The Bold and the Beautiful

Spanish dagger bud (Yucca treculeana) ~ Brazoria Wildlife Refuge

No, not that The Bold and the Beautiful. To find Brooke brokering a deal with Ridge, complicating her relationship with Thomas, you’ll have to tune in to daytime television.

Here, there’s only a reminder that spring flowers don’t always arrive clad in pastels.  Not only do their complex forms delight the eye, they often provide masses of eye-catching color.

Scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) is an introduced flower that sometimes appears to be scarlet, especially in Europe. In Texas, orange and blue are the predominant colors, and the two often appear in the same group of plants. These are representative of the colonies spreading through portions of the San Bernard refuge.

Lindheimer’s sida (Sida lindheimeri), somestimes known as ‘showy fanpetals’ is slightly larger than the pimpernel flowers, but still small. In the sunlight, its color truly shines.

These are only the appetizers, of course. Sooner than we imagine, Spring’s main course will be served.


Comments always are welcome.
Photos can be enlarged by clicking on the image.

61 thoughts on “The Bold and the Beautiful

  1. I am almost tempted to look to see if Brooke and Ridge are really characters on “The Bold and the Beautiful” but I’d rather look at the flowers. The blue on that Lindheimer’s Sida is gorgeous!

    1. I’ll save you the trouble. That description of the “action” on the tv series is taken directly from its site. I checked it out to be sure TB&TB still was on the air. I’ve never seen it, but I know people who’d rather cut off an arm than miss it. I thought you’d enjoy the colors. That blue’s extraordinary, and it truly is that deeply saturated. It looks just like that in the great outdoors.

  2. A very welcome burst of colour to enliven a snowy day in Ontario. I saw my first Red-winged Blackbirds yesterday, early arrivals. They may wish they had delayed their arrival a week or so.

    1. We had another front blow through last night, so it’s ‘cold’ and very windy today, but despite all that, we’re greening up, and the flowers will continue to bloom. The birds are on the move, though. I’ve been watching the white pelicans take their leave. There are great flocks circling high in the sky, as they do before finally setting out, and some were heading north last week. Once this wind lays, I expect the rest of them to begin moving. I always miss them when they’re gone.

    1. That was fun! I have some photos of Alophia drummondii from East Texas to post. Its common name is propeller flower, so of course rotational symmetry would apply to it, too. My next post here will combine math and poetry rather than math and art — how about that?

  3. Seeing these early flowers always brings a smile to faces. However, the sure, positive, undeniable sign that spring is just around the corner is the return of the vultures. They arrived from Mexico yesterday for their annual warm weather stay, hooray, removing the “road-kill.” (Never thought I’d say HOORAY and ROAD-KILL in the same sentence).

    1. I’m not sure I knew that vultures migrate. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve seen large groups of them swirling in the skies. Perhaps they’ve arrived here for the summer, too. I’ll have to pay more attention. What’s sure is that while your vultures are arriving, our white pelicans are leaving, heading north for their summer homes. Watching migrations is soul-stirring — whether pelicans, or hummingbirds, or vultures.

  4. Those flowers have really brilliant colors. I have found that wildflowers/weeds have beautiful little colorful flowers especially if they can be enlarged. Do you think this front will be the end of winter?

    1. I certainly hope this is winter’s last gasp. It was so windy down here today that work was impossible, so I spent the day taking care of a whole assortment of chores that I’ve been putting off. It seems that tonight will be the coldest, and you may get a little frost. I’ve not checked to see if Tina and others in the hill country will have a last chance for frostweed ice.

      Why so many little flowers are so colorful is beyond me, but I’ve wondered whether it might be to attract their pollinators. The sida and the pimpernel were covered with hoverflies and other tiny insects.

  5. Spring’s appetizers are just as delightful! These are so pretty and yes, the main course soon. (If you saw the snow coming down hard here right now, you’d wonder about that “soon” though!)

    1. I just heard the weather guru on the radio say the low in Houston tonight is predicted to be 34F. I thought that would be for the north end of Houston, but I see we’re predicted to go down to 35F. Still, there are azaleas blooming all over town, and I saw my first redbud today. We’re going to have to find a better metaphor: “Spring Steamroller,” maybe. Don’t get in its way!

  6. I had both the red orange and blue versions of pimpernel on the easement in front of the shop for a couple of years but since the flood clover and hay grass has taken over.

    1. I’ve noticed a lot more clover in some areas that went underwater during Harvey. I suppose it makes sense that some plants would be washed away or suffer from too much water, while seeds of other plants would be moved into new territory. I don’t mind the clover myself, and the bees certainly love it!

