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13 Wildflowers in Oklahoma (with Photos)

Wildflowers in Oklahoma are a hidden treasure tucked away among the state’s vast plains and gentle hills. From the delicate elegance of blue wild indigo to the fiery brilliance of Indian blankets, these native flowers transform the state into a living canvas of nature’s artistry. Join us as we take a look 13 of Oklahoma’s wildflowers in this article. 

13 Wildflowers in Oklahoma

The state wildflower of Oklahoma is the Indian Blanket, designated as the state wildflower in 1986. Indian Blanket is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of habitats, including prairies, meadows, and roadsides. It is an important food source for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, and its seeds are also a food source for birds and other wildlife.

Starting with the colorful Indian Blanket, let’s look at 13 wildflowers in Oklahoma.

1. Indian Blanket

Indian blanket flowers
Indian blanket flowers | image by Under the same moon… via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Gaillardia pulchella
  • Zone: 3 – 9
  • Where to see: Western two-thirds of the state
  • Season: May-August

The Indian blanket is a wildflower found in North America and is part of the sunflower family. This plant can grow up to 60 centimeters tall. It has a straight stem covered in hair and colorful flowers that look like daisies and are 4-6.5 centimeters wide. 

The flowers are very pretty and have colors that range from red to yellow, with some having more red and others having more yellow. Blooming from May to August, this resilient wildflower is beloved as the state flower of Oklahoma.

2. Antelopehorn Milkweed 

Antelopehorn milkweed
Antelopehorn milkweed | image by Melissa McMasters via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Asclepias asperula
  • Zone: 5-9
  • Where to see: Eastern two-thirds of the state 
  • Season: May and July

Antelopehorns are plants that grow up to 0.9 meters tall, displaying clusters of greenish-yellow flowers adorned with maroon highlights. Its seed pods are thought to look like antelope horns, giving the plant its name.

This milkweed type provides an important food supply for Monarch and Queen butterfly larvae, and its white latex sap acts as a defense mechanism against predators. Each flower also has large white hoods filled with nectar that’s encircled by pale green petals that form cups. 

3. American Beautyberry

American beautyberry
American beautyberry | image by Carl Lewis via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Callicarpa americana
  • Zone: 7-11
  • Where to see: Eastern third of the state
  • Season: June-August

The American beautyberry is a shrub that’s commonly found in open areas in the eastern third of the state and is native to the area. Its most notable characteristic is the abundant clusters of vivid purple berries it produces, which serve as a feast for birds and animals and aid in seed dispersion.

In addition to its pink blossoms, the ripening of the berries draws numerous wild bird species, such as cardinals and woodpeckers, making it a well-liked option for landscape designs intended to draw in wildlife. 

4. Annual Sunflower 

Annual sunflowers
Annual sunflowers | image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Helianthus annuus
  • Zone: 9 – 10
  • Where to see: Throughout the state
  • Season: July-September

In Oklahoma, you can often spot the annual sunflower, which is known for its bright flowers. It can reach a height of ten feet and has a rough-haired stem that holds a solitary, large flower head atop an unbranched stem. 

The flower head showcases numerous small individual flowers known as florets. The outside ray flowers resemble petals and might be yellow, red, orange, or other hues, while the central disk blooms grow into well-known sunflower seeds. 

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5. Basketflower

American basketflowers
American basketflowers | image by Steve Harbula via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Centaurea americana
  • Zone: 3 – 9
  • Where to see: Throughout the state
  • Season: May-July

Basketflowers are another eye-catching wildflower native to Oklahoma. It gets its popular name from its peculiar inflorescence, which has a unique basket-weaving pattern on the underside.

The pink petals also look like a thistle and have a cream center, which makes a beautiful contrast. Outside of their natural habitat, basketflowers are also grown for their impressive blossoms and are occasionally seen as an escape from agriculture.

6. Bitter Sneezeweed

Bitter sneezeweed
Bitter sneezeweed | image by Hillebrand Steve via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Helenium amarum
  • Zone: 5 – 10
  • Where to see: Throughout the state except in the northwest
  • Season: July-October

Yellow sneezeweed, also known as bitter sneezeweed, is an annual herb that belongs to the daisy family. Native to Oklahoma, this multi-branched plant grows upright and reaches heights of 20 to 70 cm. It bears multiple daisy-like flower heads with spherical centers and up to 250 golden yellow disc florets that emerge atop the stems. 

This lovely plant produces small achenes as fruit, but be cautious because it contains tenulin, which is deadly to both animals and insects.

7. Blue Wild Indigo

Blue wild indigo
Blue wild indigo | image by Ruth Hartnup via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Baptisia australis
  • Zone: 3 – 9
  • Where to see: Throughout the state
  • Season: April-June

The blue wild indigo is one of the most gorgeous blooms you’ll encounter in the state, and it grows in open meadows, along streams, and along woodland edges. This plant is facing challenges in its native areas because of parasitic weevils that affect seed production.

