Spring — Texas Wildflowers

By Phyliss Miranda

I am thrilled to kick off the Spring Special Week for Petticoats and Pistols.  Being a born and raised Texan, I couldn’t resist doing a blog on the Spring wildflowers of Texas.

We have an abundance of variations of wildflowers in the state.  Being 1,244 miles wide and 801 miles from north to south, we equal some 268,601 square miles with topography from the Gulf of Mexico to the caprock  of the Panhandle then east to the thickness of East Texas and back west to the Llano Estacado.  The “Lone Star” state has 254 counties spread over this quarter of a million square miles.  Needless to say, we have a record number of wildflowers.

Our state flower is the beautiful bluebonnet; one of more than 5,000 species of flowering plants native to Texas.  Their abundance is the results of an exceptional multitude of plant habitats and weather conditions.  One of the old sayin’ around our parts is: “If you don’t like the weather, just stick around it’ll change by tomorrow.”  I don’t know who coined the phrase, but it’s so very true.

My darling husband retired from the Texas Highway Department (now the Department of Highways and Public Transportation).  Along the roads of the Texas highway system lie more than 700,000 acres of right of way. TexDot cares for every acre and their commitment led to making the landscape more beautiful by transplanting wild flowers.  I’m not going to go into where the 5,000 wildflower species are planted, I’m just going to hit some of my favorite types of wildflowers and a tad about them. One little personal note that might save you a ticket. It’s against the law to pull a wildflower along our highways.

In my town on the corner of two of our busiest streets is a huge Yucca plant that always blooms in the spring.  Native Texans held the Yucca in high regard for its practical uses.  The stalks were roasted or dried for eating. Prehistoric humans reportedly twisted the fibers into twine and rope to make belts and bow strings.  Yucca roots were pounded to a pulp and mixed with water to make shampoo.  It’s still a popular base of many shampoos and body bars today.

The Indian Blanket of bright red-and-yellow-flowers in the height of spring, hold many legends. One came to light around 1928 and really stands out for me.  A young Native American girl was lost in the woods, and as the cold night fell, she asked “The Great Spirit” to cover her with the beautiful blanket she had seen her mother weaving for her warrior father.  When she woke the next morning, she found the fields covered in gaillardia, which her people called the Indian blanket from that day forth.  The original Indian Blanket flower were entirely yellow, per folklore.

Another flower native to Texas is Indian Paintbrush.  They are known as the co-star to the Bluebonnet and are seen together in many fields. There are approximately 200 different species of the flower, and nine are Texas natives.  While Indian Paintbrush is by far the flower’s most common name, it is occasionally called butterfly weed, prairie fire, painted lady, and grandmother’s hair.  The last nickname can be attributed to the Chippewa tribe, who used the flower to make a hair wash and treat women’s ailments including rheumatism.

I want to leave you with one of the least favorite wildflowers of Texas, but one that really sticks in my mind.  The Jimsonweed, also known as the Thorn Apple and Angel Trumpet, is a large, white, trumpet-shaped flower that can be found from one end of the state to the other.  It holds a refreshing surprise.  My first encounter with the Jimsonweed was in San Antonio where my oldest daughter and family once lived.  They built their house in an area where they had land behind the house and in the spring a number of vegetables and flowers would come up, corn for one.  Along the sidewalk there was natural Jimsonweed; therefore, the walk was built to follow the plant  up to the house.  During the day there was nothing but a vine, no flower, really nothing by big green leaves.  This went on for months until I went outside in the middle of the night and there were beautiful trumpet  flowers on the branches.  This wildflower stays dormant until sundown and blooms at night! One of the amazing things is that the plant is poisonous by nature and has a bad odor and taste; therefore, livestock and wild animals stay away from it.  It has to be one of the most interesting wildflowers of Texas.

What is your favorite wildflower?  I know I focused on Texas, but every state has their favorite. If you don’t have a favorite then please share with us your state’s flower.

For three lucky winners, I am giving away an eBook of my latest Kasota Springs Romance “The Troubled Texan”.

I just received word that “The Troubled Texan” eBooks is still on sale at all major retailers and they’ve extended both the special pricing of 99 cents to April 12th, as well as additional outlets.

 

 

 

Phyliss
A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

Visit her at phylissmiranda.com
Updated: March 26, 2017 — 6:42 pm

27 Comments

  1. Good morning Phyliss- I’m in the middle of The Troubled Texan right now and loving it. I can’t wait to see who the lucky winners are who gets to read the suspenseful romantic book, as well.. They are in for a true Texas treat. My favorite wildflower is and has always been our beautiful state flower, Texas Bluebonnet, but I live in Kansas now, so my 2nd favorite wildflower is our state flower, The Sunflower, I mix both the bluebonnets & sunflowers in my home. Such a peaceful and comforting feeling they give my home. You have a great week and keep writing these great books. Love & hugs to you.

