Navigating Native Plants in Waterloo Park

Scattered throughout each unique area of Waterloo Park, one can find Plant Wayfinders, in the form of QR codes, dispersed throughout our various gardens. Each code has been strategically placed for visitors to use as a means of becoming acquainted with the many native plant and wildflower species that dwell and thrive within the park’s perimeters. 

The importance of native species to an ecologically rich landscape can not be understated, which is why 95% of the vegetation in our park is indigenous to central Texas. 

Thanks to the support of our partnership with the Consulate General of Canada, Waterloo Greenway has been given the ability to make this project come to life. As a conservancy, we are committed to not only supporting the monarch butterfly migration across the North American fly path, but also to creating opportunities for public education on the matter. With these Plant Wayfinders, Waterloo Greenway hopes to provide you with all the tools one needs to successfully navigate the plethora of native species found throughout the park, as we invite all who visit to look at plants through a lens of environmental stewardship and digital immersion. 

Eco Key

As you explore Waterloo Park, we encourage you to use this key to learn more about the ecological services each species of plant can provide to its surrounding environment.

Great Lawn Garden

American Century Plant
Agave americana

The American Century Plant is large blue-green stemless succulent, featuring robust, spearlike leaves with sharp tips. In general, this agave reaches maturity around 10 years of age at which point it undergoes its sole, once in a lifetime bloom of beautiful yellow blossoms at the top of the plant’s tall stalk. Bats, birds, and insects are all important pollinators of this agave.


Black Dalea
Dalea frutescens

Black Dalea is a low growing shrub, only reaching up to 1-3 ft in height though still a valuable source of cover for small mammals to take refuge in. From Jul-Oct, this plant exhibits purple flowers which arrange themselves in dense heads at the end of its branches. This specific species is also useful for erosion control along degrading rocky slopes.


Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Cenizo is a medium sized shrub, native to the Rio Grande Plains and Western Edwards Plateau of Texas. Once established, this silvery gray plant is extremely drought resistant. A fun nickname for Cenizo is the “barometer bush” because the flowering of its purple blooms is typically triggered by high soil moisture and humidity following rains.


Coral Bean
Erythrina herbacea

From spring until fall, Coral Bean can be identified by its red tubular flowers which grow on tall stalks up to 6 ft in height which are sure to be seen attracting crowds of hummingbirds and butterflies. Although very beautiful to look at, the seed pods/seeds of Coral Bean are actually very toxic and should never be ingested by humans. Best to keep away from children and pets.


Frog Fruit
Phyla nodiflora

Frogfruit belongs to the Verbena family of flowering herbaceous plants and is native to the southern half of the United States. These plants are low growing, reaching only up to 5 inches in height at most. However, where they lack in size, Frogfruit makes up with its striking bloom of unique white flowers which can be seen between the months of May-Oct.


Heartleaf Skullcap
Scutellaria ovata

Heartleaf Skullcap is member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family. When in bloom, this non woody perennial exhibits blue to purple, two-lipped tubular flowers which attract beneficial pollinators and hummingbirds in the spring.


Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Sometimes referred to as “Stragler Daisy”, this native species thrives in both sun and shade and sports tiny yellow daisy flowers year round in frost free regions. This plant is sometimes viewed as a pest since it is extremely hardy and can easily dominate the area its growing in. Because of these qualities, some people see Horseherb as a weed to be pulled. That said, the plant is beneficial to its surrounding environment, as it is a nectar source for small butterflies.


Kidneywood
Eysenhardtia texana

Native to south and central Texas, Kidneywood is an open, airy shrub which can grow to 10 ft in height. It features compact leaves and spikes of fragrant white flowers which bloom intermitedley from spring through fall.


Prairie Sumac
Rhus lanceolata


Two-Leaf Senna roemeriana
Cassia didymobotrya

Nonnative to Texas, though naturalized, Senna roemeriana is a flowering member of the Fabaceae (legume ) family that might catch your eye. It features large, bright green, leathery leaves and spikes of bright yellow flowers that rise above the plant’s foliage. When rubbed or bruised, this plant is said to give off a peculiar scent which has been compared to the smell of popcorn, peanut butter, and oddly enough.. wet dog.


