Texas Best Flower
Texas has more wildflowers than any other state. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is located in Austin, Texas.
The State Flower of Texas. James Michner said the
most magnificent site he ever saw was a field of
- Prickly Pear
The state’s most common cactus and the official
state plant. The fruit is called TUNAS and makes
a delicious jelly. The pads peeled are called
NOPALES and are eaten as a vegetable or in
salads. In 1901 John Garner proposed to make the
Prickley Pear the state flower earning himself
the name Cactus Jack.
- Indian Blanket
Red wildflower with yellow tipped petals. Found
alongside bluebonnets in many areas.
The nation’s largest producer of roses is Tyler,
Texas. Texas’ oldest rose bush is at the Scott
Plantation in Scottsville. It was planted in
Texas Best Tree Species
- Live Oak
(white oak group)
Hardiness Zone 7Although not the state tree, the spectacular Live
Oak has to be Texas-Best for much of the state.
Live Oaks are magnificent in stature and
proportion, a broad oval crowned evergreen tree
that grow 40 to 80 feet tall with a spread of 60
to 100 feet. Live Oaks do best in well-drained
clay loams. It does not do well in poorly drained
soils or extremely deep sand. Many days of
extreme cold temperatures can destroy this tree.
This tree is extremely tolerant to city
conditions, poor soils and trampling or
compaction of the soil. Live Oak is a highly
desirable landscape tree.Leaves are alternate, simple, and oblong to
elliptical, 1½ to 4 inches long. Leaves are
unlobed on mature twigs but can be sharply
toothed resembling American holly on vigorous
shoots or sprouts. Leaves are dark green and
almost plastic-like with margins slightly rolled
under.Bark is very dark and furrowed on mature
trees. Generally a single stem tree with large
horizontal branches. Wood is extremely strong and
durable, one of the most resistant trees to wind
and vandalism. Acorn is about 1 inch long. Texas record Live Oak is in Brazoria County.
67 feet high, 386 inch circumference, 100 foot
Hardiness Zone 5
Texas State Tree and Texas-Best Tree. Native to
all parts of Texas except the High Plains and the
Trans-Pecos. Pecans are deciduous and grow to 125 to
150 feet tall in some areas with a 100 foot spread.
It is the fastest growing of the hickory family of
trees and can live for 300 years. Should be planted
in areas of good growing conditions.
Leaves are alternate, compound, 12 to 20 inches
long, with 9 to 15 leaflets. Individual leaflets are
4 to 6 inches long, 1 to 1/12/ inches wide. Color is
dark green to yellow green on top and pale green on
bottom. Margin is double toothed.
Bark varies a great deal but is generally thick,
light to dark reddish brown and relatively smooth or
deep furrowed and scaly.
Fruit is in clusters of 3 to 8, oblong or football
shaped and varies in size depending on cultivar.
Texas record Pecan is in Parker County. 91 feet
high, 258 inch circumference, 117 foot spread.
- Bald Cypress
Hardiness Zone 4Texas only native in the redwood family. Bald
Cypress is pyramidal and reaches heights of 100
feet. Bald Cypress grows best in wet areas but
does surprisingly well in well drained soils but
is a highly desirable landscape tree. Far more
adaptable than originally thought. This tree is a
moderate to fast grower. Hardiness zone 4.Leaves are very fine and fern like, soft
medium green and coppery bronze in fall, ½ to 1
inch long and arranged in two ranks in a
featherlike fashion along very small branchlets.
This conifer is deciduous and drops whole twigs
of leaves in the fall as one unit.Bark is fairly smooth with shallow furrows.
Trunk is much larger at the base. Branches are
reddish brown and grow at nearly right angles to
the trunk. Wood is light weight but very strong
and decay-resistant. Branches are very flexible. Fruit is a globe-shaped, woody cone, about 1
to 11/2 inches in diameter. Texas record Bald Cypress is in Real County.