    1. Hi Tonya, sweet lady. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Also, thank you so much for the nice comments. If you liked the suspense in “The Troubled Texan”, I think you’ll like “Out of a Texas Night”, the next Kasota Springs novel. I attended Matt Sherley’s law enforcement course at WTAMU’s Writer’s Academy a couple of years ago. It was out of this world, so I’ve found myself leaning toward more suspense with my romances. I truly appreciate your kind remarks and please let me know what you think when you’re finished. I love sunflower’s, too. They are very popular here. Last year when my granddaughter graduated from high school in California her chosen flower for her party were huge sunflowers. They were all over the house and outside, too. I love them. I’d hoped to find a picture of my youngest granddaughter sitting in a field of bluebonnets down in San Antonio when she could barely sit up, but couldn’t find it. The pix is so cute. Okay, one vote for bluebonnets and sunflowers and the comfort they give a home. Big hugs to a great Kansas gal.

      1. Phyliss, you’re a sweetheart. I’d love to see pictures of your granddaughter. Yes I will be getting the next book, is it out now? I’ll send you my review and post it on both Goodreads & Amazon. Thank for writing an excellent book. Love this Texas gal in a Kansas world.

  2. I like primroses and bleeding hearts.

    1. Glad to hear from you DebraG. I love primroses and bleeding hearts, too. You can find both in Texas. Thanks for stopping by. Big hugs, Phyliss

  3. Good morning. Tonya (above) suggested I might like this book. It sure sounds good! Thanks for the chance to win it free.

    My favorite wildflower is the daisy. It is just such a happy, sunshine filled flower!!

    1. Hi Michelle, glad you stopped by and read my blog. I enjoyed writing “The Troubled Texan” and I hope you win it today. If not, the eBook is still on sale a while yet for 99 cents, as a spring special getting you all pumped up for the next in the series. I love daisies for sure. I totally agree it’s a happy, sunshine filled flower. I love white in particular. Again, thanks for the kind remarks.

  4. Great blog, Phyliss. You can’t go wrong with a post about wildflowers. One thing of interest…I put a jimsonweed plant in my upcoming book- The Heart of a Texas Cowboy. They’re on a cattle drive and the baby eats a leaf. This plant is very poisonous and the baby almost dies. They have to pour charcoal down her and purge her stomach, then wash it all out. I got my information about this plant and the treatment from Dr. David Ciambrone. Interesting man. He’s a poison expert. So I’m very glad you didn’t touch that jimsonweed there at your daughter’s house. How funny that it only blooms at night! But I love the Texas wildflowers. A field of bluebonnets simply take your breath away.

    Hugs and Much love!

    1. Hi my fellow Filly and friend. Gosh, I can’t believe I didn’t tell you about the jimsonweed. I sure didn’t know you used it in “The Heart of a Texas Cowboy”. How interesting. I’m like you, I just love Texas wildflowers. I started to put one of my pictures of a Longhorn standing in a field of wildflowers in Palo Duro Canyon, but decided against it. I had some volunteer bluebonnets in my yard two years ago. When we had a many decades old Russian Elm removed the roots were so big that they left trenches, although small ones. I ordered soil locally and I guess they got it from East or Central Texas because the next year the bluebonnets appeared. They were here for two years then disappeared. There really isn’t anything more beautiful than a field of bluebonnets. Much love and big hugs!

  5. I love all of the wildflowers, but my favorites are bluebonnets which are just starting to pop up in my area, and sunflowers in the summer. I enjoy seeing fields full of them.

    1. Hi Janine. Good to hear from you. Two of my favorite wildflowers for sure. One year my husband hung a bird feeder outside the deck and the next year we had huge sunflowers all around the pole. As a matter of fact, I have the picture right here where I’m typing and it makes me smile. I hope you have a great week and like you, I just love fields of wildflowers. Hugs.

  6. I do a great deal of walking and this is my favorite time of year. I live in the Texas Hill Country along the Guadalupe River. It’s beautiful. All the colors that fade into a sea of blooms.

    1. Hi Jolene. So glad you left a comment. I’m envious of you living in the Hill Country, where the wildflowers are so massive. That’s the area I was talking about when I said central Texas. Ouch! My kids lived in San Antonio and I loved it down there. You are so fortunately and absolutely right about how the colors fade into a sea of blooms … especially when they are against a setting sun. Thanks for stopping by. Big Texas hugs from the Panhandle to the Texas Hill County!