Silver Ponyfoot AKA “Silver Falls”
Dichondra argentea

Silver Ponyfoot is a hardy native groundcover which can both be used ornamentally and to aid in erosion control.


Texas Sotol
Dasylirion texanum

Part of the Lily family, the Texas Sotol features a 9-15 ft. flower stalk and is often mistaken for a Yucca Plant. When mature, its cream, green, and yellowish flowers attract hummingbirds as a nectar source. Additionally, throughout history Sotols have been utilized by humans as a building material for roofs, baskets, mats, ropes, and even as a liquor.


Texas Persimmon
Diospyros texana


Turk’s Cap
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Turk’s Cap is a small to medium sized shrub which can be easily identified by its showy, dark red flowers and overlapping petals that never fully open. Not only is this plant a favorite nectar source of a wide variety of pollinator species, but its fruit is fully edible and is a food source for birds and mammals as well.

Moody Amphitheater Green Roof


Agarita
Mahonia trifoliolata

Agarita is a native evergreen shrub, with alternating holly-like leaves. In February and March, extremely fragrant yellow flowers appear, forming a cup shape around the stamens and pistils. Then between May to July, fruit in the form of red berries develop providing food for songbirds. Additionally, small mammals and quails are known to use the plant as cover habitat.


American Century Plant
Agave americana

The American Century Plant is large blue-green stemless succulent, featuring robust, spear like leaves with sharp tips. In general, this agave reaches maturity around 10 years of age at which point it undergoes its sole, once in a lifetime bloom of beautiful yellow blossoms at the top of the plant’s tall stalk. Bats, birds, and insects are all important pollinators of this agave.


Aromatic Aster AKA Fall Aster
Symphyotrichum oblongifolium

Frequent in the prairies of Central Texas, Aromatic Aster can be identified by lavender-blue to pink flowers which are made up of many petals and feature pronounced yellow centers.


Texas Beargrass
Nolina texana

Also commonly referred to as Texas Sacahuista, this grass-like plant was onced grouped into the Agavaceae (agave) family, as it is a close relative of the yucca, sotol, and century plant. During springtime into the early summer months, vertical clusters of dense white and cream flowers can be seen among the plant’s foliage attracting several different species of butterflies.


Blackfoot Daisy
Melampodium leucanthum

Blackfoot Daisy is a hardy little plant, thriving in hot, dry, rocky soils. Between the months of March and November, cheerful, petite daisy flowers radiate a sweet honey-like fragrance appealing to various pollinator species.


Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass
Bouteloua gracilis

This prairie grass can be easily identified by its long lasting blonde horizontal seed heads which are said to resemble miniature flags waving through the wind. Amazingly, over 10 different species of butterfly larvae feed on Blue grama, as do grasshoppers, wild turkeys, and several native granivorous bird species.


Desert Mallow
Sphaeralcea ambigua

Desert Mallows are extremely drought tolerant plants, distinguishable by shrubby, woolly features and eye catching apricot-orange flowers which gather at the tips of the plant’s sprawling stems. Blooms last almost 10 out of 12 months of the year, meaning that this plant is able to provide a steady source of pollen and nectar to needy pollinators like honeybees.


Engelmann’s Prickly Pear
Opuntia engelmannii

Engelmann’s Prickly Pear, a.k.a. desert prickly pear, is a member of the plant family Cactaceae (cactus). Throughout Central and West Texas, this plant can be found growing in washes and along rocky hillsides where they can live well over 20 years. This particular species of prickly pear can be distinguished by its wide, flat, green-blue pads which sit atop of each other lopsidedly, and the yellow hue of its spines which grow in clusters of up to 6 spines per areole. In May and June, yellow flowers bloom on the pads’ edges and develop into ripe purple-red fruit by the beginning of July.

“Areole (defined): In botany, the term areole describes the spots, or raised bumps seen on the cactus body where spines and/or hair arise from.”


Hardy Spineless Prickly Pear
Opuntia ellisiana


Lyre Leaf Sage
Salvia lyrata

Lyre Leaf Sage features trumpeting periwinkle blue flowers which are of seasonal interest from spring to summertime. Typically, blooms can be seen for only 4-5 weeks in Texas.


