What's that wildflower blooming there?

Scambled Eggs - Corydalis sp.
3/6/2007 - Medina River Natural Area, San Antonio, TX

One of the other most often asked questions I get each season is - What is this wildflower I photographed. To set the record straight, I am not a botanist. I completed the several month long course and got the Master Naturalist certification. While I did gain a very large binder and some new knowledge,  I mostly walked away with the realization that there is so much more to learn! When I started actively going out to hunt and photograph Texas wildflowers, I could probably name a handful of blooms. I was the very definition of a novice. After over 20 years of doing this, I am probably at the junior apprentice level. There are so many more experts out there than me. Here are some of the sources I often use (and you bet I do!).

First and foremost is Gary Regner's online wildflower color index. Gary has a very useful wildflower index organized by color of bloom. You can easily scan through the images and will most likely be able to spot your bloom there.  http://www.texaswildflowerpictures.com/wf_index.htm

I have several wildflower guides, and the three that I most often use to help me are

  • “Wildflowers of Texas” by Geyata Ajilvsgi
  • “Wildflower of the Texas Hill Country” by Marshall Enquist
  • “Wildflowers of Texas” by Michael Eason (new book released in April, 2018. I have the eBook version on my tablet for field use.)

And for the toughest ones, I run to the many experts in the Texas Flora Facebook Group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/texasflora

A few of those experts also hang out in the Texas Wildflowers Facebook Group (Also a great group to post your wildflower photos) - https://www.facebook.com/groups/92643952383/

Both of these groups are easy enough to join - but you must follow the group guidelines and include a full date and general location for each photo submitted. The photo should include not only the bloom but the leaves and branches of the plant. The full date and general location are key to helping get that more accurate identification, because wildflowers will generally bloom during specific periods and some of the less common ones will be restricted to narrow areas in the state.

Another good online resource is iNaturalist. Once you have a tentative ID you can verify it and recent sightings of it using the iNaturalist maps. For the Texas native plants go to: https://www.inaturalist.org/places/texas#establishment_means=native&taxon=47126

Oh, and the photo here is of scrambled eggs (Corydalis curvisiliqua). There is another wildflower with the common name, scrambled eggs - Corydalis aurea, but the distribution of Corydalis curvisiliqua better fits where I photographed the wildflower.  Finally, accept the fact that unless you are an expert at this and can actually key a plant botanically, you could be wrong. So, to be safe, I probably should just say this wildflower is scrambled eggs (Corydalis sp.) meaning it is some species of the genus Corydalis. Photo was taken 3/6/2007 at Medina River Natural Area, San Antonio, TX.