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Sunday - April 27, 2008

From: Ennis, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Good website for identifying wildflowers
Answered by: Barbara Medford


What is a good website to identify wildflowers? I have done Google searches and none of the websites seem to help. Where should I go?


With all due modesty, you're on a good website for identifying wildflowers now. Want to identify something you see blooming in the fields right now? Begin by going to our Native Plant Database. Go down to Combination Search, indicate Texas as the state, herb (flowering plant) as habit, annual (try that first, many wildflowers are annuals) as duration, full sun (if that's where you saw the plant), and dry soil. Then go down a little farther on the page to "Bloom Time." If the flower you saw was pink, check pink and if it's blooming now, click on April. We were looking for Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies), which has really bloomed profusely recently. Unfortunately, we didn't get it the first go-round, so we tried perennial and moist soil, other selections the same, which got a list of 12 possibilities, with pictures. We clicked on the Latin name and got a description and larger picture of the flower. If you don't know if the plant is perennial or annual, if the soil is dry or moist, you can leave those points unchecked. Looking for the same flower, we simply checked herb, left durations at "all", and the color and month we saw it in bloom. That gave us a list of 103 plants to look at, but Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies) was there. This might sound a little unwieldy at first, but after you learn to use it, you can usually identify wildflowers you have seen in the fields pretty quickly.

Now, having tooted our own horn, let us give you another couple websites that can also help. The first one, from Lone Star Internet, has pictures of Texas wildflowers. They are listed in columns under a flower of the color you are looking for; Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies) was under a red flower, but they didn't have a pink column.The next site you might like to look at is Texas Wildflowers, in which you click on the month in which the flowers started blooming to get pictures. It has several other links in it you can try. And, if you're tired of lugging your computer out into the fields, let us recommend a book, Wildflowers of Texas by Geyata Ajilvsgi, the 2003 Revised Edition. This is sorted by color, with the colors white, yellow, red (what do they have against pink?) and blue visible on the upper edges of the book. Click on the title in the Bibliography section at the bottom of this page, and you will get more information. You can carry this in your car and use it for quick field identification, and then go home and search, either in the Native Plant Database or on Google, for more information and pictures of the plant.



Castilleja indivisa

Calylophus berlandieri

Conoclinium greggii

Callirhoe involucrata



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Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.

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