Prairie Plants, Bushes & Wildflowers

This field guide to prairie flowers, bushes and grasses is to identify common species at UT Austin: PINK • RED • ORANGE • YELLOW • BLUE/PURPLE • WHITE/GREEN • GRASSES

This guide would not be possible without the work of many undergraduates who contributed to the Native Plants of Central Texas (BIO 406D) database as well as the Wildflower Center's database.

PURPLE CONEFLOWER
Echinacea purpurea (Asteraceae)
Bloom time: April – September
These flowers are reported to contain a boost for the immune system and are often found in tea

EVENING PRIMROSE
Oenothera speciosa (Onograceae)
Bloom time: February – July
This grassland native plant can form large colonies by seed and runner

GOLDENEYE PHLOX
Phlox roemeriana (Polemoniaceae)
Bloom time: February
May
Only butterflies, moths and other insects with a very long & narrow proboscis can pollinate
Image from BIO 406D database

AMERICAN BEAUTYBERRY
Callicarpa americana (Verbenaceae)
Bloom time: May 
July
In the Fall, this shurb has clumps of bright purple fruit (drupes)

CORALBERRY
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Caprifoliaceae
Bloom Time: April – July         
A colonizing, deciduous shrub of Post Oak woodlands; flowers are white
Unresricted image from Wildflower Center

WILD RED COLUMBINE
Aquilegia canadensis (Ranunculaceae) 
Bloom Time: February – July         
See the five sepals and petals elongated into spurs that contain nectar

CEDAR SAGE
Salvia roemeriana (Lamiaceae)
Bloom time: March
– August
These are typically found in dry sites underneath Juniperus ashei (hence "cedar")

INDIAN PAINTBRUSH
Castilleja indivisa (Scrophulariaceae)
Bloom time: March-May

The roots grow until they find another plant's roots from which they steal nutrients

TURKS CAP
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (Malvaceae)
Bloom Time: May – November
The variety name comes from the Scottish naturalist Thomas Drummond


STANDING CYPRESS
Ipomopsis rubra (Polemoniaceae)
Bloom Time: May – July
A stiff 2 to 6 foot tall biennial that attracts hummingbirds

INDIAN BLANKET
Gaillardia pulchella (Asteraceae)
Bloom time: May – August
These flowers are almost completely red in the sandy soils of the Llano uplift 

TEXAS LANTANA
Lantana urticoides (Verbenaceae)
Bloom Time: April – October
Its crinkly leaves can cause a skin rash

MEXICAN HAT
Ratibida columnifera (Asteraceae)
Bloom Time: May – October
Belonging to a group of composites called coneflowers, its unopened disk flowers are green

BUTTERFLY WEED
Asclepias tuberosa (Asclepiadaceae)
Bloom Time: May – September
Native Americans used the root to cure lung problems 

 TREE TOBACCO
Nicotiana glauca (Solonaceae)
Bloom Time: All year
Tall, toxic, nonnative bush that was introduced from South America

LARGE BUTTERCUP
Ranunculus macranthus (Ranunculaceae) *
Bloom Time: March – April 
The Large Buttercup is completely poisonous, though toxicity is minor if eaten

BLACK-EYED SUSAN
Rudbeckia hirta (Asteraceae)
Bloom Time: June – October 
Root Tea was used by native Americans to treat worms, colds, and snakebites 

PARTRIDGE PEA
Chamaecrista fasciculate (Fabaceae)
Bloom Time: June – October
This plant relies on microorganisms in the root system to produce necessary nitrogen compounds

FOUR-NERVE DAISY
Hymenoxys scaposa (Asteraceae)
Bloom time: March-April
This plant has a densely hairy stem and is one of the largest native buttercups

TEXAS YELLOWSTAR
Lindheimera texana (Asteraceae) *
Bloom Time: March – May 
Because leaves grow slowly through winter, it is a winter annual like the bluebonnet

HORSEHERB
Calyptocarpus vialis (Asteraceae)  
Bloom Time: March – November  
This tiny flower is kin to daisies & sunflowers in one of the largest families of flowering plants

MAXIMILIAN SUNFLOWER
Helianthus maximiliani (Asteraceae)
Bloom Time: August – November
This sunflower can be eaten by deer and a variety of birds

COREOPSIS 
Coreopsis tinctoria (Asteraceae)  
Bloom Time: April – June 
This wildflower does well in meadows during wet years 

AGARITA
Mahonia trifoliolata (Berberidaceae)
Bloom Time: February – April
The berry of this plant is edible

ENGLEMANN’S DAISY
Engelmannia peristenia (Asteraceae)
Bloom Time: March – July
Popular on roadsides, this daisy can survive even in drought

FALSE GOLDEN ASTER
Heterotheca camporum (Asteraceae)
Bloom Time: July – December
A wide-spread (from New York to South Texas and Florida) native flower 

AMERICAN BASKETFLOWER
Centaurea americana (Asteraceae)
Bloom Time: May – June
The name basket comes from the stiff, straw-colored bracts just beneath the flower head 

TEXAS SAGE
Leucophyllum frutescens (Scrophulariaceae)
Bloom Time: All year
This drought-tolerant shrub is typically 2-5 feet but can get much taller

