Native Americans, Native Plants

November is Native American Heritage Month. Many Texas state parks have ties to Native American tribes, in the past as well as today.

These tribes have long recognized the many beneficial uses for Texas’ native plants. Here are four plants you can discover all over the state.


Prickly pear cactus, the yellow rose of Texas, was named our state plant in 1995. It’s also an important plant to Texas’ Native Americans, who eat both the prickly pear pads and fruits. Used for medicine too, a cut prickly pear pad can treat a burn.

©Gary Nored


There are many types of yucca in Texas, but they all have something in common. Native Americans of different tribes use them in their daily lives to make soap, fiber for cordage and clothing and often as food.

Cattails aren’t just a place for ducks to hide, Native Americans in Texas use them for roofing materials. The pollen from cattails is often used in their ceremonies, too. 

© Sally and Andy Wasowski, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

These beautiful, red honey mesquite beans are loved by wildlife such as deer, javelina, turkeys and more. Native Americans in Texas also harvest and enjoy the sweet beans by crushing the pods into meal to make small round cakes. 

To learn more about the legacy and heritage of our state subscribe to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. Whether in print or through our mobile app, choose the version that works best for you.

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