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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - November 19, 2004

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Smarty Plants on earliest blooming wildflowers
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

For Spring, what are the earliest blooming wild flowers and when do they typically bloom? I know it's terribly early to be predicting these things, but any idea if the 2005 Bluebonnet crop in Austin will be coming earlier rather than later? (I'm wanting to do a bluebonnet bridal portrait). Thanks!!

ANSWER:

You can find lists of early blooming wildflowers by going to the Wildflower Center web page and selecting "Explore Plants" from the side bar. Next, select "Native Plants Database". On this page you will have the option of doing an "Advanced Search" where you can search using different criteria such as bloom time, bloom color, growth form, distribution and more.

Here are a few examples of wildflowers in Texas that bloom as early as February: winecups (Callirhoe involucrata), red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis, golden thread (Thelesperma filifolium), scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea), rose vervain (Glandularia canadensis), wind-flower (Anemone berlandieri).

Generally, the peak of the bluebonnet flowering is early to mid April. The timing and abundance of the bluebonnet bloom is highly dependent on the weather with the winter and spring temperatures and rainfall as major factors. Certainly this autumn has given us plenty of rainfall and mild temperatures, but who can predict what the winter and spring will bring!
 

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