Reports from around the state label this spring’s wildflower display as the most impressive in years. Some even venture to call it a Texas-style super bloom.
Joe Marcus, a native plant expert at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, says Texas has more than 2,700 species of showy wildflowers; add in non-showy herbs, grasses, and woody plants and the number of flowering taxa tops 4,000. That provides a lot of bloom potential.
Spring shows require adequate autumn rain to germinate seeds, especially for annuals such as bluebonnets, says Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture at the Wildflower Center. Just the right amount of rain through winter ensures the plants put out roots and stand ready to bloom in spring. Continued, well-spaced spring showers generate greater volume of flowers. Temperatures influence timing. This year, mild weather kicked off wildflower season early in much of Texas, starting with spectacular Big Bend bluebonnets in West Texas. While those have passed their peak, photo-worthy patches still linger.
Central Texas conditions have definitely surpassed the typical year. “Is it the best in 10 years? Maybe,” DeLong-Amaya says. “Indian paintbrush look particularly spectacular, with larger patches than usual.” Other blooms abundant along roadsides and in fields include bluebonnets, coreopsis, baby blue eyes, and prairie verbena.
South Texas blooms also impress, DeLong-Amaya says, especially the Indian paintbrush around Poteet and prickly poppies farther south. Dawn Stover with the Stephen F. Austin State University SFA Gardens reports better than average Sandylands bluebonnets and Drummond phlox around Nacogdoches. North Texas flowers look good as well, according to Minnette Marr, Wildflower Center director of conservation.
Texas state parks offer great places to enjoy the bounty of blooms away from traffic and concerns about property lines. Those early spring rains brought dazzling displays to many parks. Jason Singhurst, Texas Parks & Wildlife botanist, expects the show to continue to increase in concentration through April and into May.
For example, Big Bend Ranch State Park has impressive patches of Big Bend bluebonnets, desert marigold, and bicolor fanmustard. Singhurst called Goose Island State Park’s Coastal Bend wildflower show “astonishing,” with sundial bluebonnets, sea-oxeye daisy, white prickly poppy, and many others. Look for wildflower sightings in state parks and wildlife management areas on the TPWD Flickr page and its social media accounts.
Whether you call this wildflower season dazzling, spectacular, astonishing or even super, just be sure to get out and enjoy it.