Learning Texas Wildflowers – a family friendly activity

Texas Field Guide, vegetable, vo•cab•u•lar•y
Click the image to view the presentation

It’s the start of spring in Central Texas and the wildflowers are just getting started! Bluebonnets tend to steal the show, but each day brings other blooms to life and they’re waiting for you to find them. Here’s a family friendly homeschool guide to meeting five of our lesser known (but just as interesting) wildflowers that are blooming right now.

The presentation includes images of 5 different wildflowers along with their common names, scientific names and links to more information. You’ll also find two questions per wildflower, with the answers to be found in the included links. At the end of the presentation, you’ll be able to quiz yourself on the common and scientific names of each plant.

How many of these wildflowers can you find in the wild?

Click the quote to view the presentation

December Wildflowers – Key West 2018

Key West Field Guide, vegetable

I love living in a place where I can find new (to me) wildflowers blooming for Christmas. December not only added nine more species to my repertoire, but kept several of my faithful fall favorites in bloom.

Here’s my roundup of all the wildflowers that I found blooming in Key West during the month of December. Click on the common names to visit the individual species’ pages.

Bushy seaside oxeye

Key West Field Guide, vegetable

Borrichia frutescens

All the field guides I’ve looked at show bushy seaside oxeye blooming in full glory with a thick rim of ray flowers and topped with black anthers, but I most often see it sporting few, if any, ray flowers.

Borrichia frutescens flower bud and leaf in profile
Borrichia frutescens with only disc flowers
Borrichia frutescens flower with new ray flowers
Borrichia frutescens with reflexed ray petals
Borrichia frutescens gone to seed

Find more info here.

Brazilian jasmine

Key West Field Guide, vegetable

Jasminum fluminense

Previously, this invasive plant was recognized as one of two different species in Florida, (J. azoricum and J. bahiense) based on minor appearances and geographic distributions, but the current accepted name is Jasminum fluminense.

Black nightshade

Key West Field Guide, vegetable

Solanum chenopodioides

Black nightshade (Solanum chenopodioides) growing curbside in Key West. The features that differentiate it from other nightshade species:

  • all surfaces with simple hairs
  • no stellate hairs
  • no prickles
  • black fruits when ripe

Find more info here.

Tearshrub

Key West Field Guide, vegetable

Vallesia antillana

An endangered species in the Florida Keys, this individual is being nurtured by the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden. Someday, I hope to find a wild specimen.

Find more info here.

November Wildflowers in Key West – 2018

Key West Field Guide, vegetable

Click on the flower names at the bottom of this post for more images and links to species information.

ru•der•al:

vegetable, vo•cab•u•lar•y

(adj.) growing in disturbed areas, on waste ground, or among rubbish

I live on a 2×4 mile chunk of dead coral that protrudes only 18 feet above the ocean. The cost of living is exorbitant and the competition for housing is fierce- for both people and plants. Many of our most common wildflowers aren’t much different than the humans in Key West- we both put a lot of effort into living in paradise.