSE

Visual: a light pink or white flower with a yellow center and four distinct petals

Time active: February-June

Fun fact: evening primroses typically open flowers in the evenings

TEXAS BLUEBONNETS

Visual: a group of purple/blue and white petals at the top of a thin stem

Fun fact: the official state flower of Texas

Time active: March-May

INDIAN PAINTBRUSH

Visual: fanned top with orange/ red leaves under small white flowers

Fun fact: varieties can vary in color including shades of yellow

Time active: March-May

TEXAS YELLOWSTAR

Visual: a small, star-shaped flower with yellow, pointed petals

Fun fact: flower stars can have five, six or three petals

Time active: March-May

ANTELOPE HORNS MILKWEED

Visual: cluster of small green, white and purple flowers atop a stem

Fun fact: Milkweed is the food source for Monarch butterfly caterpillars

Time active: March-Oct.

HORSEMINT

Visual: white, pink or purple flowers in bunches atop the stem

Fun fact: can stay in bloom through the summer if adequate rain is present

Time active: April-June

PLAINS COREOPSIS

Visual: round flower head with yellow petals and a red ring at the center

Fun fact: can be found across much of the United States

Time active: April-June

FIREWHEEL

Visual: round flower with yellow-tipped red petals

Fun fact: also known as Indian Blankets

Time active: April-June

COMMON SUNFLOWERS

Visual: large, round yellow flowers with a dark brown seeded center atop a tall stem

Fun fact: seeds are edible and can be used to make oils

Time active: July-October

FLOWERING TREES

A number of native trees, including the Mexican plum and Texas redbud, bloom during the spring in Central Texas. Trees that go bare in the fall and winter produce flowers in early spring, which are replaced by leaves later in the season. Flowers can attract pollinators, while nectar and fruits produced can be a food source for native animals.

MEXICAN PLUM

Visual: a tree with clusters of white flowers and oval-shaped leaves

Fun fact: produces dark-purple fruit that ripen in the summer

Time active: Feb.-April

TEXAS REDBUD

Visual: a 15- to 20-foot-tall tree with small pink flowers

Fun fact: rounder, more glossy leaves than other redbud species

Time active: March-May
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Nicholas Cicale



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