> 2010 TEXAS WILDFLOWER SIGHTINGS REPORT
2010 Spring Wildflower Season Coming to and End - One of the best wildflower seasons in decades is drawing to an end. Late spring wildflowers will continue to bloom for a short time including coreopsis, horsemint, firewheels, and prickly pear cacti. Depending on rainfall, we should see wildflowers blooming until early June in central Texas.
0 - Poor: very few wildflowers; not recommended
1 - Below Average: some patches along road with light coverage; no fields
2 - Average: light to moderate patches along road; very few fields with any coverage
3 - Good: moderate to heavy patches along road; occasional fields with light to moderate coverage
4 - Very Good: heavy patches along road; some fields with moderate to heavy coverage
5 - Excellent: heavy coverage along road; fields with heavy coverage common; MUST SEE
Beware of rattlesnakes when out and about in the country this year. I have never seen more than I have this year, and a central Texas man has recently died from a rattlesnake bite. Watch where you walk, especially in high grass. If you hear the distinctive rattle, heed the warning. Stop immediately, remain calm, locate the snake, and back away carefully. Snakes only bite when they are backed into a corner, are startled or are threatened.
>May 10, 2010 - Central Texas
Firewheels, coreopsis and Mexican hats are now blooming in the Austin area. Conditions are dry, however, and grasses are dry and brown. Without significant rain in the near future, wildflowers will be disappearing until at least the fall. Prickly pear cacti are also beginning to bloom as well.
>May 2, 2010 - Hill Country
A new wave of color has washed over the Hill Country. Blues and oranges have been replaced by reds, golds, yellows and white. Firewheels are in full bloom along with abundant bitterweed, greenthread, Engelman Daisies and wild onions. Coreopsis has yet to bloom, but looks to be just days away from starting.
SH 29 between Burnet and Llano - a highly recommended drive; abundant firewheels, bitterweed, wild onions, and also some lingering paintbrush and bluebonnets. Rating: 4-5
Hwy 71 south of Llano - another amazing drive, the hills are covered in reds, yellows, whites and blue. Rating: 4-5
Park Road 4 (Inks Lake SP) - firewheels, greanthread, wild onions, and many others. Rating: 3-4
>May 1, 2010 - Luling / Lockhart
Bluebonnets have all but disappeared in Caldwell, Fayette and Gonzales counties. In their place are firewheels, coreopsis, Engelman daisies, lazy daisies and an assortment of other flowers. In some areas their is heavy coverage of firewheels and coreopsis. Spring grasses are already drying out and turning brown.
IH 10 between Schulenberg and Luling - abundant firewheels along road, also coreopsis and Engelman daisies
Hwy 183 between Luling and Lockhart - lots of firewheels along road, also coreopsis, Engelman daisies, and mealy sage
>April 25, 2010 - Mason and Llano Counties
>April 21, 2010 - Hill Country Still Looking Good
Bluebonnets were still looking good in northern Llano and southern San Saba counties on Wednesday, April 21. Recent rain seems to have been beneficial, and combined with cooler temperatures may prolong the bloom for some time. Although some bluebonnet blooms have completely gone to seed, others had no seeds pods at all.
FM 501 between Cherokee and Pontotoc - some areas along this road have large displays of bluebonnets; mostly the western portion of the road. Rating: 4-5
>April 18, 2010 - Hill Country Update
Bluebonnets are still looking good around Burnet and Llano. They are now beginning to go to seed, but with the recent rain will probably be nice for another week. Get ready for another wave of color in a few weeks; there are profuse numbers of coreopsis, greenthread and firewheel plants that should start to bloom within a couple weeks. Due to recent heavy rain, many unpaved county roads may be impassible, and numerous low water crossings may be closed for several days (Remember - turn around, don't drown). Use caution especially if you do not have a high clearance vehicle or 4-wheel drive.
Inks Lake State Park - bluebonnets are still good in most areas, but the park will be changing colors soon; there are large numbers of greenthread, coreopsis and wild onions that have yet to bloom.
Hwy 71 south of Llano - very nice displays of bluebonnets, with coreopsis just beginning to bloom. Rating: 4
FM 1431 between Marble Falls and JCT Hwy 29 - large displays of greenthread. Rating: 3-4
>April 14, 2010 - Going East
East of Austin in the Brenham area is disappointing this year, they have seen better in recent years. The real show is further southwest in DeWitt and Gonzales counties.
Hwy 290 in Washington county, not as good as 2009. Rating: 2
Hwy 290 & FM 369 near Hempstead, large bluebonnet field.