Prairie Verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida

Widespread throughout much of the state of Texas, Prairie Verbena is a low growing sub-shrub most commonly found in open grasslands. The plant’s masses of purple and pink flower clusters which are present between the months of May and October attract large quantities of butterflies, including Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) on their fall migration south.


Sampson’s Snakeroot AKA Mountain Pea
Orbexilum pedunculatum

Sampson’s Snakeroot is a species of flowering plant in the Legume (bean) family, primarily native to prairies and grasslands of the southeastern United States. This plant produces pale violet – violet flowers in the summers.


Scarlet Sage
Salvia coccinea

Scarlet Sage can be characterized by its long-blooming whorls of trumpet shaped red flowers which cluster together to form an uninterrupted spike along the plant’s stem. Fun fact: This species the only native U.S. sage with red flowers.


Snake Herb
Dyschoriste linearis

Snake Herb is a native groundcover which can be found all throughout Waterloo Park. Its petite lavender flowers which are discreetly tucked into the plant’s leaf axils may not be noticeable at first glance to the human eye, but they certainly attract butterflies. (Blooms between April-Oct).


Wright’s Skullcap
Scutellaria wrightii

Native to both Texas Blackland Prairie and Edwards Plateau, Wright’s Skullcap is of seasonal interest from spring to fall when its showy blooms of purple flowers are apparent. This plant happens to be an important fall nectar source for the Monarch Butterfly for its migration through Texas.

Meredith Heritage Tree Deck

Escarpment Live Oak
Quercus fusiformis

The Meredith Heritage Tree Deck features two majestic Escarpment Live Oaks, both of which are estimated to be over 200 years old and original hallmarks of Waterloo Park. Together the two trees, each towering just over 40 ft tall, supply the park with its largest shaded area which luckily for us humans means a place to rest, relax, and escape the Texas sun for a bit. Local wildlife have their own reasons for valuing these trees. The sturdy canopy of Escarpment live oaks serves as protective habitat for a variety of species, providing ample cover and nesting sites for pollinating insects, small mammals, and birds.


Other tree species within view of the deck:

Eve’s Necklace
Sophora affinis

Naturally distributed within prairies, open woodlands, and alongside roadways in Texas, Eve’s Necklace is a 15-30 ft tree, named for its blooms of rosy-pink flowers that mature into bead-like strings of fruit pods in the late summer. This plant both attracts nectar insects and offers beneficial cover, browse, and nesting sites for local wildlife.


Monterrey Oak
Quercus polymorpha

Native mostly to Mexico, but also found naturally within certain canyons of West Texas, the Mexican White Oak is a medium to large shady tree which is a popular landscaping choice within the Hill Country due to the fact that it is more resistant to oak wilt and other diseases than other oak species.


Texas Mountain Laurel
Sophora secundiflora

The Texas Mountain Laurel is considered a large shrub to small tree, reaching about 10-15 ft in height on average. This springtime blooming plant which is native to the limestone soils of Central Texas, features fragrant lavender-violet pea flowers said to resemble the scent of artificial grape products.

NOTE: The seeds from Texas Mountain Laurel are toxic if ingested.

Lebermann Plaza

Eve’s Necklace
Sophora affinis

Naturally distributed within prairies, open woodlands, and alongside roadways in Texas, Eve’s Necklace is a 15-30 ft tree, named for its blooms of rosy-pink flowers that mature into bead-like strings of fruit pods in the late summer. This plant both attracts nectar insects and offers beneficial cover, browse, and nesting sites for local wildlife.


Texas sage AKA cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Cenizo is a medium sized shrub, native to the Rio Grande Plains and Western Edwards Plateau of Texas. Once established, this silvery gray plant is extremely drought resistant. A fun nickname for Cenizo is the “barometer bush” because the flowering of its purple blooms is typically triggered by high soil moisture and humidity following rains.


Desert Willow
Chilopsis linearis

Desert willow gets its common name due to its willow-like slender leaves, although it is actually more closely related to species of catalpa trees. Between Apr-Sep, beautiful vibrant pink, magenta funnel-shaped flowers bloom attracting the likes of birds, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The flowers feature yellow and white throats.


