"Texas Wildflowers"
Tips on touring Texas during wildflower season

In East Texas' humid marshlands, carnivorous pitcher plants trap unwary insects. Far across the state, rare, red Mexican silenes seek the seclusion of cool canyons. On sun-swept Padre Island, ropy beach morning glories ramble across lonely dunes. Such is the story of Texas' 5,000 wild flower species -- products of the state's diverse environment. More gregarious types such as bluebonnets, buttercups and Indian paint brushes roam statewide, draping festive serapes over meadows and highway shoulders each spring.

Texas Bluebonnets
Texas Bluebonnets roam statewide over
meadows and highway shoulders each spring

Other seasons offer their own specialties. The sun-drenched western desert can blithely ignore the calendar. In almost any month, "spring" follows each rate welcome rain; thirst quenched, the yuccas, ocotillos and cacti erupt in a brief frenzy of blooms.

Throughout the year in the lower Rio Grande Valley, towering palms accent bougainvillea-draped boulevards. In winter, giant poinsettias decorate homes to the eaves for the holiday season.

HOW MANY WILDFLOWERS GROW IN TEXAS?

The eight major vegetation zones in Texas provide distinctly contrasting growing environments for plants and give rise to 5,000 different flowering plants. Not all of them are wildflowers. Most trees, shrubs, cacti and woody vines put forth flowers in spring but hardly qualify as wildflowers.


Yucca plant in Big Bend National Park
Photo Rights: Kay Griffith

We think of wildflowers as those hardy little ground-hugging plants that put their energy into producing large, showy blossoms to attract insect pollinators. Of these kinds of plants, there are 370 species or so blessing our prairies, fields and hills each spring.

These articles have each been published previously.
All rights to the stories are protected under the original copyright.

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