BLUEBONNET
Lupinus texensis (Fabaceae)
Bloom Time: March – May
The flower of Texas varies in toxicity, relative to an individual's weight, age, fitness, and susceptibility

MEALY BLUE SAGE
Salvia farinacea (Lamiaceae)
Bloom Time: April – October
This sage is of low water usage and prefers slightly acidic soil

PRAIRIE VERBENA
Glandularia bipinnatifida (Verbenaceae)
Bloom Time: March – October 
This plant is sometimes referred to as Moradilla, which means, "little purple one" 

LEMON BEEBALM
Monarda citriodora (Lamiaceae)       
Bloom Time: May – July
In addition to attracting bees, humans have used its leaves for flavoring in salads, cooked meals, and tea

WINECUP
Callirhoe involucrate (Malvaceae)
Bloom Time: March – June
Inhaling the crushed, dried, and burned roots has been used as an aid to head colds

ERYNGO
Eryngium leavenworthii (Apiaceae)
Bloom Time: July – September 
The bloom is often confused for a thistle, giving it the nickname, "false purple thistle" 
Image from BIO 406D database

GREG'S DALEA  
Dalea greggii (Fabaceae)
Bloom Time: July – September
This plant is named after Josiah Gregg, a geologist/botanist from the 1800's
Image from BIO 406D database

FALL ASTER
Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (Asteraceae)
Bloom Time: September – November
These purple flowers are of special value to native bees

TEXAS GAYFEATHER
Liatris punctata var. mucronata (Asteraceae)
Bloom Time: August – December
This palnt is 1-3 feet tall and attractive to butterflies

HEARTLEAF SKULLCAP
Scutellaria ovata (Lamiaceae)
Bloom Time: April – June
This pollinator/hummingbird plant from the mint family is great for shady spots

GIANT SPIDERWORT
Tradescantia gigantea (Commelinaceae)
Bloom Time: March – April
T. gigantea was named after the garderner of Charles I, Josh Tradescant 

WOOLLY STEMODIA
Stemodia lanata (Scrophulariaceae)
Bloom Time: April – November
The Wooly Stemodia can be evergreen in regions with mild winter
Unrestricted image from Wildflower Center

ANTELOPE HORNS
Asclepias asperula (Asclepiadaceae)
Bloom Time: March – October
Antelope Horns are inevitable hosts to aphids, which usually is not a problem
Image from BIO 406D database

WHITE PRICKLYPOPPY
Argemone albiflora (Papaveraceae)
Bloom Time: March – July
This flower is toxic and in some cases can prove fatal upon human ingestion 
Image from BIO 406D database

CHILE PEQUIN
Capsicum annuum (with red fruit) (Solanaceae)
Bloom Time: May – October
This bloom is actually a small and very hot pepper
Image from BIO 406D database

TEXAS FROGFRUIT
Phyla nodiflora (Verbenaceae)
Bloom Time: May – October  
These tiny flowers can survive drought, frost, and flooding

GREEN MILKWEED 
Asclepias viridis (Asclepiadaceae)
Bloom Time: April – September
A toxic milky substance visually similar to Elmer's Glue is exuded when the plant is broken apart 
Image from BIO 406D database

TEXAS OR WHITE MILKWEED
Asclepias texana (Asclepiadaceae)
Bloom Time: May – September
Toxicity among milkweeds can vary with season and even if the plant has absorbed herbicides and pollutants

BLACKFOOT DAISY
Melampodium leucanthum (Asteraceae)
Bloom Time: March – November
These honey-scented blooms prefer rocky soil

WHITE GAURA
Oenothera lindheimeri (Onograceae)
Bloom Time: April – July
Named for Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer who described several hundred plant species from 1843-1852
Unrestricted image from Wildflower Center

POKEWEED
Phytolacca americana (Phytolaccaceae)
Bloom Time: July – October
Tall bush with berries can be used as a dye or ink

INDIAN GRASS 
Sorghastrum nutans​ (Poaceae)
Bloom Time: August – October
A bunching warm-season grass of the Blackland prairie ecosystem with plume-like seed heads
Image from BIO 406D database

SIDEOATS GRAMA 
Bouteloua curtipendula (Poaceae)
Bloom Time: July – September 
This is the state grass of Texas!
Image from BIO 406D database

TEXAS CUP GRASS
Eriochloa sericea (Poaceae)
Bloom Time: May – October
Up to 3.5 foot-tall prairie grass common to the Edward's Plateau
Image from Half Pint Prairie

TEXAS WINTER GRASS 
Nassella leucotricha (Poaceae)
Bloom Time: March – June
Cool-season grass that grows up to 3.5 feet tall
Image from BIO 406D database

TEXAS BLUEGRASS 
Poa arachnifera (Poaceae)
Bloom Time: March – May
Cool season native grass for sun or shade
Image from Half Pint Prairie

PRAIRIE WILDRYE
Elymus canadensis (Poaceae)
Bloom Time: March – June
Short-lived, cool-season grass with early Fall seed heads
Image from Half Pint Prairie

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