96 feet high, 438 inch circumference, 112 foot
Thirty-eight varieties of oak trees are native to Texas.
Twenty-three are white oaks and fifteen ate red or black
oaks.Texas Best Oak Tree, The two oldest in North America
- Fall Creek Tree
Thought to be 2,000 years old.
- Big Tree of Lamar
Goose Island State Park, Rockport, Texas.
422 inches in circumference, crown spread of 89
feet. The estimated age is over 1000 years.
- Bur Oak
(white oak group)
Hardiness Zone 3Bur Oak grows 60 to 80 feet tall with a 30 to
50 foot spread. The Bur Oak is native to and does
well in the prairie including limestone and
blackland. The Bur Oak is drought tolerant and is
one of the easiest to grow of all the oaks.Leaves are alternate, simple 6 to 10 inches
long and 4 to 5 inches wide, oval with 5 to 9
lobes. Leaves are dark green on top and pale
green on bottom. Fall color is dull yellow-brown.Bark on mature trees is rugged and almost
black with deep furrows that break into irregular
ridges. Bark is gray to reddish brown when young.
Wood is very strong, wind and vandal resistant.
Bur Oak acorns can be as large as two inches.
Texas record Bur Oak is in Travis County. 91
feet tall, 192 inch circumference, 95 foot
- Chinquapin Oak
Chinquapin Oak grows30 to 60 feet high with a 20
to 40 foot spread. It is native to dry limestone
bluffs in Central Texas from the Red River to the
southwest. The Texas state champion tree is in Newton
County. Drought resistant and a desirable landscape
tree in good soil.
Leaves are dark green and shiny on top and silvery
white on bottom. Alternate simple, 2 to 4 inches long
and 11/2 to 3 inches wide. Leaves are oval with
rounded teeth on the margin. Fall color is crimson to
orange-yellow to brown.
Bark color is similar to white oak. Wood is tough
Acorn is ½ inch long oval enclosed about ¼ by
Texas record Chinquapin Oak is 88 feet tall, 238
inch circumference, 120 foot spread.
- Water Oak
(black oak group)
Hardiness zone 6
Water Oak grows rapidly 60 to 100 feet tall and 50
to 60 foot spread in its native East Texas range.
Water Oak is a widely planted tree and can vary from
deciduous to almost evergreen. Tolerates most soil
Dark green, spoon shaped leaves alternate, simple,
2 to 4 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide. Edges are
smooth to slightly wavy with one or more bristle tips
along the margin. Deep green on top and light green
on bottom. Almost evergreen in the south to winter
color of brown.
Bark is brown to grayish black with slight
furrows. Wood is moderately strong for an oak.
Acorn is ½ inch globe shape with cup covering ¼.
- Nuttall Oak
(black oak group)
Hardiness Zone 3
Nuttall Oak is one of the rarest oaks in Texas. It
grows to 50 feet in Texas and is tolerant of wet
soils. Requires an acid soil. Will not grow in
Austin, Dallas or San Antonio.
Texas record Nuttal Oak is in Cass County. 140
feet tall, 177 inch circumference, 111 foot spread.
- Shumard Red Oak
(black oak group)
Hardiness Zone 3
Shumard Red Oak can grow to 120 feet in height
with a spread of 50 to 60 feet. Shumard are native to
all of East Texas with cross species as far west as
Foliage can be fire red to orange in the fall.
Shumard is a desirable landscape tree in most of
Texas and does well in restricted root spaces. Almost
identical to the northern red oak. Leaf is alternate,
simple, 4 to 8 inches long by 3 to 6 inches wide. 7
to 9 bristle tipped lobes. Top is dark green and
lustrous, bottom is paler green with tufts of hair
where veins connect
Bark is gray to gray brown and shallow fissured.
Acorn is 1 inch long and ½ to 1 inch wide. Cup
covers ¼ of the nut. Texas record Shumard Oak is in
Polk County. 120 feet high, 182 inch circumference,
92 foot spread.