However, it shows resilience with its spreading rhizomes. It reaches a height of 2 – 4 ft. and produces gorgeous pea-like flowers in colors of light blue to deep violet. 

8. Common Broomweed 

Common broomweed
Common broomweed | image by Masebrock via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Amphiachyris dracunculoides
  • Zone: 7 – 10
  • Where to see: Across the state
  • Season: August-October

Broomweed is a tall annual herb that can grow up to an impressive height of 200 cm (7 feet). From August to October, you’ll see vibrant yellow flowers with both ray and disc florets in the state.

This plant can grow well in areas with a lot of calcium and can also survive in places that have been disturbed. It looks really appealing and can adapt to different environments, so it’s a great choice for landscaping.

9. Daisy Fleabane

Daisy fleabane
Daisy fleabane | image by Joshua Mayer via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Erigeron strigosus
  • Zone: 2-9 
  • Where to see: Throughout the state
  • Season: May-late June

The Daisy fleabane is an annual or biennial herb that boasts oval-shaped, hairy leaves clustered near the base. It produces an astonishing display of flower heads, each smaller than a centimeter across, on a profusion of branching stalks. These flowers have white, pink, or blue petals around a bunch of yellow center petals.

10. Heath Aster

Heath aster flowers
Heath aster flowers | image by Joshua Mayer via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Symphyotrichum ericoides
  • Zone: 3 – 10 
  • Where to see: Throughout with greatest populations in the western two-thirds
  • Season: August-November

If you’ve seen white flowers in Oklahoma during the fall season, it’s likely that you’ve seen a heath aster. This flowering plant has stems that are between 30 and 91 centimeters tall, and it has white (or rarely pinkish) flowerheads that are 8 to 10 millimeters across with yellow centers that bloom from late summer to fall. This plant has a rich history of medicinal use among indigenous communities, including revival of unconscious individuals and incorporation into herbal steam baths.

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11. Wild Bergamot

Wild bergamot 
Wild bergamot  | image by Joshua Mayer via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Monarda fistulosa
  • Zone: 3 – 8 
  • Where to see: throughout the state
  • Season: June – August

Wild Bergamot, also called Bee Balm or Horse Mint, typically blooms in mid to late summer in Oklahoma. However, the exact timing of the bloom can depend on factors such as temperature, rainfall, and location. The plant produces clusters of lavender or pink flowers at the top of its stem, which are attractive to pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Wild Bergamot is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of habitats, including prairies, meadows, and along roadsides, and it is an important food source for pollinators and other wildlife.

12. Purple Prairie Clover

Purple prairie clover
Purple prairie clover | image by Nick Varvel via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Dalea purpurea 
  • Zone: 3 – 8 
  • Where to see: Throughout the state
  • Season: June-September

The Purple prairie clover is a perennial herb that showcases dense spikes of vibrant purple flowers during the summer, attracting a myriad of insect species. It’s an interesting plant because of its capacity to adapt to environments with frequent wildfires and reliance on fire to clear off invading plants. It’s common in grasslands, woodlands, forests, and a variety of prairie environments

13. Western Ironweed

Western ironweed flowers
Western ironweed flowers | image by Nick Varvel via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Vernonia baldwinii
  • Zone: 5-9
  • Where to see: Body of the state
  • Season: July-September

The Western ironweed, also known as Baldwin’s ironweed, is a striking perennial herb found in Oklahoma. The plant is known for its fluffy-looking clusters of reddish-purple florets and can grow up to 3-5 feet tall and 12-18 inches wide.

You can usually find these wildflowers in dry soil in prairies, pastures, open areas, and woodlands. Its vibrant blooms attract late summer butterflies, and other insects, while its seeds serve as a food source for birds like American goldfinches. 

Where To Find Wildflowers in Oklahoma

Whether you’re a seasoned wildflower enthusiast or just looking to enjoy the beauty of Oklahoma’s natural landscapes, these locations offer some of the best opportunities to view wildflowers in the state.

  1. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge: Located in southwestern Oklahoma, this refuge is home to a variety of wildflowers, including Indian paintbrush, prairie coneflower, and black-eyed Susan.
  2. Osage Hills Wildlife Preserve: This preserve, located in north-central Oklahoma, is home to a variety of wildflowers, including wild bergamot, prairie clover, and spiderwort.
  3. Keystone Ancient Forest Preserve: Located just outside of Tulsa, this preserve is home to a variety of wildflowers, including trillium, bloodroot, and bluebells.
  4. Beavers Bend State Park: Located in southeastern Oklahoma, this park is known for its beautiful spring wildflowers, including dogwood, redbud, and wild azalea.
  5. Chickasaw National Recreation Area: This area, located in south-central Oklahoma, is home to a variety of wildflowers, including bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, and coreopsis.
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