From mountains to the plains, purple wildflowers are dotted all around the stunning Texas landscape. You can find them near the roadside or across the hills.
Many wildflowers love the warm, sunny climate that the lone star state has to offer. You can find a great variety of these plants throughout Texas. In fact, there are over 5,000 different wildflower species growing here.
In this practical guide, we explore the 13 best purple wildflowers in Texas to spot on your next adventure.
Despite their name, bluebonnets vary in shades from deep blue to striking purple. If you are in Texas during the spring, then you can see these beautiful plants everywhere on the roadside.
In fact, bluebonnet flowers are so common throughout the state that Texas made the bluebonnet its official state flower in 1901.
Since then, the state’s highway maintenance program helps to scatter bluebonnet seeds along roadways every year to make sure that everyone can see these bright flowers.
Lupinus texensis starts to produce its fantastic blooms in early spring. However, thanks to the warm Texas climate, you may even see a few bluebonnet clusters as early as January.
2. Purple Sage
In addition to the official state flower of Texas, the state also names a variety of other native wildflowers as official state symbol every year.
Purple sage was a designated state native shrub in the year 2005. This wild plant with light purple blooms is not just pretty to look at but it also has a number of health benefits.
You can make a delicious herbal tea with Texas purple sage which is considered to help with fever and chills.
But purple sage also has many other uses. It provides feed for farming animals and protection for birds. Some birds even use this wild plant as a nesting place.
You can even grow purple sage in your garden as an ornamental shrub or windbreak. Leucophyllum frutescens is extremely resilient withstanding drought and freezing conditions.
You can instantly spot Callirhoe involucrata in the Texas countryside. It has a distinct cup shape. With its bright purple petals, the winecup wildflower is a commonly found plant across most parts of Texas.
This purple, Texas wildflower thrives in sandy soils in scrublands and open woodland. It forms a dense mat with its small leaves.
Similar to other wildflowers in Texas, the winecup plant is tolerant to extremely dry conditions and hot temperatures.
This pretty wildflower is also known as buffalo rose or purple poppy mallow across other regions of the United States.
4. Texas Thistle
As its name suggests, the Texas thistle is native to the state of Texas. It grows across the entire state, flowering from April to August.
Butterflies and bumblebees love the nectar of the Texas thistle, so you can often see these small insects hovering around this plant.
You may even be lucky enough to spot goldfinches that enjoy eating the seeds from this thistle. They also use the fluff from the ripened seeds to line their nests.
This striking plant can grow up to 180cm tall. It also produces large leaves that are mostly grown and white, although the leaves have a soft, wooly texture.
Each stem of a Texas thistle has a single flower head that contains purple flowers and seeds.
5. Prairie Beardtongue
Prarie beardtongue is not just a popular garden variety but you can also find out across the rolling plains of Texas.
Penstemon cobaea produces striking, purple flowers between April and May. The color of the blooms can vary between white and shades of violet.
This plant thrives in rocky and sandy soils, such as limestone outcrops or hillside slopes.
Prairie beardtongue plants produce a large amount of nectar that attracts various pollinating insects, including bumblebees and butterflies.
This beautiful wildflower is also known as foxglove beardtongue, foxglove penstemon, large-flowered beardtongue or prairie penstemon.
While some also call it false foxglove sometimes, it is not the same plant as the purple false foxglove (Agalinis purpurea).
6. Prairie Verbena
Prairie verbena, also known as moradilla or Dakota mock vervain, is part of the verbena family. This purple-flowering plant is native to North America.
You can find prairie verbena plants all over the United States, including Texas and other Southern states.
Glandularia bipinnatifida produces most of its flowers during the spring but you can see verbena blooms also during the summer, especially in warmer climates.
This is the reason why prairie verbena is one of the most abundant wildflower across Texas.
Its purple petals grow in clusters at the end of individual stems. You can even grow this perennial wildflower yourself. Just make sure that the plant is in full sun or part shade.
Gayfeather plants are dotted all around Texas. Known as blazing stars, these striking wildflowers have a large, purple flower head that makes them instantly recognizable.
The large flower head is also what attracts hummingbirds, goldfinches and butterflies to these nectar-filled plants.
They bloom from August to December as long as gayfeathers can find well-drained soils. These plants thrive in prairies, limestone glades, hillsides and plaints. You can even find them in open woodland areas.
Purple gayfeather wildflowers aren’t just beautiful but their roots have also been used to treat rattlesnake bites. That’s why gayfeathers are also often called button snakeroot.
8. American Basketflower
American basketflower is commonly known as American star thistle because of its star-shaped flower head. This being said, this wildflower may look like a thistle but it doesn’t have the same prickly stems.
These light purple wildflowers bloom in early summer and you can find them across Central and Northern Texas.
Centaurea americana is an annual plant that has its name from the basket weave pattern underneath its flower buds.
These native American wildflowers can grow up to 120cm tall. They can spread quickly in an area as these are self-seeding plants.
Also known as Eryngium, eryngo is one of the most impressive purple wildflowers on our list. It is sometimes also called false purple thistle because of its similarity to a real thistle.
With its spikes and bright purple flower head, eryngo doesn’t just attract small insects but you can also enjoy looking at them from a good distance.
Eryngo plants flower from July all the way through to October. You can find these tall wildflowers usually in Central Texas.
In fact, they create dense shrublands across prairies in fields, so you can’t miss them on your Texas adventures.
But wild eryngo plants aren’t just beautiful. They also have a variety of health benefits. For example, you can make an eryngo tea with the root supporting your urinary tract and digestive system.
Herbalists also use eryngo root for treating bronchitis, asthma, coughs and skin disorders.
10. Chaste Tree
Also known as Vitex or Agnus castus, chaste tree is widely dotted around North Texas where it is one of the longest flowering trees in the state.
The large lilac blooms don’t just look stunning but they also smell beautiful. You can enjoy these fragrant plants from May to September.
Chaste tree berries also have been used for hundreds of years as a herbal remedy for menstrual pain, premenstrual syndrome and menopause.
11. Blue-Eyed Grass
You can find a wide variety of blue-eyed grass species across Texas and other US states. These pretty wildflowers bloom from March until May.
They thrive in sandy forests and roadside pastures as well as the dry climates of the prairies near the Texas Gulf Coast.
The star-shaped flowers of blue-eyed grass usually has shades of blue and deep purple. They often sit in clusters along the tall, narrow them.
12. Giant Ironweed
Also commonly called tall ironweed, this large purple wildflower deserves its name. It can grow up to 2.4m tall in sunny areas.
You can watch the flowers of giant ironweed bloom in Texas woodlands and meadows during the summer and fall months.
Vernonia gigantea is a perennial wildflower that can also create a stunning display in a backyard garden, especially if you group several plants together.
The large flower head of giant ironweed attracts monarch butterflies, swallowtails, bees and other insects.
13. Texas Toadflax
Texas toadflax is also commonly called blue toadflax in other regions across the United States. This wildflower needs full sun to thrive and produce flowers in spring and summer.
Nuttallanthus texanus can be annual or biennial, depending on the growing conditions. These purple plants can reach a height of up to 61cm.
Texas toadflax is easy to identify thanks to its long spurs and soft, white-purple flowers. As this plant produces a large amount of nectar, bees and other pollinating insects regularly visit the flower head.
You can find purple Texas toadflax in a range of habitats around the state, including rocky slopes, forests, brush, sand and grasslands.
When it comes to wildlife, Texas has a wide variety of wildflowers. Make sure that you keep an eye out for our X best purple wildflowers in Texas.