Dwarf Palmetto
Sabal minor

Dwarf Palmettos are fan-shaped palms that grow in a familiar clumping arrangement, which you can most likely easily recognize. Their fronds can develop up to 5 ft tall and wide, and the plant itself up to 6 ft in height. Birds and other wildlife can thrive off of making use of this plant’s large size for cover, as well as its flowers and fruit for food.


Engelmann’s Daisy
Engelmannia peristenia

Engelmann’s daisy is a native wildflower, enjoyed for its sunny yellow and gold flowers which can be seen on display between early to late summer. This plant is particularly popular along roadsides in Texas and is a favorite of grazing livestock, as well as granivorous birds who feast upon its seeds.


Red Neck Girl forsythia sage
Salvia madrensis

Red Neck Girl forsythia sage exhibits spikes of two lipped yellow flowers, an unusual color for Salvias, when in bloom from fall through winter. The plant also features large heart-shaped leaves that are a lush green color and look almost tropical.


Hillcountry Penstemon
Penstemon triflorus

Special due to its endemic status to the Edwards Plateau in Texas, Hillcountry Penstemon is a striking prairie plant that makes a beautiful native addition to any garden. Its showy, dark pink flowers provide nectar to butterflies and hummingbirds in late spring (Apr-May).


Inland Sea Oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Grass that bears large, drooping, oat-like flower spikelets that typically turn bright sunny gold in the fall. While this species is not actually a physical nectar source for pollinators, it does attract an abundance of butterflies as it is a larval host to three different butterfly species. Additionally, the plant’s seeds serve as a food source to granivorous birds and a host of other small wildlife.


Pale Coneflower
Echinacea pallida

Native to Texas prairies, among other areas in North America, pale coneflower is an eye catching addition to any garden. The plant is characterized by its bare reddish-brown flowerhead which is surrounded by drooping lavender colored petals. Flowers are rather large, usually ranging between 4-6 inches across.


Paloverde Tree
Parkinsonia aculeata

Paloverde is a small tree that is distinguishable by its green bark and thorns. In the spring, it can be seen blooming with bright yellow flower clusters, each flower marked with an orange or red spot. The plant’s flowers attract pollinators, while its leaves and seeds are browsed by a variety of wildlife including mammals and birds.


Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

Possumhaw is a kind of holly that grows natively throughout coastal plains and low woodland areas of Texas. In the winter, female plants are covered in bright red berries which are fed upon by many species of wildlife including opossum and other mammals, songbirds, and gamebirds. Possumhaw is dioecious (female).


Pride of Barbados
Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Unfortunately the Pride of Barbados is non native to Texas, although it is “naturalized” meaning it is not a harmful invasive species either. Considering the boldness of this plant’s appearance with its striking yellow-red-orange flowers, we felt this standout was still worth including in our plant database incase you felt as passionate about identifying it as we did.


Purple Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

Purple coneflower is a very aggressive growing plant, standing out among the grasses in prairie meadows. The flowers, which bloom Apr-Sep, attract a wide variety of pollinators including butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. When not in bloom during wintertime, the baren flowerheads provide seeds as a food source for native bird species.


Red Yucca
Hesperaloe parviflora

Not actually a yucca, this member of the Century-Plant family (Agavaceae) produces soft, yucca-like evergreen leaves, thus earning the plant its common name. The flower stalk, which can be seen Mar-Jul, rises approximately 5 ft high bearing showy, coral-colored, tubular flowers.


Rock Rose
Pavonia lasiopetala

Rock rose is a small shrub with stems reaching only up to 4 ft in height. Found natively through the Edwards plateau to Rio Grande Plains of Texas, this plant features miniature rose-pink hibiscus-like flowers which are in bloom for most of the year except for during winter.


Silver Ponyfoot
Dichondra argentea

Silver Ponyfoot is a hardy native groundcover which can both be used ornamentally and to aid in erosion control.


