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Route for Best Texas Wildflowers with Identification Guide

Updated on April 2, 2016
VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne has lived in Waco, Texas for over 20 years and loves telling people why they should move here too!

Texas Wildflower Identification

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Bluebonnets are the Texas state flower.  They are a Lupinus which grows as a native only in Texas.  Usually blue, they are sometimes mutated into pink or white.  They are biennial and have a big, hard black pebble-sized seed.White Prickly Poppy has sticky, prickly leaves which cattle don't like to eat.  It is also somewhat poisonous.Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja)is the large orange flower which often grows with bluebonnets. It is semiparasidic on grasses and forbs, so you always find it growing in grass.  Indians used it to make a hair wash, and some ate the leaves in salads.At first I thought these bluebonnets were a pond below us.  Many parts of the Willow City loop have fields of bluebonnets as deep and beautiful as this.Our family did stop to get out on the roadside to take pictures, and so did most of the passing motorists.  However, we remembered to be respectful of this private propery and stayed within a few feet of the road.Most cars ignored the signs to not get out of vehicles, however, I did not see anyone doing anything more dangerous or damaging than taking pictures.Indian Paintbrush with bluebonnets.Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush cascading down the hill  The 13 miles of this loop has hundreds of such gorgeous scenes.Lovely vistas with wildflowers that are probably hundreds or thousands of years old.Wandering through the wildflowers were some beautiful creeks.Some of the ranchs warned of "roaming livestock" and we did see these cattle crossing the road!Close up of White Prickly Poppy.Daisy or yellow composite flower. Daisies  come in lots of sizes and varieties.  They represent 10% of all Texas wildflowers.Winecup.  This is one we saw only towards the end of the loop and tends not to be as abundant.  It looks like a poppy but has a lush purple color. They grow from a tuber which was boiled in tea by Native Americans.
Bluebonnets are the Texas state flower.  They are a Lupinus which grows as a native only in Texas.  Usually blue, they are sometimes mutated into pink or white.  They are biennial and have a big, hard black pebble-sized seed.
Bluebonnets are the Texas state flower. They are a Lupinus which grows as a native only in Texas. Usually blue, they are sometimes mutated into pink or white. They are biennial and have a big, hard black pebble-sized seed. | Source
White Prickly Poppy has sticky, prickly leaves which cattle don't like to eat.  It is also somewhat poisonous.
White Prickly Poppy has sticky, prickly leaves which cattle don't like to eat. It is also somewhat poisonous. | Source
Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja)is the large orange flower which often grows with bluebonnets. It is semiparasidic on grasses and forbs, so you always find it growing in grass.  Indians used it to make a hair wash, and some ate the leaves in salads.
Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja)is the large orange flower which often grows with bluebonnets. It is semiparasidic on grasses and forbs, so you always find it growing in grass. Indians used it to make a hair wash, and some ate the leaves in salads. | Source
At first I thought these bluebonnets were a pond below us.  Many parts of the Willow City loop have fields of bluebonnets as deep and beautiful as this.
At first I thought these bluebonnets were a pond below us. Many parts of the Willow City loop have fields of bluebonnets as deep and beautiful as this. | Source
Our family did stop to get out on the roadside to take pictures, and so did most of the passing motorists.  However, we remembered to be respectful of this private propery and stayed within a few feet of the road.
Our family did stop to get out on the roadside to take pictures, and so did most of the passing motorists. However, we remembered to be respectful of this private propery and stayed within a few feet of the road. | Source
Most cars ignored the signs to not get out of vehicles, however, I did not see anyone doing anything more dangerous or damaging than taking pictures.
Most cars ignored the signs to not get out of vehicles, however, I did not see anyone doing anything more dangerous or damaging than taking pictures. | Source
Indian Paintbrush with bluebonnets.
Indian Paintbrush with bluebonnets. | Source
Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush cascading down the hill  The 13 miles of this loop has hundreds of such gorgeous scenes.
Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush cascading down the hill The 13 miles of this loop has hundreds of such gorgeous scenes. | Source
Lovely vistas with wildflowers that are probably hundreds or thousands of years old.
Lovely vistas with wildflowers that are probably hundreds or thousands of years old. | Source
Wandering through the wildflowers were some beautiful creeks.
Wandering through the wildflowers were some beautiful creeks. | Source
Some of the ranchs warned of "roaming livestock" and we did see these cattle crossing the road!
Some of the ranchs warned of "roaming livestock" and we did see these cattle crossing the road! | Source
Close up of White Prickly Poppy.
Close up of White Prickly Poppy. | Source
Daisy or yellow composite flower. Daisies  come in lots of sizes and varieties.  They represent 10% of all Texas wildflowers.
Daisy or yellow composite flower. Daisies come in lots of sizes and varieties. They represent 10% of all Texas wildflowers. | Source
Winecup.  This is one we saw only towards the end of the loop and tends not to be as abundant.  It looks like a poppy but has a lush purple color. They grow from a tuber which was boiled in tea by Native Americans.
Winecup. This is one we saw only towards the end of the loop and tends not to be as abundant. It looks like a poppy but has a lush purple color. They grow from a tuber which was boiled in tea by Native Americans. | Source