- Texas Red Oak
texana(black oak group)Hardiness Zone 3 Texas Red Oak can reach 75 feet in height, but
is usually 50 to 50 feet tall. It grows in
central Texas from the Red River to the south and
is commonly a cross with Shumard Oak. More
adapted to alkaline soils. (See Shumard Red Oak)
- Texas Ash
Texas ash is a small tree less than 50 feet
high. Drought tolerant. Fall color is red, gold, orange and purple. Texas record Texas Ash is in Bandera County.
72 feet high, 76 inch circumference, 67 foot
- Eastern Red Cedar
Hardiness Zone 2
Eastern Red Cedar grows to 70 feet high with a
20 foot spread. It grows in almost any soil type.
Cedar is aromatic and used in the construction of
closets and cedar chests. It is resistant to
decay and insects. The wood is light in weight
and shrinks little from green to cured. The
heartwood is a beautiful red and the sapwood is
white. Recommended for fence line screening in
landscapes. Leaves are evergreen, needle-like (juvenile)
and scale-like (mature) on the same plant.
Foliage is medium to dark green. Fruit on the female tree is blue to
blue-purple. ¼ inch round and smooth.Texas record Eastern Red Cedar is in St.
Augustine County. 78 feet high, 187 inches
circumference, 47 foot spread.
- Crape Myrtle
Hardiness Zone 7
Not a Texas native but an import from China. The
Crape myrtle ranges from a few inches in height to 25
feet. Grows in most soils. Very drought resistant.
Leaves are opposite, simple oval, 2 to 4 inches
long and 1 to 2 inches wide. The edge is smooth.
Leaves are medium green on top and lighter green on
bottom. Fall color is red, orange or yellow.
Crape myrtle can be single or multi-trunked.
(canes) Mature trunks are smooth and appear varnished
and muscular or irregular.
Flowers are white, pink, red, or purple 4 to 12
inches long. Flowers mid July until frost.
Hardiness Zone 4 or 5
The Dogwood native to East Texas is an under story
tree (grows in the shade) and grows 20 to 30 feet in
height with a 20 to 25 foot spread. The dogwood will
remain small and more beautiful in full sun. This
tree grows only in sandy, acid soil.
Leaves are opposite, simple, 3 to 5 inches long,
11/2 to 3 inches wide, dark green on top and pale
green-silver on bottom.
Old bark is reddish tan to dark brown and broken
into uniform square or rounded blocks. Wood is very
hard. Most commercially harvested dogwood was used in
the textile industry to make shuttles for weaving
because the wood wears smooth with use and is able to
withstand continuous use at high speed.
Flowers appear before the leaves in the spring.
Flowers are very showy with 4 white or pink petals
around a small cluster of flowers. Fall color is
crimson, scarlet and orange.
Fruit is egg shaped in clusters about ½ inch long
a brilliant red.
Texas record Dogwood is in Rusk County. 34 feet
high, 72 inch circumference, 41 foot spread.
- Cedar Elm
- Ulmus crassifolia
Hardiness Zone 6
Cedar Elm is adaptable, tough and tolerant tree.
Does well in heavy, poorly drained clay soils. A
mature Cedar Elm is a very attractive landscape tree.
Cedar Elm has considerable resistance to Dutch Elm
Leaves are simple, 1 to 2 inches long and ½ to 1
inch wide. Shape is ovate with double saw-tooth
edges. Color is glossy green on top and paler green
Young twigs may have corky wings on either side
similar to a winged elm. Older bark is brown to gray
with shallow ridges and thin loose scales. Wood is
moderately stout, hard and heavy.
Texas record Cedar Elm is in Kendall County. 73
feet high, 131 inch circumference, 72 foot spread.