  7. My favorite Wildflower is what we here in Alabama call the Blackeye Susan. They grow in the summer thru fall along the sides of the roads

    1. Hi Glenda. Glad to hear from you. Alabama, what a great place to live. I can only imagine the fields of Blackeye Susan’s you have there. We have a lot northwest of us on the Caprock of Texas, but they grow them for commercial use. Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m adding the Blackeye Susan as one of my favorites, too. Hugs.

  8. Hi Phyliss, loved reading about your Texas wildflowers. I live in California and our state flower is the poppy. We have areas that are blanketed in orange for as far as the eye can see. It’s quite an amazing sight.

    Margaret

    1. Hi Margaret. Thanks for stopping and leaving a comment. I’d forgotten you live in California and didn’t know the state flower is the poppy. They are absolutely beautiful. My kids live in Santa Barbara county, so they are in the middle of the flower country. In Lompoc they have the annual flower festival and I love to go to the markets out there because they have so many flowers. I can hardly wait to get out there in a couple of months for graduation because I know the fields will be great with all the rain. Last year was a little disappointing, since it’d been so dry. I’ve always loved poppies and now I know why. Big hugs.

  9. Love wildflowers so pretty to see.

    1. Hi Miss Kim, glad to hear from you. I agree… wildflowers are simply pretty to see regardless of the variety. Hope you have a great week. Big hugs, Phyliss

  10. Loved reading about the wildflowers and some of the uses. I am from Wyoming, state flower is the Indian Paintbrush, didnt know there were so many different kinds. And the info about the Yuccas plant, I loved, as in Idaho I had one in the back yard that was huge, and I lived it when it bloomed.

    1. Hi Veda. Glad I wrote about something interesting. Since I did the kickoff for the Spring Special Week, I figured what better way to go than the path of wildflowers. I couldn’t resist giving some of the history. Hey, I’m a write!!!! We have tons of Yucca here and also Indian Paintbrush. Didn’t know that is the state flower for Wyoming. I’ve spent some time there years ago and Wyoming is a beautiful state. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law lived there for years. She is from Casper, so now I’ll check them out and see if he knows the wildflower! I bet, as young as they were when they lived there, he never spent any time thinking about the state flower. So happy to hear from you and hope you have a great week. Big hugs from Texas to Wyoming via Idaho.

  11. Beautiful flowers! Never thought about a fav wildflower… as a kid, I loved picking these little blue flowers that grew near my yard… never knew what they were called.

    1. Hi Colleen. So good to hear from you. By any chance did you eat the blue flowers? We had some when I was five or so and I ate them. They were very sweet and were on some bushes right outside the front door. That was during the days kids played outside!!! Hope you have a great week. Hugs, Phyliss

  12. I too have never read your books , but I am an avid reader and am happy to have found a new author. Good Luck everyone !!

  13. Hi Renee. Good to hear from you and of course happy as all get out that you’ve found a new author. I began writing with fellow Filly Linda Broday, Jodi Thomas and the late DeWanna Pace years ago. We ended up writing six anthologies (24 total stories) with various themes. Many of them are still available. Our “A Texas Christmas” became a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, so the anthologies would be a good place to start if you haven’t already found Linda and Jodi. I also have written short stories for Prairie Rose Press and have eBooks available. We love avid readers and if you have an eBook reader, you can get many of our books at good prices through Amazon. Hope to hear from you again and you tell me you’ve read one of my books and liked it! Have a great week and you’re in the drawing for a free eBook! Hugs, Phyliss

  14. Oh what a lovely post! Thank you, Phyliss. Daisies and buttercups are my favorites. The daisies grow in the back field while the buttercups show up in my lawn early summer here in the Northeast. I’ll bet I’m the only person you know who mows circles around the buttercups in her yard until they are finished blooming! 🙂 My mom of course really loved bluebonnets; I think I told you she went to high school in Gladewater, East Texas.

    Just by the way, jimsonweed shows up in an episode of the TV series Outlander, where a man is given a bit to smoke in his pipe for his cough. I looked it up on WedMD, and dang if it isn’t used in small doses for asthma, coughs and flu. Also used for recreational purposes, it said. Who knew! Anyway, I love all wildflowers.

    Have a great week!

  15. I love Lady Slippers. They are found in woodland areas in many states. It is a member of the orchid family and usually in shades of pink.

    No need to enter my name in the drawing, I already have The Troubled Texan.

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