Standing Cypress
Ipomopsis rubra

Standing cypress is a summer blooming biennial which can reach up to 6 ft in height at its largest. Its collection of red, orange, and yellow flowers widely flare out from the plant’s stem when in bloom making a stunningly beautiful sight. The flowers are tubular, inch long trumpets which depend on hummingbirds for pollination.


Whale’s Tongue Agave
Agave ovatifolia

Whale tongue agave is a frosty blue, gray colored succulent with a distinctive rounded rosette structure made up of wide cupped leaves. When this plant flowers, it forms a 10-14 ft tall spike which is adorned by greenish-yellow flowers.


Yellow Bells AKA Esperanza
Tecoma stans var. angustata

Named for its attention-grabbing yellow blossoms, this plant is not only beautiful but also rather hardy as it is known to be both drought and cold weather tolerant. Additionally, it is a valuable species to nectar-insects due to its long blooming season of Apr-Nov.

Luci and Ian’s Family Hill Country Garden

Agarita
Mahonia trifoliolata

Agarita is a native evergreen shrub, with alternating holly-like leaves. In February and March, extremely fragrant yellow flowers appear, forming a cup shape around the stamens and pistils. Then between May to July, fruit in the form of red berries develop providing food for songbirds. Additionally, small mammals and quails are known to use the plant as cover habitat.


American Beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American Beautyberry is a large understory shrub that features eye catching purple berry clusters come Fall into Winter. Typically this plant can be found in moist woody areas and near swamp edges. It is considered a valuable food source for wildlife including deer,birds and pollinators.


Desert Willow
Chilopsis linearis

Desert willow gets its common name due to its willow-like slender leaves, although it is actually more closely related to species of catalpa trees. Between Apr-Sep, beautiful vibrant pink, magenta funnel-shaped flowers bloom attracting the likes of birds, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The flowers feature yellow and white throats.


Aromatic Aster
Symphyotrichum oblongifolium

Frequent in the prairies of Central Texas, Aromatic Aster can be identified by lavender-blue to pink flowers which are made up of many petals and feature pronounced yellow centers.


Autumn Sage
Salvia greggii

A member of the Lamiaceae (Mint) family, Autumn Sage can be recognized for its deep pinkish-red flowers which it sports for nearly 9 months of the year, making it a favorite of hummingbirds.


Blackfoot Daisy
Melampodium leucanthum

Blackfoot Daisy is a hardy little plant, thriving in hot, dry, rocky soils. Between the months of March and November, cheerful, petite daisy flowers radiate a sweet honey-like fragrance appealing to various pollinator species.


Blue Mistflower
Conoclinum coelestinum

Between the months of Jul-Oct, this particular wildflower supplies lovely clusters of bright blue-violet blooms which attract bees and butterflies. Blue Mistflowers do well in moist soils, naturally thriving along stream banks, within wet meadows and around the margins of woods.


Brazos Penstemon
Penstemon tenuis

Native to southeastern and East Texas, this spring flowering plant features showy, lavender bell-shaped flowers which attract hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, and other insects when in bloom.


Butterfly Milkweed
Asclepias tuberosa

As you could probably guess by its name, this species of milkweed is a favorite of butterflies — acting as a larval host to Monarchs, Queens, and Grey Hairstreaks. This plant is most recognizable by its showy assemblage of bright orange flowers and dark green foliage which can be seen in bloom May-Sept. It should be noted that this particular milkweed is toxic to many animals and livestock.


Cenizo AKA Texas Sage
Leucophyllum frutescens

Cenizo is a medium sized shrub, native to the Rio Grande Plains and Western Edwards Plateau of Texas. Once established, this silvery gray plant is extremely drought resistant. A fun nickname for Cenizo is the “barometer bush” because the flowering of its purple blooms is typically triggered by high soil moisture and humidity following rains.


False Aloe
Manfreda virginica

False Aloe gets its common name due to its basal rosette leaves which resemble the looks of several plants in the Aloe family. However, in actuality False Aloe belongs to the Agave family. In summer, single flower stocks shooting out of the plants center feature discrete fragrant flowers, usually white in color with a greenish-yellow tint.