    1. That actually makes me happy, Pit. I’ve been trying to shake loose to visit my friend in Kerrville, and I’ve been afraid I’d be too late for the early flowers. Maybe not!

  7. All are bold and beautiful! Spring is happening, there’s no stopping it now, even with late freezes. Oooh, that Lindheimer’s sida is gorgeous; it has “mallow” written all over it. The LBJWC has it listed as native to Texas and Louisiana, no other specifications of distribution. I wonder if it’s more of an East Texas plant?

    1. That’s right; it’s a relative of your favorite globe mallow! It’s not an east Texas plant at all. We have it, but the largest swath of counties where it’s native includes Bastrop, Travis, and Burnet. I’ve found it in Gillespie and Kerr counties, too.

      I’m computerless for a couple of days and I have a terrible time performing the simplest tasks on this iPad, but if you search for ‘Lindheimer’s sida’ and ‘USDA’ the map will pop right up. As I recall, there are only a couple of parishes where it’s listed in Louisiana. Wouldn’t it be pretty combined with the globe mallow?

  8. Still giggling over the B&B reference! I don’t watch it, but like you, I know others who won’t miss their soaps.

    Gorgeous blooms — the orange and blue would be ideal up here, where the U. of Illinois sports those colors in athletics. Me, I’m holding my breath for the bluebonnets and paintbrushes, ha!

    1. When I lived in south Texas, there was one ranching family that gathered for dinner (the noon meal) at the main house every day. I can’t remember now which of the soaps it was, but the father and the two adult sons watched that program nearly every day. It’s not just the ladies who like a good plot line.

      There are a lot of us waiting for the bluebonnets and paintbrushes, Debbie, but these will do for the time being. I almost wish things would slow down a little, but I guess I’m going to have to speed up, instead.

    1. I just saw that we’re supposed to get down to 35F tonight, and I was contemplating whether to get out the frost cloths. I don’t think I will, since the patio in my new place is well protected from any north wind. We’ll see. Our pansies, of course, will do find. They’re used as bedding plants by the commercial landscapers, and they’re blooming all over town right now — snapdragons, too. But if I had rosemary, I’d bring it in, too.

  9. The Spanish dagger is a plant that definitely lives up to its name. I think this is what I have in my yard, I was never sure of its name. I had my son use the tractor to knock it down and then chop it into pieces. I thought I was done with it forever and then about 3 years ago that thing reared its ugly head again. I say ugly, because I once was stuck by it. And I was always afraid that one of my dogs would run into it and be terribly hurt. The off shoot is about 2-3 feet high now and I reckon I had better got someone to hack it off at ground level.

    Your photo is quite lovely and yes mine bloomed beautifully. If only it were not such a dangerous plant when growing in a domestic setting.

    1. Several of the yuccas and agaves can threaten life and limb. A friend was out in her garden and managed to get the point of an agave in her eye. No permanent damage was done, but she did some point-trimming not long after. A tractor and an axe certainly would do a good job on one, thoug they are resilient. It seems that most of the cacti are like that; it’s one reason I ended up with so many pots filled with them, until I said no more, and started giving some away or tossing them out.

      All that said, the flowers are pretty, and fragrant. They certainly do attract the bees.

  10. Those flowers may be little, but they’ve got great, rich colors. Especially that blue.
    I thought your title rang a bell, but couldn’t remember what, until I read Debbie’s comment about a soap opera. We’re headed for some days in the 40’s and 50’s, so spring is headed our way, too, still a ways to go before we’ll see any flowers.

    1. The colors are straight from the camera, too; they really are this vibrant. I love finding a mixed patch, with the blue and orange together. Maybe that’s a favorite combination of Nature, too. Not only are there bluebonnets and red/orange Indian paintbrush, bluebirds combine those colors, too.

      We were cold this week, but tomorrow and Sunday we’re projected to be in the 70s — wtih sunshine. What a treat that will be.

  11. The sida is a striking flower, and such a deep, delightful blue. A meadow dotted with such points of color would be lovely indeed. I seem to recall that the yucca requires the polination services of a specially adapted species of moth in order to produce fertile seed. There is a school of thought that believes the enigmatic “estacado” of “Llano Estacado” refers to the flower spikes of the yucca.

