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Wildflowers spring up across Lone Star State
While cooler than usual weather may delay the wildflower season in some parts of Texas, the good news is that many areas should have great blooms, and a few already show the first stirrings of spring.
“All signs point to a good wildflower season,” said Damon Waitt, senior botanist at the University of Texas at Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. “We’ve had good fall precipitation and good winter precipitation in many parts of the state--not just rain, but sleet and snow as well.”
Fall and winter moisture are important as many popular wildflowers--including Texas bluebonnets, Indian blanket, and Texas star--get a jumpstart on their spring growth by germinating during the winter and establishing themselves as rosettes. These clusters of leaves spread low across the ground to retain heat in the winter before the plants grow rapidly once temperatures climb.
But already along S.H. 123 south of Seguin, the Dugger Cemetery has a blanket of Drummond phlox, Texas groundsel, and other wildflowers. And along I-37 north of Corpus Christi, some large patches of emerging Texas bluebonnets have been sighted, as well as pink evening primrose.
At Houston Audubon’s Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary, the leaves of a number of wildflowers including rosinweed, Texas coneflower, black-eyed Susan, rattlesnake master, and blue-eyed grass are up, but not many have flowered yet. The exceptions are some violets and Carolina jessamine.
Cold weather in North Texas has slowed the onset of this year’s season, but there have been sightings of spring beauties at the new Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park in Mansfield and elbow bush at Cedar Ridge Preserve in Dallas.
Along the River Road between Presidio and Lajitas and elsewhere in Presidio and southern Brewster counties, Big Bend bluebonnet and Torrey yucca are among the wildflowers spotted in early bloom.
At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Mexican plum, agarita, Carolina jessamine, golden groundsel, and elbow bush are just a few of the plants currently in bloom. As the wildflower season progresses, the center will offer visitors abundant displays of many varieties--including bluebonnets.
The center will again offer visitors a safe place to take photos with family and friends in front of the iconic bluebonnets.
Test your skill at identifying Texas’ wildflowers, with the Wildflower Quiz: http://www.wildflower.org/collections/quiz.php. For bloom updates, visit http://www.wildflowerhaven.com, http://www.wildflowersightings.org and http://www.texasbluebonnetsightings.com. The Texas Department of Transportation will start providing sightings sometime in March at 1-800-452-9292.
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