IH 10 Columbus to Schulenburg; coreopsis. Rating: 3-4
Hwy 77 Schulenburg to Hallettsville; mixed flowers, lots of winecups. Rating: 2-3
Alt 77 Hallettsville to Yoakum; paintbrush, pink evening primrose, winecups. Rating: 3
Alt 77 Yoakum to JCT US 183; paintbrush, coreopsis, red phlox, wincups. Rating: 2-3
SH 72 Cuero to Yorktown; crown tickseed, lazy daisies. Rating: 3
FM 240 Yorktown to Westhoff; paintbrush, bluebonnets, prickly poppies, winecups, pink evening primrose, huisache daisies. Rating: 3-4
Hwy 87 Westhoff to Nixon; paintbrush, huisache daisies, lazy daisies, prairie vervain, phlox, prickly poppies. Rating: 3-4
>April 12, 2010 - Hill Country at Peak Bloom
The Hill Country is at peak bloom now. You should visit within the next week to see the best this wildflower season has to offer. Parts of western Llano and eastern Mason county are experiencing what is likely the best bloom in over 50 years. Other areas are experiencing good to very good blooms, but they have seen better in recent years. Be aware that the snakes are out and in large numbers this year, I spotted 3 baby rattlers and one adult in one afternoon. Also be aware of loose cattle on open rangeland.
SH 29 from Burnet to Llano - very good, but not as good as the late '90s. Rating: 3-4
SH 29 from Llano to Mason - best in 50 years. Rating: 5
SH 71 from Llano to Fredonia - best in 50 years; phlox is very abundant. Rating: 5
RR 152 from Llano to Castell - best in 50 years. Caution - open rangeland. Rating: 5
RR 2323 from Llano to Prairie Mountain - best in 50 years. Rating: 5
SH 71 from Llano south for ~10 miles - very good, but not as good as late '90s. Rating: 4
Inks Lake SP - very good, but not as good as recent years. Rating: 3-4
Old Spanish Trail - very good, but not as good as late '90s. Rating: 3
Willow City Loop - very good, but I've seen several better blooms in the last 10 years. Rating: 3-4
Keyserville Rd - south end near Loyal Valley; best in 50 years. Caution - unpaved, open rangeland. Rating: 5
Art-Hedwigs Hill Rd - best in 50 years. Caution - unpaved, open rangeland. Rating: 5
RR 1900 - very good, not as good as 2007. Rating: 3-4
RR 2618 - very good, not as good as 2007. Rating: 3-4
RR 386 - very good, not as good as 2007. Rating: 3-4
>April 9, 2010 - Color Change in South Texas
The area around Lytle, Natalia and Devine is undergoing a change in color. Bluebonnets have for the most part disappeared, however, they are being replaced by bright yellow primrose, crown tickseed, bull nettle, Engelmann daisies and lazy daisies to name a few. Paintbrush still look excellent and you will see massive displays of these in this area as well as a growing number of prickly poppies. Magenta phlox is still going strong as well, while groundsel is on the decline.
FM 3006 still looks excellent, with prairie coreopsis and lazy daisies beginning to make an appearance. Hwy 97 north of Pleasanton en route to Floresville has beautiful stands of white and rose prickly poppies, and some very nice displays of verbena and pink primrose. Again, the bluebonnets in this area are rapidly declining.
>April 3, 2010 - Super Phloxy!
Thanks to a tip from Colonel Andy W. I checked out FM 3006 between US 281 and IH 37. This short stretch of road is lined with a mix of colorful wildflowers with magenta phlox and orange paintbrush predominating. I have never seen so much phlox in bloom. FM 3006 is approximately 3 miles north of Pleasanton off of US 281. This route is highly recommended. Rating: 5
Also worth checking out is the southbound feeder road of IH 35 from Devine to Moore. This area has heavy mixed wildflower coverage, with excellent photo opportunities. Rating: 5
>April 2, 2010 - Hill Country Update
I scouted the Hill Country today including Burnet, Llano, and Marble Falls areas. Bottomline - average to above average year; wildflowers are nice in some areas along the roads now, but in fields it is still too early. I don't believe, however, that the areas I saw will be anywhere near as good as the areas south of San Antonio. I don't expect peak bloom in the Hill Country for at least a week maybe two.
US 183A north of FM 1431 to Seward Junction: Rating 0
Hwy 29 from Seward Junction to Bertram: Rating 0
Hwy 29 from Bertram to Burnet: Rating 1
Hwy 29 from Burnet to Buchannon Dam: Rating 2
FM 2341: Rating 3, bluebonnets, paintbrush and phlox; still early
Park Rd 4 from Hwy 29 to FM 2342 including Inks Lake SP: Rating 2-3, mostly bluebonnets
Park Rd 4 from Fm 2342 to US 281: Rating 2-3, mostly bluebonnets
Hwy 281 from Park Rd 4 to FM 1431 (Marble Falls): Rating 2-3
Infamous stone house north of Marble Falls: good coverage but needs more time
FM 1431 from Marble Falls to Hwy 29: Rating 3
Hwy 29 from Buchannon Dam to Llano: Rating 3
Old Spanish Trail: Rating 3-4; lots of paintbrush
Hwy 71 from Llano to FM 2233: Rating 4-5, best area seen, mostly bluebonnets
Hwy 71 from FM 2233 to FM 2147: Rating 3
Hwy 71 from FM 2147 to US 281: Rating 2
Hwy 71 from US 281 to Bee Cave: Rating 0-1
>April 1, 2010 - Easter Weekend Recommendation
I did a tour of the area south and southwest of San Antonio today and the wildflowers continue to be excellent. I have posted a map of recommended routes that will be prime viewing this weekend. The absolute best areas spotted were along IH35 on the feeder road just north of Natalia (also check out Co Rd 6723 in this area), FM 2790 from Lytle to FM 476, FM 476 from FM 2790 to Poteet, and SH 16 from Poteet to SH 1604 [See green routes on map]. Other good viewing routes (but not quite as impressive) are SH 173 from Devine to Jourdanton, and SH 97 from Pleasonton to Stockdale [See orange routes on map]. Routes on the map highlighted in red are the least impressive and not recommended.
