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.

A Season For Sharing

 

As days grow shorter and plants increasingly transform their flowers into seed, it’s quite common to find groups of insects drawn to the flowers that remain.

Here, skippers have sought out the riches of a late-October Kansas thistle; at one point, seven skippers sipped at this single, still-substantial bloom.

 

Comments always are welcome.

Who’s Got the Button(bush)?

Buttonbush flowers and developing seed head

 

The children’s game called “Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?” isn’t complicated. One child, carrying a hidden button, appears to transfer it into the waiting hands of every other child standing or sitting in a circle. Then, everyone tries to guess who actually received the button.

The flowers of buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis ) wouldn’t do so well for the game; they’re both too large and too delicate. Still, they’re as attractive as the plant is useful. Commonly found in wet open areas, low woods, thickets, swamps, river bottoms and stream or pond edges, buttonbush can live in up to 2 feet of water. This combination of blooming flowers and developing seed head was perched at the edge of a small lake near the Watson Rare Plant Preserve in east Texas; one of my own feet was planted in the water as I took the photo.

Though tolerant of shade, buttonbush blooms most profusely in full sun. The pincushion-like flowers — actually one-inch round ball-like clusters of white blooms — provide nectar for a variety of bees, butterflies, wasps, moths, and beetles, and an assortment of birds are known to visit. Its seeds are favored by waterfowl, and some mammals feed on its twigs.

Widely distributed across the eastern half of the United States, this easy-to-grow native makes a fine addition to gardens and landscapes where moist to wet conditions prevail, although some have found it capable of adapting to drier areas. Its fruits, deep red and sometimes glossy, will last throughout the fall.

Pond Creek Wildlife Management Area ~ Northwest Arkansas

 

Comments always are welcome.