Featherplume
Dalea formosa

One of our more interesting plants to look at, Featherplume is a scraggly shrub that is covered in hairlike features. Although this plant may appear rough around the edges, it is actually thornless and can be rather beautiful during its blooming months (Apr-Aug), showing off bright yellow, purple, and pink pea flowers.


Giant False Yucca
Hesperaloe funifera

Native to Texas and Northern Mexico, this member of the Century-Plant Family is a stemless succulent with green, non-spiny, sword-like leaves. In the spring and summer months, Giant False Yucca (A.K.A “Giant Hesperaloe”) can be seen sporting tall flowers spikes made up of cream colored flowers that are decorated with discrete splashes of green and yellow.


Guara
Gaura lindheimeri

Guara or “Beeblossom” is an eye catching plant with delicate 4-petaled pink flowers, which are often described as looking airy and resembling lingering butterflies afloat in the air. This Texas native is rather long-blooming with a flowering season beginning in early summer and lasting through fall.


Heartleaf Skullcap
Scutellaria ovata

Heartleaf Skullcap is member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family. When in bloom, this non woody perennial exhibits blue to purple, two-lipped tubular flowers which attract beneficial pollinators and hummingbirds in the spring.


Hinckley’s Golden Columbine
Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana

Hinckley’s Golden Columbine is an endemic species, meaning that it is restricted to growing in nature to a very specific geographic location. In this case, the columbine’s only native site of growth in the world is supposedly Capote Falls in the Sierra Vieja Mountains of Presidio County, Texas. However, despite its rarity in nature, this canary yellow flowering plant is highly popular within nurseries.


Shrubby Boneset
Ageratina havanensis

Also known as “White Mistflower”, Shrubby Boneset is one of our Texas natives that holds tremendous wildlife value. Its white, fuzzy blooms in the fall attracts an abundance of pollinator species including hummingbirds, moths, bees, and butterflies.


Texas Gayfeather
Liatris punctata var. mucronata

Also known as “Texas Blazing Star”, this native plant is striking to look at when in bloom throughout the spring and summer. It features pink and purple flowers which grow in tufts or bunches along the upper part of the plant’s stem.


Texas Sotol
Dasylirion texanum

Part of the Lily family, the Texas Sotol features a 9-15 ft. flower stalk and is often mistaken for a Yucca Plant. When mature, its cream, green, and yellowish flowers attract hummingbirds as a nectar source. Additionally, throughout history Sotols have been utilized by humans as a building material for roofs, baskets, mats, ropes, and even as a liquor.


Turk’s Cap
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Turk’s Cap is a small to medium sized shrub which can be easily identified by its showy, dark red flowers and overlapping petals that never fully open. Not only is this plant a favorite nectar source of a wide variety of pollinator species, but its fruit is fully edible and is a food source for birds and mammals as well.


Winecup
Callirhoe spp.

There are two different species of Winecup (Callirhoe bushii & Callirhoe involucrata) native to Texas and surrounding states, both of which can be spotted growing within our Hill Country gardens. The flowers of Winecups have a striking pink-purple color which make them easy to recognize in dense areas, despite growing up to only 3 ft tall.


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Woolly Ironweed
Vernonia lindheimeri


Wright’s Skullcap
Scutellaria wrightii

Native to both Texas Blackland Prairie and Edwards Plateau, Wright’s Skullcap is of seasonal interest from spring to fall when its showy blooms of purple flowers are apparent. This plant happens to be an important fall nectar source for the Monarch Butterfly for its migration through Texas.


Yaupon Holly
Ilex vomitoria

Native to a large area across the southeastern United States, Yaupon Holly is a multi-trunked shrub or small tree which grows to about 25 ft tall on average. It is most distinguishable by its shiny green leaves and prolific red berries which are often used as a winter holiday decoration. Yaupon is actually the only native species to Texas which contains caffeine.

Rain Gardens

Autumn Sage
Salvia greggii

A member of the Lamiaceae (Mint) family, Autumn Sage can be recognized for its deep pinkish-red flowers which it sports for nearly 9 months of the year, making it a favorite of hummingbirds.


Blue Mistflower
Conoclinum coelestinum

Between the months of Jul-Oct, this particular wildflower supplies lovely clusters of bright blue-violet blooms which attract bees and butterflies. Blue Mistflowers do well in moist soils, naturally thriving along stream banks, within wet meadows and around the margins of woods.