At this time, reports indicate that both the Hill Country and Brenham area are either too early or not as good as the area south of San Antonio. I will be scouting the Hill Country this weekend, and the Brenham area sometime next week.
>March 27-28, 2010 - Wildflower Heaven South of San Antonio
South of San Antonio along IH 35 going south beginning at Lytle to Natalia and Devine - massive displays of bluebonnets, paintbrush, toadflax, phlox, groundsel, bladderpod, prickly poppies, pepper grass, verbena, and others. Along the highway and in fields, lots and pastures. Take the feeder roads along the interstate. Nearly every field is covered with wildflowers. The most profuse display of wildflowers I have ever seen in my time in Texas, and this may just be the beginning of what this spring may have in store for us this year. It is hard not to find a magnificent display of wildflowers in the Natalia/Devine area. Bluebonnets appear close to peak now, other wildflowers already appear at peak. Also recommended is SH16 south from San Antonio to Jourdanton; same types of wildflower as near Natalia/Devine. SH173 between Jourdanton and Devine is also nice, with large areas of verbena and pink evening primrose.
>March 22, 2010 - South Texas erupts into a rainbow of color
>March 19, 2010 - Paintbrush, phlox and groundsel
On IH10 between Houston and San Antonio [more profuse as you get closer to SA] there are paintbrush, phlox and wild onions blooming in ernest. Bluebonnets are just starting to put on flowers. In the Luling/Nixon/Stockdale/Seguin areas magenta and scarlet phlox are blooming in abundance, best in years. Also in abundance are yellow groundsel, sometimes covering entire fields. Wild onions, pucoon and verbena were also spotted. Bluebonnets are just beginning to bloom. In Austin, bluebonnets are starting to bloom along the highways.
>March 14, 2010 - Early Report from South Central Texas
South of San Antonio on I-35 and Highway 132, in the area of Lytle, Natalia, and Devine. The flowers are out in abundance already. Between Lytle and Devine, in the medians and in the fields on both sides of the highways (I-35 and Hwy132), there are lots of red paintbrush and a few bluebonnets. There are also loads of yellows [most likely groundsel]. A few purple blooms scattered about made for some nice color mixes. I would not call this crop profuse yet, but they definitely will get one’s attention when driving down the interstate! (Submitted by Lauren B.)
>March 12, 2010 - Spring has Arrived in Central Texas
The last several days have brought warm days and a spurt in plant growth. While some trees are putting on brand new bright green leaves, oaks are dropping theirs and preparing to pollinate. Redbuds have begun to bloom and flower spikes on mountain laurels are maturing rapidly. We should be smelling the familiar grape koolaid aroma of mountain laurel blossoms within a week or so. Annual wildflower plants have exploded with growth and it is only a matter of a week or two before we should be seeing impressive displays of annual wildflowers blooming here in the Austin area. The official beginning of spring is only a little over a week from now. Next update will be March 22.
>March 9, 2010 - Early Signs of Spring
The unusually cold winter has delayed the beginning of spring, but there are signs that it is rapidly approaching. Bradford pears have begun to bloom in the Austin area over the last few days, and henbit is blooming profusely. The true harbingers of spring have yet to blossom. Mexican plum, redbud and mountain laurels should be should be in bloom within the next one to two weeks. Not long after that we should start to see annual wildflowers. The annual wildflower peak will likely be mid-April this year, and if cooler, wet conditions persist, the spring wildflower bloom may last longer than usual.
>February 27, 2010 - Wildflower Center Prediction
The National Wildflower Research Center in Austin has released their State Wildflower Forecast. They are predicting "an excellent wildflower season in most of Texas". This is due to an abundance of rain over most of Texas due to the return of El Nino during the fall. Phlox, which blooms early in the spring, as well as bluebonnets are expected to put on excellent shows this year. Look for updates to begin here as soon as the wildflowers begin to bloom.
>February 7, 2010 - Wildflower Season Outlook
El Nino weather conditions that began last fall have brought ample rain to nearly all of Texas. This should mean average to above average wildflowers for Texas. The Hill Country should have a display similar to 2007, and much better than the disappointing displays of 2008 and 2009. Look for updates beginning in mid to late March.