Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - November 17, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Flowers found blooming in February in Austin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

For people visiting from other states, which flowers usually bloom in February in Austin?

ANSWER:

First of all, we can't tell you for sure what native plants will be blooming in February, but we can tell ones that COULD be blooming.  The severity of the winter and the amount of rainfall received will influence when and how prolifically they will bloom.  That said, the most spectacular native plant blossoms you might see in Austin in February will be on three shrubs/trees:

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud)

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum)

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)

All three usually begin blooming in late February.

Forestiera pubescens (Spring herald or elbow bush) is one of the earliest bloomers (thus, the name of Spring herald) but its blossoms are rather small and not particularly showy.

 Mahonia trifoliolata (Agarita) is another shrub that often begins blooming in February.  Again, its blossoms aren't large and showy, but they are pleasantly fragrant.

Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo) has been known to bloom any month of the year a week to ten days after a substantial rainfall, so it could be blooming in February.

The vine, Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine), often blooms in February.

There are a number of smaller, native, herbaceous plants that we call wildflowers that may bloom in February—again, depending on the weather conditions.  Since they are small and don't bloom in large colonies, they don't make a big show—certainly not like the show the bluebonnets can put on in late March and early April.  Here are some of the wildflowers you may be able to see blooming in February:

Anemone berlandieri (Tenpetal thimbleweed)

Coreopsis tinctoria var. tinctoria (Golden tickseed)

Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose)

Packera obovata (Golden groundsel)

Pyrrhopappus pauciflorus (Texas dandelion)

Tetraneuris scaposa var. scaposa (Four-nerve daisy)

Thelesperma filifolium var. filifolium (Stiff greenthread)

Tradescantia edwardsiana (Plateau spiderwort)

Viola missouriensis (Missouri violet)

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Prairie verbena)

Nothoscordum bivalve (Crow poison)

Erodium texanum (Fillaree)

Here are photos from our Image Gallery of some of the plants above:


Cercis canadensis var. texensis


Prunus mexicana


Sophora secundiflora


Forestiera pubescens


Mahonia trifoliolata


Leucophyllum frutescens


Gelsemium sempervirens


Anemone berlandieri


Oenothera speciosa


Thelesperma filifolium var. filifolium


Pyrrhopappus pauciflorus


Erodium texanum

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

How to grow bluebonnets in Atlanta TX
March 04, 2011 - How can I grow bluebonnets in Atlanta Texas?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Isocoma pluriflora
January 07, 2005 - I would like to know when isocoma pluriflora (rayless goldenrod) blooms in the Santa Fe, N.M. area. I'd also like to know its height. Other info will also be appreciated. ...
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
January 09, 2007 - I have had an area in my yard where I have established bluebonnets. Since we had such a dismal showing in the spring of 2006 I was looking forward to a great show for 2007. Lo and behold I had about...
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep clay bank in Summerfield OH
April 07, 2012 - Hello, We have a steep 15-20 foot high bank behind our house here in southern Ohio. Probably 50 ft.long. What could we plant for beauty and erosion control. It is nasty clay soil with lots of shale an...
view the full question and answer

Deer and Drought Resistant Natives for San Marcus, Texas
February 15, 2012 - Hi there, Do you have a list of plants and ground covers (deer/drought resistant) for the San Marcos area? Much as I love grass, it's impossible with this drought. I'd love to have lots of flowers ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.