A warmer than usual February and a wet start to 2017 will likely mean Texas wildflowers blooming earlier in much of the state – and a bumper crop as well.
The University of Texas at Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center says because of this year’s weather conditions, wildflowers are expected to arrive sooner and stay longer than the usual.
“Hold onto your hat and fasten your seatbelt,” said Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture at the Wildflower Center. “Wildflower season is taking off faster than you expect.”
Warmer weather in January and February means many of the wildflowers are beginning to bloom early. During some years, that can actually put the plants in danger if a late freeze arrives, potentially killing the flowers. However, such a late freeze appears unlikely at this point based on current weather patterns.
Perennial favorites such as bluebonnets (Texas’ state flower) and Indian paintbrushes are expected to decorate the countryside; but, the Wildflower Center also forecasts a strong year for pink evening primrose, also known as buttercups. Other flowers which are expected to thrive this year, according to the Wildflower Center, are the vibrant yellow Carolina jessamine, golden groundsel, agarita and redbuds.
The Wildflower Center’s 2017 forecast quotes members of the Native Plant Society of Texas as saying a strong crop of wildflowers is developing in the Texas Gulf Coast area. In the northwestern part of the basin, expectations are also high in Lubbock, where wildflower season is typically later than in other areas of the state. The Central basin is also expected to enjoy great viewing opportunities.
More information about the 2017 wildflower forecast is available at http://www.wildflower.org/. A website where you can report Texas wildflower locations is at http://texas.wildflowersightings.org/.
The Texas Department of Transportation plays a key role in helping plant and nurture wildflowers throughout the state. More information on those efforts and about the wildflowers themselves is available at http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/division/maintenance/wildflower-program.html.
You can email us your photos of wildflowers in the Brazos River basin (along with your name and the location of the photo) at firstname.lastname@example.org.