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Texas

Winter Cold Snap Shouldn't Hurt Early, Productive Wildflower Season

Texas bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush.
Texas bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush.

From Texas Standard:

Though some parts of Texas hit their coldest temperatures of the season this week, overall, this winter has been fairly mild south of Oklahoma -- and wet. That's led to a pretty productive wildflower season. Folks in the Big Bend area say they've seen the largest bluebonnet bloom in decades. And many parts of the state are seeing that bloom slightly early.

"I think we're probably going to have a pretty solid year. We've had good rain and that's always the key in terms of how good the show actually is," says Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture at the  Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.She says the wildflowers are pretty adapted to the cold weather -- so as long as tender, new growth wasn't seriously damaged -- the blooms should be just fine. She's heard about great bluebonnet patches -- especially in the South Texas and Kingsville area. 

"I think people are always enamored of our bluebonnet," DeLong-Amaya says. "It is the state flower and there aren't that many wildflowers that are that true blue color. And, of course, when you see them they're just big oceans of bluebonnets."

Bluebonnets grow so nicely next to Texas roads, in part, because TxDOT spreads seeds. But DeLong-Amaya says bluebonnets also just like places where the soil is disturbed.

"Often, you'll see on ranches a lot of bluebonnets because cattle don't like to eat them and that encourages more flowers," she says.

But it's not all bluebonnets. DeLong-Amaya has some advice on which other blooms to keep an eye out for.

"I love the winecups, and the salvias will start coming on -- like mealy blue sage, of course the pink evening primrose that we're familiar with from the roadsides, phloxes, Texas toadflax, there's a lot of great wildflowers in our area that deserve attention," DeLong-Amaya says.

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