TX Wildflowers

 "Ugliness is so grim. A little beauty, something that is lovely, I think, can help create harmony which will lessen tensions." - Lady Bird Johnson

 

Two weeks ago I visited the 6th Floor Museum in Dallas and saw and learned about the drama surrounding the death of President Kennedy. I immediately wanted to see the movie Jackie, about the First Lady and how she handled the whole event. The movie seems to be pretty historically accurate and though it made me think a lot about Jacqueline Kennedy, it also made me think about how well the brand new President Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, handled the whole situation. I could never be a First Lady; I couldn't handle it with the grace and poise that these two ladies seemed to have exuded. I'm sure that there are plenty of people who were alive during this period who may think otherwise and have plenty of opinions about the political ideology of their husbands during that time. But all I know is that 4 years is a very long time to have that many eyes watching your every move.

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I was certainly glad that no one was watching me as I rolled around in the grass like an idiot trying to get the perfect picture of every 8-inch flowering beauty I could find in my parents' front pasture. (Actually my dad did see a few minutes of it and had a good laugh.) But y'all, it's been SIX YEARS since I last saw Texas wildflowers and I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to document as many as possible!

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 It is impossible to understand the grandness that is Texas unless you have lived in it or at least driven through it. I'm from central Texas, about an hour north of Austin and 30-45 minutes south of Waco. It takes 8 hours to get to El Paso, 8 hours to get to Amarillo, 8 hours to get to South Padre, and 3 hours to get to Tyler. (We measure distance using time in Texas because no one actually cares how many miles it is to El Paso, just how long it will be until the drive is over.) All of that is to say, this is by no means an exhaustive list of wildflowers in Texas. Heck it isn't even the tip of the iceberg. Each of the beautifies I have listed and photographed here, were photographed in a space the size of my living room, in the field along my parents driveway. Gosh it's not even all of the different kinds that were there, just my favorites and the ones I could get before I ran out of film. 

Bluebonnet  -AKA Texas Lupine, Buffalo Clover, Wolf Flower  -Scientific Name:  Lupinus Texensis

Bluebonnet

-AKA Texas Lupine, Buffalo Clover, Wolf Flower

-Scientific Name:  Lupinus Texensis

Bluebonnets, being the Texas state flower, are an iconic representation of the state itself. I have no idea if this is true but I like to imagine that if someone from a different state, sees an image of a bluebonnet, they immediately associate it with Texas. As far as I know they've done fine growing on their own over the years but in researching this piece, I learned that apparently they have super hearty seed pods that can take longer to germinate. Okay I'm done sounding smart. Point is:  they're gorgeous and distinctive and always make me think of home.

 

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Indian Paintbrush  -AKA Painted Cup  -Scientific Name:  Castilleja Linariaefolia  -Wyoming State Flower

Indian Paintbrush

-AKA Painted Cup

-Scientific Name:  Castilleja Linariaefolia

-Wyoming State Flower

I feel like I can't admit that Indian Paintbrushes are my favorite because the bluebonnets might find out and get their feelings hurt. But they're so pretty. They're red color is as vibrant as a bluebonnet's blue and when you looked at them from above, the petals kind of swirl around the stalk in a way that almost makes it look like they're moving. Props to Wyoming for picking a cool flower.

 

Pink Evening Primrose
Pink Evening Primrose  -AKA Pink Ladies, Mexican Primrose, Amapola  -Scientific Name:  Oenothera Speciosa

Pink Evening Primrose

-AKA Pink Ladies, Mexican Primrose, Amapola

-Scientific Name:  Oenothera Speciosa

As we drove along the highways in the Dallas area, I was amazed by the number of these primroses! Just pink flowers and green grasses the everywhere we went. It was useless to try to get a picture but in a sea of concrete, the swaths of pink were a welcomed respite. I used to try to pick them when I was a kid and was always disappointed that their delicate leaves would wilt before I could even get them into the house.

 

Texas Dandelion 2
Texas Dandelion  -AKA Carolina Desert-Chicory  -Scientific Name:  Pyrrhopappus Carolinianus

Texas Dandelion

-AKA Carolina Desert-Chicory

-Scientific Name:  Pyrrhopappus Carolinianus

Someone pointed out that the color of these flowers is almost neon it's such a bright yellow. I always loved seeing them with the Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes in an array of primary colors.

 

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Indian Blanket  -AKA Firewheel  -Scientific Name: Gaillardia Pulchella

Indian Blanket

-AKA Firewheel

-Scientific Name: Gaillardia Pulchella

I've always had trouble getting Indian Blankets, Black Eyed Susan's, and Mexican Hats strait. Like, it shouldn't be that hard. Indian Blankets actually look like they've been graced with a solid dose of Native American culture with their cool colors and patterns. So yeah, I'm working on that.

 

Butterfly/White Gaura  -Lindheimer's Beeblossom  -Scientific Name:  Oenothera Lindheimeri

Butterfly/White Gaura

-Lindheimer's Beeblossom

-Scientific Name:  Oenothera Lindheimeri

I've picked these so many times over the year and admired their tropical flair. Despite having seen a million of them in my lifetime, I didn't have a clue what they were called and it was a fun adventure trying to figure it out. Try typing "White Texas Wildflowers" into google images and see what happens.

 

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Queen Anne's Lace? 

Queen Anne's Lace? 

On the subject of "White Texas Wildflowers", I don't have a clue what this is. I literally looked through hundreds of different flowers online and couldn't seem to find the right match of flowers and leaves. It doesn't help that the image isn't quite in focus. I've always called it Queen Anne's Lace but I'm lost as to whether that's even right and what the official scientific name is.

 

 

Many thanks to the following websites for their wealth of information on Texas wildflowers and Lady Bird Johnson's Beautification Campagin and attempts to make the highways and cities of our nation pleasant places to be.

 

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, part of the University of Texas at Austin

 

Texas Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration

 

PBS

 

Texas Highways

 

Neil Sperry's Gardens

 

 

 

"Where Flowers Bloom, so does hope." - Lady Bird Johnson