Flowers gone wild

HARLINGEN — Let’s just call these days “peak visual” when it comes to flowers in the Rio Grande Valley.

From the glorious, electric-like yellows of blooming prickly pear cactus to the rusty magenta of Mexican hat, the splashy palette makes it seem like a good idea to get outside and enjoy nature.

Spring wildflower season is probably a little past its prime, but there appears to be enough yellow, orange, purple and red in bloom out there to make a drive or a hike worthwhile for the next couple of weeks.

“These wildflowers come up when we have a non-drought time, and we probably have a hundred different kinds,” said Anita Westervelt of Harlingen, a Texas Master Naturalist and a member of the Native Plant Project. “But you can’t really see all of them unless you’re walking around.”

For her part, Westervelt says one of her favorite places to pay homage to wildflowers is an irrigation ditch near her home.

“It’s teeming with things like false dandelion, because Texas doesn’t have the true dandelion,” she said. “The things called firewheel, which are also Indian blanket. And then the Mexican hat and the purple thistle are now gorgeous.

“It’s tall and a whole bunch of pollinators are attracted to this great big purple thistle.”

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