Rockport, Redux ~ A Most Unusual Blue

When ‘blue’ curls aren’t

One of the prettiest and most interesting plants around, bluecurls (Phacelia congesta) is named partly for its tightly coiled clusters of buds, which uncurl as the flowers develop.

Its flowers usually range from lavender to a truer blue, but bluecurls aren’t always blue, as the example above proves. I’ve seen white blue-eyed grass, white bluebells, and white spiderwort, but this was my first sighting of white bluecurls: a single plant tucked into the middle of a more typical colony.

Bluecurls in the process of uncurling

The plants are especially attractive to bees and butterflies, although a variety of flies and other insects will visit. In his Wildflowers of Texas, Michael Eason notes that bluecurls grow in moist, shady areas during dry years; its presence throughout the open and unshaded cemetery suggests that Rockport shared in this year’s coastal rains.

Butterfly? Skipper? I don’t know, but it seems happy

 

Comments always are welcome.

Rockport, Redux ~ Pretty in Pink

Drummond’s phlox ~ Phlox drummondii

I’ve never heard someone say, “Let’s drive out to the country to see the phlox,” but several varieties of phlox grow wild across Texas, and when they spread their sweet, pink glow across the landscape, they rival even our bluebonnets for eye-catching loveliness.

In early March, Drummond’s phlox (Phlox drummondii) was in full bloom at the Rockport City Cemetery. Named for Scottish naturalist, botanist, and explorer Thomas Drummond, the plant is only one of many that bear his name. During an expedition through Texas in 1835, Drummond shipped specimens and seeds to England, where English botanist Sir W. J. Hooker declared P. drummondii to be “decidedly among the greatest ornaments of the greenhouse in the Glasgow Botanic Garden.”

Drummond’s phlox is known for soft, hairy, and sticky leaves; enlarging the first photo shows the glandular nature of its hairs. Perhaps because of their small size the buds rarely are noticed, but their opening is a delight to behold.

 

Comments always are welcome.

 

Those Heavenly Bluebonnets

Rockport City Cemetery ~ March 7

 

Five species of bluebonnet serve as the Texas state flower, and each graces a particular part of our very large state. For generations, Texans have made pilgrimage to the nearest fields or roadsides for a favorite spring ritual: photographing their babies, grandparents, dogs, bridal couples, or graduates among the iconic flowers.

In the Rockport cemetery, where both the Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) and the sandyland bluebonnet (Lupinus subcarnosus) can be found, even the angels seem to smile when the bluebonnets arrive, posing with uncommon grace for photographers.

 

Comments always are welcome.
Click any image for greater size and more detail.

NOTE: I’ve just learned that six bluebonnet species are considered to be the Texas state flower, not five. Number six (Lupinus perennis) was added relatively recently, but I’m not sure of the exact date.