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Blossoming Forth

Well into May, state parks abound with fragrant displays of native flowers.

By Sheryl Smith-Rodgers

From the Gulf Coast to the Big Bend each spring, wildflowers brighten the Texas landscape. State parks offer some of the best places to enjoy spectacular displays of bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes and other native flowering plants.

Here’s a sampling of parks to visit:

Big Bend Country

Three-foot-tall Big Bend bluebonnets and colorful cactus blooms can be seen at the Big Bend Ranch State Park.

At Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso, golden California poppies spread color across the slopes in March and April. For great views of the flowers, visitors can ride the Wyler Aerial Tramway.

Gulf Coast

Bluebonnets and other wildflowers bloom in abundance at Lake Corpus Christi State Park.

Bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes surround the stately plantation house at Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site.

Hill Country

March and April are the best times to see fields ablaze with color at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Historic Site. Wildflowers include bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, firewheels and Mexican hats.

Highways lined with wildflowers lead to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area and Inks Lake State Park.

Panhandle Plains

A variety of flowers bloom from March through October along Palo Duro Canyon State Park’s 16 miles of roads. May and June are the best times to visit, when plants such as spiderwort, Texas thistle, yucca, Indian blanket and Mexican hat are in full flower.

Pineywoods

Flowering dogwood, redbuds and fragrant wisteria blossoms make springtime at Daingerfield State Park a beautiful time to visit.

Passengers on the antique Texas State Railroad see the region’s beautiful displays of flowering dogwoods in late March and early April.

Prairies & Lakes

Fort Parker State Park near Mexia boasts a wonderful wildflower season that runs from early March through June. Among the blooming plants are Indian blanket, standing cypress, phlox, ladies’-tresses, evening primrose and wine cups.

Bluebonnets and other spring flowers abound in Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site.

South Texas Plains

Goliad State Park has wonderful displays of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes that bloom through April, as well as phlox, lantana and wine cups. Visitors can see concentrations of flowers along Highway 59.

Springtime visitors to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park will see dense growths of flowering shrubs such as blackbrush and cenizo. Wildflowers include sand verbena, sleepy daisy, wild phlox and huisache daisy.

Information about these and other state parks is available at <www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/>. Or call (800) 792-1112. For information about wildflowers at state parks, go to<www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/wildflower/index.htm>.

During peak wildflower season, motorists can listen to recorded reports by calling the Texas Travel Information Hotline at (800) 452-9292.

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    Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine