Springtime in full bloom at most all Texas State Parks
AUSTIN—What looks to be a promising wildflower season has started early this year and Texas State Parks remain some of the best and safest places to see and photograph a dazzling array of bluebonnets, mountain laurels and other blooming flora.
This comes as good news for wildflower fans on the heels of last year’s record- setting heat wave and drought that make wildflower season a bust throughout most of a state that boasts more than 5,000 wildflower species.
Most parts of Texas as of late, however, are benefiting from the late fall and winter rains and warmer-than-normal Januar y and Februar y temperatures.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department botanists and state park natural resources specialists concur with Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s prediction of an impressive wildf lower season thanks to well-timed moisture in central, eastern and northern parts of Texas.
Even in drought- stricken West Texas, state park field reports show exceptions to the rule of a poor wildf lower showing.
“The rains and snow, coupled with recent suitable temperatures have proven to be the perfect combination for a beautiful and prolific Mexican gold poppy blooming season,” reports Adrianna Weickhardt, interpretive ranger for Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso. “We’ll be celebrating w ith the Poppies Festival at nearby Castner Range on March 31.”
“It’s a great spring in East Texas,” says TPWD botanist Jason Singhurst, who has been seeing lots of sandyland bluebonnets (Lupinus subcarnous) that are expected to reach full bloom in coming weeks.
Singhurst also looks for good crops of Texas groundsel, bluets, white trout lily, mayapples and other flowering flora in the piney woods and post oak savannah of East Texas.
He recommends Lake Somerville State Park and Trailway, and Tyler and Purtis Creek state parks as good wildflower-viewing locations in East Texas.
TPWD botanist Jackie Poole concurs with her fellow botanist about a promising wildf lower season and notes “some weird things happening” where spring bloomers are concerned around Austin.
“Texas mountain laurels already have bloomed ahead of agarita and Mexican buckeye that usually come first,” Poole says. “ The drought may be causing some species to flower earlier or later than normal, but I’ve got a great crop of bluebonnets, as well as many other species, in my yard. Give us some sunny, warm days and things will really start to pop.”