Texas Prairie Dawn (Hymenoxys texana)

Photograph of the Texas Prairie Dawn


Other Names
Prairiedawn, Texas Bitterweed, Texas Prairie Dawn-flower
Texas Status
U.S. Status
Endangered, Listed 3/13/1985
Texas Prairie Dawn is a delicate annual one to six inches tall. Despite being one of the state's smallest sunflowers, Texas prairie dawn is not easily overlooked. Its yellow flower heads, less than 1/2 inch in diameter, stand out brightly in the patches of dull gray barren sand in which the species is normally found.
Life History
Because this suitable habitat is limited to such a small geographic area, Texas prairie dawn was not encountered by botanists for almost 100 years after its original discovery, and was thought to be extinct. It flowers in March - early April; disappearing by mid-summer. The status of Texas prairie dawn is better known today, and much of its remaining habitat is protected on public lands administered by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. It is known from about 50 sites, many within Addicks and Barker Reservoirs in western Harris County. However, habitat destruction by urban development continues to threaten this tiny plant.
It grows in sparsely vegetated areas ("slick spots") at the base of mima mounds ("pimple mounds") or other nearly barren areas on slightly saline soils in coastal prairie grasslands.
This wildflower is found in Fort Bend and Harris counties, southeast Texas.
This species occurs within and on the outskirts of Houston.

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