Wildflowers of South Texas

South Texas literally explodes with color and life during wildflower season. Many of the flowers you will see featured here will be very familiar to you. Learn more about the native flora and see if you can spot them out and about in South Texas. View The Checklist

Nipple Cactusinfo_outline
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Cactaceae - Cactus Family
Mammillaria gummifera Engelm.

Common low growing cactus on various soils in South Texas, with pale pink or creamy petals and red fruit. The needles of the cactus family are actually modified leaves. This special leaf economizes water loss, allowing the cactus flourish in its naturally dry habitat.
Feb - April


Commelinaceae - Spiderwort Family
Tradescantia hirsutiflora Bush.

Low growing perennial with three petals, occurring in a variety of shades of blue, rose and purple.
Feb - May

Drummond's Phloxinfo_outline
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Polemoniaceae - Phlox Family
Phlox drummondii Hook.

Phlox is common Texas wildflower. Some native populations have red flowers. These red forms are often included in commercial wildflower seed mixtures, though pink is much more common in the wild. In South Texas, in the deep sands near Sarita, we have a subspecies called Phlox drummondii subsp. glabriflora with trailing or reclining stems instead of the more upright and erect stems of the typical species.
Feb - Jun

Indian Blanketinfo_outline
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Asteraceae - Sunflower Family
Gaillardia pulchella Foug.

An annual or short lived perennial that may flower for a long period of time. Some Indian Blankets may lack the ray florets.
Feb - Dec
Like all members of the Sunflower Family, the Flower is actually a collection of many tiny flowers or florets. What looks like petals are florets with three of the corolla lobes fused into a single large petal or ray. They are called RAY FLORETS . The florets in the center have five tiny corolla lobes and are called DISK FLORETS.

Globe Mallowinfo_outline
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Malvaceae - Mallow Family
Sphaeralcea lindheimeri Gray.

The leaves of this species have thick velvety hairs. It is a common plant in deep sands both inland and along the coast. Like its relative Hibiscus, the stamens of the flower are fused into tube surrounding the female parts of the flower.
Feb - May (Dec)

Meadow Pink, Texas Starinfo_outline
Meadow Pink, Texas Starclose

Gentianaceae - Gentian Family
Sabatia campestris Nutt.

Annual with deep rose-pink flowers in damp sandy soils. A smaller flowered species Sabatia arenicola Greenm. Saltmarsh Pink occurs on the islands and the coast.
Feb - Jun

Blue Curlsinfo_outline
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Hydrophyllaceae - Waterleaf Family
Phacelia patulaeflora Engelm. & Gray.

This small but attractive blue wildflower is found on sandy soils. As its common name suggests, the flower stalk uncurls as the flowers open.
Mar - Nov

Lantana, Calico Bushinfo_outline
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Verbenaceae - Verbena Family
Lantana horrida H.B.K.

This is the native Lantana, with a head of small flowers which open yellow and turn to orange and then red. The plant is a weak shrub and often is seen with its branches supported by other shrubbery. The foliage has a strong somewhat unpleasant odor when crushed or bruised.
Feb - Dec

Prickly Poppyinfo_outline
Prickly Poppyclose

Papaveraceae - Poppy Family
Argemone sanguinea Greene.

As the common name reflects this plants gray green foliage and stems are covered in prickles. While white is the most common, lavender and purple petal forms are also present in South Texas and may be found intermixed. A yellow flowered species Argemone mexicana L., which is native to the West Indies is also seen sometimes in South Texas. The yellow latex that oozes from cut or broken leaves and stems may irritate the skin of sensitive individuals (though the prickles probably would have gotten you already!)
Feb - Jun (Dec)