Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin uses native plants to create sustainable, beautiful landscapes. Our mission is to inspire the conservation of native plants through our gardens, research, education and outreach programs. In doing so, we improve water quality and provide habitat for wildlife while enhancing human health and happiness. We were designated the Botanic Garden and Arboretum of Texas in 2017.

Come visit us and learn how you can make a difference in the world.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin is a botanic garden focused on the conservation of native plants. The center was founded by Lady Bird Johnson and Helen Hayes in 1982, originally as the National Wildflower Research Center. The center promotes its mission to inspire the conservation of native plants through its sustainable gardens, education and outreach programs, and research projects.

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The Center for Native Plants offers visitors a chance to see nearly 900 species of plants that are native to Texas. The 16-acre Texas Arboretum is home to more than 50 species of oaks. The Luci and Ian Family Garden was developed as a model of sustainable design. The Family Garden’s sustainable features earned a 2-star SITES® rating.

Plant Conservation

The Center for Native Plants is dedicated to conserving the increasing number of threatened plant species in Texas. Ongoing projects include seed collection and seed banking of Texas plants for various state and national programs. The Center also works with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on conservation and propagation of threatened and endangered plants. In addition, the Center trains citizen scientists as part of statewide invasive species identification and control efforts.

Ecological Research & Design

The Center’s ecological research and design programs focus on using native plants to address environmental problems, particularly water scarcity, climate change and loss of healthy ecosystems. Active projects include studying the impact of prescribed fire on Central Texas ecosystems, combating invasive species and testing the effectiveness of different native plants and growing media in green roofs designed for arid and semi-arid climates. A signature accomplishment of the research program is the development of a native turf grass, Habiturf®, a resilient and water-saving alternative to commonly used turf grasses. This product is now commercially available as seed. The Center’s recently patented SkySystem™ is a planting medium developed specifically for growing native plants on roofs in hot climates.

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Off-campus consulting extends the Center’s reach by demonstrating sustainable, ecosystem-based landscape approaches in large scale, highly visible projects. These projects often incorporate results from the Center’s research. Center staff work with private and public landowners to create sustainable landscape design and maintenance plans and to oversee their installation and performance. Restoration of degraded lands is another service provided by the Center. Staff researchers also provide botanical survey consultations for national parks and other governmental agencies.

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