Texas has hundreds of native flowering plants distributed across 268,581 square miles. The diversity of growing regions includes subtropical, temperate, mountain meadows, piney wood forests, desert and plains. Rainfall rates, essential to native flowers, range from over 40 inches in east Texas to under eight inches in El Paso. Identifying native Texas flowers is a rewarding challenge that combines beauty with basic detective work.
Use a camera to take pictures of the flower you find in Texas. Take a close-up picture as well as one at a distance. Taking a close-up picture of the flower allows you to see all the details of the petals, leaves and stem; and taking a picture at a distance allows you to see what the surrounding area looks like. This will help when identifying the flower later.
Use a notebook or index cards to record vital information about the flower you want to identify. Include the number of the photo cross-referenced to your notes, as well as the date or season. Describe the color of the flower in specific terms that include hue and saturation. For example, instead of saying the flower is yellow, say it is pale yellow, yellow-orange or bright yellow. Note if there are markings on the flower such as stripes, spots or variation in color.
Count the number of petals and describe their distribution, which may be symmetrical like a daisy, asymmetrical, clusters of small flowers or tubular like a honeysuckle. Note if there are multiple or single flowers on each stem. Use a measuring tape to calculate the diameter of the flower.
Consider the leaves of the native plant and how they are distributed on the stem. For example, are they directly across from each other, or are they diagonally laid out down the stem? Describe the shape of the leaf, the placement relative to other leaves, the edges and the leaf's texture. Measure the length of an individual leaf.
Acquire a Texas map that shows the gardening or ecological regions of the state. Identify where the flower was found on the map. Add that information to your notes.
Search through books or on online plant databases to identify the native Texas flower. Use your notes to answer the multiple-choice questions describing the flower, the plant and the conditions under which your observations were made. Alternatively, use plant reference books such as "Wildflowers of Texas," which is organized by flower color; or "Native Texas Plants," which is organized by Texas growing regions.