Within the rural areas of Texas forests, prairies, hills, plains and wetlands are the natural habitats of many plant species that live in a harmonious relationship with the earth. These plants have adapted for many centuries to the soil conditions, water availability and sunlight of their native homes. Identifying these plants and learning about their unique characteristics helps to protect and preserve these plants from facing extinction.
A member of the Fabaceae or Papilionaceae family, Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) is the state flower of Texas. It is an annual native plant that reaches 1 to 2 feet in height and produces blue flower clusters topped with white blossoms in the spring. Texas bluebonnet grows in full sun, well-drained soil and is drought tolerant. Texas bluebonnet is native to Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Florida. According to Texas Star, this flower grows throughout Texas but not in the western hillsides, pastures and the Panhandle or northern county areas. Other common names: bluebonnet, buffalo clover and wolf flower.
A member of the Malvaceae or mallow family, Turk's cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii) is a long-lived flowering perennial shrub native to the central and southern areas of Texas and east to South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Its vibrant red blossoms are in bloom from spring through fall. They greatly resemble closed roses, each flower having at its center an elongated, decorative stamen. Turk's cap grows to 6 feet tall and thrives in moist soil and full-shade to full-sun conditions. Other common name: wax mallow.
A member of the Ranunculaceae or buttercup family, tenpetal thimbleweed (Anemone berlandieri) is a perennial flowering herb native to Texas and is also distributed north to Kansas, east to Virginia and south to Florida. Its stem grows to 14 inches in height, from which a single whitish or purple flower blooms. It grows in full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. Other common names: ten-petaled anemone and wind-flower.
A member of the Bignoniaceae or catalpa family, cross vine (Bignonia capreolata) is a perennial flowering woody vine native to eastern Texas, north to Oklahoma, west to Maryland and south to Florida. Cross vine grows to 60 feet in length, its bell-shaped red-orange and yellow flowers bloom from early spring through midsummer and its fruit forms in late summer. Cross vine is highly adaptable---it lives in the moist environments of swamps and forests, but is a drought-tolerant, cold-tolerant evergreen vine. Other common names: trumpet flower and quartervine.