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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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Monday - March 12, 2012

From: Grand Prairie, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Most common wildflower in Texas from Grand Prairie TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What is the most common wildflower in the state of Texas? My kiddos stumped me on this one?

ANSWER:

Let's talk semantics. If you refer to a Texas wildflower as "common," you will get some flak from native Texans. We regard all of our wildflowers as very uncommon. If you want a by-numbers count of the most frequently appearing wildflower in Texas, we will look for the one that appears in the most counties in Texas. If you want the most popular one, that's pretty easy. Everyone loves Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet),  but there are others that are close behind in popularity. We suggest you first look at this Texas Highways article Bouquet for the Years: 30 Wildflowers. Then, follow the link on that page to the full article in the April 2004 issue, 30 WildFlowers.

Because we don't have any volunteers willing to go out in the field and count wildflowers, which are not all blooming yet, nor do they all bloom at the same time, we are going to pick a dozen (which happen to be personal favorites) of the wildflowers from the above article, give you links to each plant's webpage on our website, and then look (at the bottom of that page) at the USDA Plant Profile on that site. The link "USDA" on each plant will take you to a map of Texas counties, the green counties being those where that plant grows naturally. Perhaps your "kiddos" will want to make their own decisions on which are the most common Texas wildflowers. Texas is a huge state with many different ecoregions. You will note that some flowers would be the most common in one part of the state and not even appear in another.

Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) USDA

Castilleja indivisa (Entireleaf indian paintbrush)  USDA

Gaillardia pulchella (Firewheel)  USDA

Phlox drummondii (Annual phlox)  USDA

Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose) USDA

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan)  USDA

Ratibida columnifera (Mexican hat)  USDA

Callirhoe involucrata (Winecup)  USDA

Melampodium leucanthum (Blackfoot daisy)  USDA

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp sunflower)  USDA

Eryngium leavenworthii (Leavenworth's eryngo)  USDA

Glandularia bipinnatifida (Purple prairie verbena)  USDA

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas indian paintbrush
Castilleja indivisa

Indian blanket
Gaillardia pulchella

Annual phlox
Phlox drummondii

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Mexican hat
Ratibida columnifera

Winecup
Callirhoe involucrata

Blackfoot daisy
Melampodium leucanthum

Common sunflower
Helianthus annuus

Leavenworth's eryngo
Eryngium leavenworthii

Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida

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