- Prosopis glandulosa
Hardiness Zone 6
Mesquite grows in every county in Texas. Most
consider it a nuisance plant. It grows to 30 feet
Leaves are alternate, deciduous, and generally
twice compound. Leaflets are dark green and 2 inches
long and ¼ inch wide. Foliage is sparse allowing sun
to reach the ground below the tree. There is little
Bark is rough reddish brown to almost black.
Branches are armed with ½ to 2 inch spines. Wood
makes beautiful furniture. One of the most expensive
woods available for hardwood flooring
Fruit is a green / brown seed pod 5 to 9 inches
Texas record Mesquite is in Real County. 55 Feet
tall, 172 inch circumference, 89 foot spread.
- Texas Redbud
Hardiness Zone 4
Texas and Eastern Redbud are native to much of the
state. Eastern redbud in the east, Texas Redbud in
the west with hybrid mixes in-between. The tree may
reach 20 to 25 feet tall with a 15 to 20 foot spread.
Attractive, widely adaptable and durable tree.
Leaves are alternate, simple, heart shaped, 2 to 3
inches long and wide with smooth edges. Foliage is
dark green and yellow in the fall.
Eastern Redbud is usually single trunk and Texas
Redbud is usually multiple trunk.
Flowers are purple-red in clusters along the stem
in the early spring before the leaves emerge. Some
varieties may have white flowers. This is a very
Texas record Redbud is in Smith County. 74 feet
high, 168 inch circumference, 76 foot spread.
- Black Walnut
Hardiness Zone 4
The tallest walnuts are 80 feet high with a 40 to
50 foot spread. American Black Walnut is native to
East Texas and the Texas Black Walnut occurs in West
Texas. The roots and leaves of the Walnut contain
juglone that prevents growth of other plants near the
walnut tree. This includes other walnut trees. This
creates a problem in landscape plantings.
Leaves are alternate, compound 12 to 24 inches
long. The compound leaf contains 13 to 23 leaflets.
Individual leaflets are 3 to 5 inches long and 1 to
11/2 inches wide. Foliage is medium yellow green on
top and is fuzzy on bottom.
Bark is dark brown to black and highly prized for
furniture. Not particularly attractive in fall.
Walnut fruit is large and covered by a husk that
turns from green to black when it matures. The nut is
very hard and the kernel is prized for cooking.
Texas record Black Walnut is in Smith County. 74
feet high, 168 inch circumference, 76 foot spread.
Hardiness Zone 4
This is another tree not native to Texas but Sam
Houston wasn’t a native either and we claim him.
The Ginkgo came from China. It grows to 100 feet
high. Ginkgos do well in city conditions. Male trees
should be planted to avoid the objectionable odor of
the female fruit.
The leaves are alternate, simple, 2 to 4 inches
across, fan shaped. Outer edge is wavy with a cleft
in the center. Foliage is medium green. Fall color is
Bark is light tan to medium brown. Bark is smooth
at first and then develops deep furrows. Wood is
durable, wind and ice resistant.
- Ruby Red Grapefruit
The grapefruit is native to Bermuda and found its
way to Florida and later to Texas in 1904. By 1910 it
had become an important crop in the Rio Grand valley.
The Ruby Red was the result of a group of seedlings
that were frozen back to the ground and developed new
tree tops. The Ruby Red is seedless and the variety
that most commercial grapefruit production is based
on. Trees are 15 to 20 feet high.
Leaves are ovate evergreen, 3 to 6 inches long and
13/4 to 3 inches wide. Leaves are dark green on top
and lighter on bottom
Fruit are 4 to 6 inches. The Texas red grapefruit
was designated the official state fruit by the 73rd
Legislature in 1993.
Texas Best Cotton
Cotton is king in Texas.
Grown in west Texas around Lubbock. Texas always
leads the nation in cotton production.
January 24, 1822 – Jared E. Groce arrives on the banks of the Brazos to set up a home. Among his belongings is a supply of cottonseed – the first in Texas.