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Tuesday - March 01, 2016

From: Fort Worth, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Name of the yellow wildflowers that gave Amarillo, TX its name
Answered by: Nan Hampton


What is the name of the yellow wildflowers that gave Amarillo, Texas, its name?


Here is what The Handbook of Texas (from the Texas State Historical Society) says about the naming of Amarillo:

"The settlement was originally called Oneida but was by majority consent renamed Amarillo after the nearby lake and creek. These natural features had been named by New Mexican traders and pastores, probably for the yellow soil along the creek banks or the yellow wildflowers that were abundant during the spring and summer. Charles F. Rudolph, editor of the Tascosa Pioneer, blamed the FW&DC employees for ignoring the word's Spanish pronunciation; in 1888 he prophetically stated, "Never again will it be Ah-mah-ree-yoh." Most of the town's first houses were painted yellow in commemoration of the name change."

So, maybe it was named after wildflowers or maybe for the yellow soil that occurred along the creek banks.   If the city was named after wildflowers, both Potter and Randall County where Amarillo is located have numerous species of yellow flowers that grow along roadsides and in fields in the spring or summer. It isn't possible to identify any one species it could have been and, probably, it was a combination of species.  Here are some likely candidates, however, that have been identified in one or both of those counties:

Amblyolepis setigera (Huisache daisy)

Amphiachyris dracunculoides (Prairie broomweed)

Berlandiera lyrata (Chocolate daisy)

Bidens laevis (Smooth beggartick)

Coreopsis tinctoria (Plains coreopsis)

Engelmannia peristenia (Engelmann's daisy)

Grindelia squarrosa (Curlycup gumweed)

Gutierrezia sarothrae (Broom snakeweed)

Helianthus annuus (Common sunflower)

Helianthus petiolaris (Prairie sunflower)

Hymenopappus flavescens (Yellow plainsman)

Hymenopappus filifolius (Fineleaf hymenopappus)

Psilostrophe tagetina (Woolly paperflower)

Tetraneuris scaposa (Four-nerve daisy)

Tetraneuris acaulis (Stemless four-nerve daisy)

Thelesperma megapotamicum (Hopi tea greenthread)

Thelesperma filifolium (Stiff greenthread)

Zinnia grandiflora (Plains zinnia)



From the Image Gallery

Huisache daisy
Amblyolepis setigera

Prairie broomweed
Amphiachyris dracunculoides

Chocolate daisy
Berlandiera lyrata

Smooth beggartick
Bidens laevis

Engelmann's daisy
Engelmannia peristenia

Broom snakeweed
Gutierrezia sarothrae

Common sunflower
Helianthus annuus

Prairie sunflower
Helianthus petiolaris

Woolly paperflower
Psilostrophe tagetina

Four-nerve daisy
Tetraneuris scaposa

Stiff greenthread
Thelesperma filifolium

Plains zinnia
Zinnia grandiflora

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