Why Drive to See Texas Wildflowers?

Wildflowers in Texas are spectacular and this spring has one of the most fantastic displays in a long time. Wherever you go on a drive, you are likely to see lovely Bluebonnets, orange Indian Paintbrush, pink Evening Primrose, and Yellow Composite Daisies.

Over the past 20 years of living in Texas, we've enjoyed the annual displays of the flowers planted along the roadsides, a brainchild of Ladybird Johnson, who sought to save money in mowing and protect the natural habitats as well as create a beautiful Spring and Summer display.

Willow City Loop Wildflowers

One of the best places to view Texas wildflowers is Willow City Loop. You'll find the loop off of Highway 16 between Fredericksburg and Llano. The loop starts and ends at Highway 16 and is on the left as you come South on Highway 16 from Llano. Going north from Fredericksburg, you will see it as Farm Road 1323 off of Highway 16 on the right. It is not marked, so you will have to look carefully, but you may see many cars and even some motorcycle groups (the "driving for a look at wildflowers" type of motorcycle groups) heading off in that direction.

Highway 16 between Llano and Fredericksburg

Best Wildflowers in Texas

Every year, our family goes out on a wildflower drive and we were anticipating this year's road trip down to San Antonio since we knew that good rains would probably bring out a great display. My husband had checked the wildflower websites to see where to go, but we actually stumbled upon a wildflower display which went far beyond anything we'd ever seen before in our lives.

Which Texas Wildflower is your favorite?

See results

Video of Texas Wildflowers

Locals Help You Find Wildflowers

We would have missed the Loop if we hadn't been helped by a local lady. We found it completely by accident. My husband is a biologist and he really wanted to see some of the small flowers up close. So we turned off at Farm Road 1323 just to park by the road and have a look.

A very nice local lady in a large red Suburban asked us if we were looking for "the Loop." We asked her what that was. She said it was a wildflower drive. Uncertain we wanted to veer off the highway because we did have a long drive ahead of us on the way home, we weren't sure if we should take it. If you take a look at these photos, I think you'll understand why we weren'tdisappointed! Do you have another favorite wildflower drive? I'd love to have you tell us where to go in the comments!

Texas Wildflower Information

See more pictures and maps below. For more information and identification guides for Texas Wildflowers see:

  1. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
  2. Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg
  3. Texas Wildflower Pictures by Color