Deer Muhly
Muhlenbergia rigens

Deer Muhly is a robust bunchgrass, featuring pale silver-green to bright green blades and towering 2 ft plumes. The native grass is valuable to wildlife as its seeds provide food for both birds and small mammals, and the foliage itself makes great material for denning and nesting.


Frog Fruit
Phyla nodiflora

Frogfruit belongs to the Verbena family of flowering herbaceous plants and is native to the southern half of the United States. These plants are low growing, reaching only up to 5 inches in height at most. However, where they lack in size, Frogfruit makes up with its striking bloom of unique white flowers which can be seen between the months of May-Oct.


Gulf Muhly
Muhlenbergia capillaris

One of the more eye catching grasses in the park, Gulf Muhly can be easily identified by its deep pink hue (which is at its best during Fall), purple spikelets, and feathery appearance.


Inland Sea Oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Grass that bears large, drooping, oat-like flower spikelets that typically turn bright sunny gold in the fall. While this species is not actually a physical nectar source for pollinators, it does attract an abundance of butterflies as it is a larval host to three different butterfly species. Additionally, the plant’s seeds serve as a food source to granivorous birds and a host of other small wildlife.


Lindheimer’s Muhly
Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

Lindheimer’s Muhly is one of many native grass species to the Edwards Plateau of central Texas. The species grows as a bunchgrass, reaching up to 2-5 ft in height as it splays out similar to how a water fountain does. Its most notable features include its blue-green blades and silvery seed heads.


River Fern
Thelypteris kunthii

The River Fern can be characterized by its lime to medium-green fronds which splay out in all various directions. West of east Texas, this species can only be found along or near bodies of water, hence its name. This plant acts as valuable cover or protective habitat for many ground-dwelling species.


Spiderwort
Tradescantia occidentalis

Spiderwort is a lovely species of wildflower and herb, with each individual bloom made up of three round violet-blue petals and six stamens featuring bright yellow anthers. Spiderworts bloom during the summer months (May-Sept), with flowers opening at morning’s first light and typically wilting by noon on hot days.


Texas Sedge
Carex texensis

This species is one of the most common sedges in central TX and is a great native turf substitute for your home or business as it can tolerate high lawn mowing settings.

Other grass-like species found in this exhibit: Cherokee Sedge (Carex cherokeensis), Meadow Sedge (Carex perdentata).


Texas Beargrass
Nolina texana

Also commonly referred to as Texas Sacahuista, this grass-like plant was actually once grouped into the Agavaceae (agave) family, as it is a close relative of the yucca, sotol, and century plant. During springtime into the early summer months, vertical clusters of dense white and cream flowers can be seen among the plant’s foliage attracting several different species of butterflies.


Texas Spiderlily
Hymenocallis Liriosme

Spiderlily is a fragrant, unusual looking flower that features six exceptionally thin petal-like segments which closely resemble the looks of spider legs. Native to marsh and pond margins, this plant can grow in up to 2″ of standing water and tolerates seasonal flooding.


Twist Leaf Yucca
Yucca rupicola

Distinguishable by its dark green twisted foliage, this Texas endemic Yucca can be seen with cream colored bell-shaped flower spikes from April-June. Night pollinating moths tend to favor this plant.


Zexmenia
Wedelia acapulcensis var. hispida

Found abundantly throughout Central Texas’ Edwards Plateau, Zexmenia is a small shrub adorned with daisy-like yellow and orange flowers from summer time until frost. This hardy plant also serves as a nectar source for a variety of pollinators, as well as a larval host to several different species of butterfly.

Winkler Family Wetland Terrace

American Water Lily
Nymphaea odorata

The American Water Lily is a floating aquatic plant, with large fragrant white flowers that are visible for most months of the year (Mar-Oct). “Waterfowl and mammals eat the buoyant seeds and other parts of the plant.”


