Thanks to a rainy fall and winter and warmer winter temperatures, wildflowers will bloom early this year and the displays will last longer, according to The University of Texas at Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

“Hold onto your hat and fasten your seatbelt,” said Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture at the Wildflower Center, in a media release. “Wildflower season is taking off faster than you expect.”

Most of the wildflowers that bloom in the spring, such as bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, phlox, verbena and a range of other colorful flowers are dependent on autumn rainfall. South Central Texas did its part last fall to soak the ground, making ideal conditions for heavy, long-lasting displays along Washington County roadsides.

There have already been some sightings of bluebonnets. Mountain laurel bloomed early because of warmer winter temperatures. Unfortunately, a late winter cold snap could damage these blossoms. But bluebonnets are hardier and will survive if that occurs, according to the Wildflower Center.

Brenham and Washington County are known for their plentiful and beautiful wildflower displays.

This year, you can find wildflowers and get updates during the blooming season from www.visitbrenhamtexas.com. Click on the Wildflower Watch and Wildflower Map for the latest information.

The site also offers an app you can download on your phone and use to stay up to date about wildflowers and events happening in Washington County. Information about the 2017 wildflower season should be available soon, according to the site.

Another must-see site is the Texas Wildflower Report’s Facebook page. This site has lots of photos and informative posts about all things wildflowers, including the best wildflower displays along the spring “bloom line.” These wildflower sightings are contributed by Texans who scout out the best locations to visit for a breathtaking burst of colors.

The Texas Department of Transportation tends to 5,000 species of wildflowers and native grasses along 800,000 acres of state rights of way. It also has info about wildflowers.

Though it’s not illegal to pick bluebonnets, the state flower, TxDOT encourages people to refrain from picking wildflowers and from damaging them while taking photos. Trampling the flowers prevents these annuals from going to seed so they can bloom again next year.

For more information, visit www.txdot.gov and search for “wildflower program.”