Texas Wildflowers Identification Guide

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bluebonnets are the Texas state flower and were called "wolf" flowers by the Greeks because they always grew in poor soil and it was believed the flowers made the soil poor.  Actually, they make the soil richer by fixing nitrogen in the soil.White Sweet CloverFleabaneCoreopsisAllium (family of onions)Black foot daisyPink Evening Primrose.Yellow PrimroseIndian blanket
Bluebonnets are the Texas state flower and were called "wolf" flowers by the Greeks because they always grew in poor soil and it was believed the flowers made the soil poor.  Actually, they make the soil richer by fixing nitrogen in the soil.
Bluebonnets are the Texas state flower and were called "wolf" flowers by the Greeks because they always grew in poor soil and it was believed the flowers made the soil poor. Actually, they make the soil richer by fixing nitrogen in the soil. | Source
White Sweet Clover
White Sweet Clover | Source
Fleabane
Fleabane | Source
Coreopsis
Coreopsis | Source
Allium (family of onions)
Allium (family of onions) | Source
Black foot daisy
Black foot daisy | Source
Pink Evening Primrose.
Pink Evening Primrose. | Source
Yellow Primrose
Yellow Primrose | Source
Indian blanket
Indian blanket | Source

Or go from Fredericksburg 15 miles on Hwy 16 to Farm Road 1323

Find the Willow City Loop off Highway 16 about 27 miles south of Llano

Willow Loop Wildflowers

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Texas Bluebonnets.Roadside Wildflower Driving in Texas!Can't ever get enough of bluebonnets.Winecups along road.Motorcyclists on a wildflower drive.Bluebonnets against the mountain scenery.No Tresspassing--the Willow City Loop is through private property so be sure you are respectful.White Prickly Poppies were in patches that went on and on.
Texas Bluebonnets.
Texas Bluebonnets. | Source
Roadside Wildflower Driving in Texas!
Roadside Wildflower Driving in Texas! | Source
Can't ever get enough of bluebonnets.
Can't ever get enough of bluebonnets. | Source
Winecups along road.
Winecups along road. | Source
Motorcyclists on a wildflower drive.
Motorcyclists on a wildflower drive. | Source
Bluebonnets against the mountain scenery.
Bluebonnets against the mountain scenery. | Source
No Tresspassing--the Willow City Loop is through private property so be sure you are respectful.
No Tresspassing--the Willow City Loop is through private property so be sure you are respectful. | Source
White Prickly Poppies were in patches that went on and on.
White Prickly Poppies were in patches that went on and on. | Source
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    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      3 years ago from United States

      Rachel--we found this route completely by accident and were absolutely amazed at the flower display. Pictures really can't show what it looked like. Unfortunately, people were not always respectful of the signs which asked them to stay off the private property areas, but I certainly understand it was hard to resist.

    • profile image

      Rachael Hermelyn 

      3 years ago

      Texas wildflowers are by far one of my favorite things about Texas. It's always nice to enjoy a scenic route around the great state. My mom and dad garden A LOT and would love this drive very much!

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 

      3 years ago

      Bluebonnets can make the hillsides lovely but as for individual flowers I like the paintbrush.

    • jvhirniak profile image

      jvhirniak 

      3 years ago

      on my bucket list of things to do. Nice hub!

    • torichavez profile image

      torichavez 

      6 years ago from Waco, Texas

      These are beautiful photos; I love Texas and its gorgeous flowers. I hope I can eventually dive by the Willow City Loop and admire all these flowers in the spring. I have never traveled along a wildflower drive, but it's definitely something I would love to do soon!

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      6 years ago from United States

      Thanks Ms Dora for stopping by! So many beautiful places to see wildflowers in this state!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 years ago from The Caribbean

      This makes me recall the the view of bluebonnet fields spread out on the route from Houston to Bryan, Texas. I've done that trip several times on an early Sunday morning. Thanks for the memories!

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      6 years ago from United States

      Thanks so much Au fait. I was actually disappointed a bit when I looked through the photos. I was too busy looking at the fantastic views and didn't really have my "photography mindset" in view. I want to add more of a photo guide to Texas wildflowers, so I'm searching through some of my other photos to see if I can add more information. We are North of that area too. You are so right that we are glad to have a great spring this year!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      6 years ago from North Texas

      Gorgeous photos! Our wild flowers are just getting a good start up here, well north of Fredericksburg and Lliano. Just a bit of rain and they would explode into blossom. The domestic flowers are profuse and everything is lush and green despite the lack of rain.

      Spring is the best season in Texas and it's early for a change this year. Hope it lasts a while.

      Voting you UP and beautiful! Sharing with my followers.

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