American Water Willow
Justicia americana

The American Water Willow grows in the wet soils and mud of southeast Texas and on the Edwards Plateau. Flowers are produced in small clusters on stalks from the axils of leaves. Visible June-Sept, flowers are white and purple with prominent pollinator guidelines in the center of the flower. Additionally, the plant acts as a larval host to the Texan Crescentspot butterfly (Anthanassa texana).


Bigfoot Water Clover
Marsilea macropoda

Bigfoot Water Clover is an endemic species to Texas, meaning it does not grow natively anywhere else in the world. This aquatic plant makes a robust groundcover when growing under the moist conditions of wetland habitats.


Crinum Lily
Crinum spp.

The Crinum Lily or “Swamp lily” thrives in wet, rich soils of marshes, bogs, and alongside the edges of lakes and ditches. From summer to fall, the plant features fragrant white flowers with narrow, spider-like petals and eye catching bright pink-purple filaments which extend outwards from each blossom.


Delta Arrowhead
Sagittaria platpylla

Delta Arrowhead is an emergent aquatic plant, meaning it is rooted in the lake bottom, but its leaves and stems extend out above the water’s surface. This plant is regarded as a harmful invasive species in many other areas of the world, outside of the eastern United States, as it spreads aggressively and its seeds are easily carried to other areas via water flow, machinery, wildlife and humans. However, in Central Texas, Delta Arrowhead plays a native role in helping to maintain healthy, balanced aquatic ecosystems.


Emory Sedge
Carex emoryi

Found naturally along rivers and floodplain seeps across the United States, Emory sedge is a highly valuable species often used for wetland restoration, soil retention, and erosion prevention along shorelines.


Lizard’s Tail
Saururus cernuus

Named for the shape of its long drooping flower cluster which appears during the summer months, Lizard’s Tail is another aquatic species, naturally found in still water wet lowlands and along the edges of streams and lakes. This plant is particularly valuable to Wood ducks (Aix sponsa) providing the waterfowl with cover habitat.


Pickerel Weed
Pontederia cordata

Pickerel weed is a true aquatic pond plant that is highly valuable to local wildlife. Its long, heart-shaped leaves and spikes of lavender-blue flowers grow up to 3 ft above water, while portions of the stem can grow up to a foot under water. Its seeds are a food source for ducks, its blooms serve as a nectar source for pollinators and underwater, the plant provides refuge for fish.


Powdery Thalia
Thalia dealbata

Typically found in Cypress swamps, marshes, and ponds, Powdery Thalia is a showy, tropical looking plant that grows between 3-6 ft tall. The entire plant is covered with a white water-repelling powdery coating. Its purple flowers bloom on tall flower stalks in loose branching clusters between May-Oct. Powdery Thalia is is a valuable plant for the environment as it goes through a natural process (Phytoremediation) which breaks down or removes excess pollutants from standing water, improving overall water quality.


Scarlet Rosemallow
Hibiscus coccineus

Although unfortunately non-native to Texas (despite one of its common names being the “Texas Star Hibiscus”), the Scarlet Rosemallow is a standout of our wetland terrance when it flowers in the summer months.


Smooth Horsetail
Equisetum laevigatum

Native to much of North America, Smooth Horsetail grows in wet habitats as thin, hollow green stems and are topped with rounded cone-shaped sporangia.


Southern Blue Flag Iris
Iris virginica

Southern Blue Flag is an ideal plant for the edges of ponds or drainage ditches as it is primarily native to the coastal plains which stretch between the states of Virginia and Texas. The plant is distinguishable by its attractive flowers which are an overall violet-blue color, yet feature yellow and white crested falls within their center. Blooms are only visible for a short period of time in late spring.


Wax Myrtle
Morella cerifera

The Wax Myrtle is a large, multi trunked evergreen shrub that can occasionally grow to reach tree-like heights of 20 ft tall. Its waxy, olive green colored foliage is dense and often clusters in irregular shapes, making the plant quite eye catching. This particular species is known for being fragrant in both its leaves and berries which also serve as a food source to many species of birds.


Woolgrass
Scirpus cyperinus

Woolgrass is an aquatic sedge or grass-like plant, native to the wet meadows and swamps of East Texas. The sedge plays an important role in its wetland ecosystems as it supplies food and protective cover for waterfowl and other wildlife.