    1. I’ve heard several explanations for the meaning of Llano Estacado, and the yucca flower spikes is one. In a book about the natural history of Texas, the authors list that one, and two more. One is that the Spaniards placed stakes along their route so they could retrace their steps, although there is the issue of where they’d get wood for the stakes. Apparently another explanation depends on estacado being a corruption of estancado, or ‘stagnant water’ — a reference to the playa lakes you’ve mentioned.

      The nice thing about all of these flowers is that they’re just as happy to establish themselves along roadsides, in gravel, and so on. They certainly don’t require pampering.

  12. These are beautiful. Seems like now is a blooming time for many species. I used to think it was in late March or even April, but I was mistaken.

    1. By the beginning of March, we’re seeing a lot of wildflowers here. There may not be the masses of them that will come later, but they’re sprinkled around. I saw a few Texas dandelions today here in town, and a first redbud tree. I suspect that some of the trees bloom earlier in town because of the added warmth from so much concrete. The redbuds I’ve seen out in the country have buds, but no blooms.

  13. That’s an outstanding appetizer. All beautiful and richly colored. Although we are a bit off from seeing our early flowers, skunk cabbage notwithstanding, seeing yours is encouraging and it won’t be long here. We do have a Yucca (Yucca filamentosa-Adam’s Needle) that grows here in the northeast but it isn’t considered native although it is in the Southeast and, of course, your neck of the woods.

    1. I’d never heard of ‘Adam’s Needle.’ When I looked it up, I found the USDA map shows it in exactly one county in Texas, and BONAP doesn’t show it here at all. Oddly, it’s pretty widespread in Kansas, which doesn’t seem like yucca territory to me, but that’s probably my limited experience speaking. You’re right that Y. filamentosa is widespread in the southeast, though.

      I’ll see what else might be around tomorrow. No matter what I do, it’s not going to involve this computer. it’s going to be 70F, and sunny. I’ve had about all the computer I can stand, anyway. I made the move from Win7 to Win10 this week, and I’m tired of fidding with the new system. Everything went perfectly fine, but there’s a lot Microsoft thinks I need that is going to get sent on its way: Candy Crush is only the beginning. There are some things I hate, but I’ve found workarounds for programs I can’t or won’t uninstall, so — onward!

      1. Honestly, I’ve not heard that name either until checking our natives on GoBotany. I wouldn’t think of New England as Yucca territory, at least in the wild, as I’ve only seen it as an ornamental feature in gardens and lawns. I don’t know if it is still thriving, but I have seen it growing between the Jersey barriers along the Garden State Parkway.

    1. And good for you. That’s one of those words I always, but always, have to look up — just to be sure. Of course, I have to look up a good number of flowers, too. My poor brain is getting so full I think it occasionally dumps some information, just because.

  14. Spanish Dagger is a somewhat ominous name for a flower. They are all lovely, though. And I’ve always wondered what a scarlet pimpernel looked like, and why it would inspire a dashing counterrevolutionary aristocrat.

    1. Even after I figured out that the pimpernel is a flower, I couldn’t understand why the tale was called the ‘scarlet’ pimpernel. I finally figured out that the flower in Europe can be scarlet. Why we’re limited to blue and orange I don’t know, but I’m not complaining; both are beautiful.

      Don’t you imagine there were some frontier kids who fought battles with those ‘daggers’? Or maybe not; they can be pretty tough to handle even if you don’t get involved with the business end of one.

  15. Nice appetizers. I don’t think that we have any of those up here. We have seen crocus for a couple of weeks, and the daffodils are coming out, and even some early camellias.

    All this time I thought scarlet pimpernel was just an old-timey book.

    1. We’re a little short on daffodils and crocus (crocuses? croci?) down here, so in a sense these brilliantly-colored flowers may be nature’s way of assuaging our envy. I saw a blooming redbud tree recently, and the number of newly-blooming species I saw this weekend is proof positive that “waiting for spring” is over, at least down here.

      I remember the first time I heard about scarlet-pimpernel-the-book. I thought it was the oddest title ever. It was a good story, though — once I finally got past the title and read it.

    1. Vibrant, they are. They’re some of the brightest of our spring flowers, and the sight of their bold color is delightful. They shine so brightly, it doesn’t matter that they’re small.

    1. Whoops! I confused you. I should have made more clear that the sida is the last photo: the yellow flower. The blue is also a scarlet pimpernel — how confusing is that? In any case, it’s one of the most beautiful blues I’ve seen among the flowers. No pale, pastel blue for these babies!

      1. I am easily confused, Linda. :-)
        If I knew my flowers better, and had paid closer attention to your text, I wouldn’t have made this mistake. But yes, the blue Scarlet Pimpernel still impresses me the most.

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