Texas Dandelion ~ Pyrrhopappus pauciflorus
Each year, as shrubs begin to bud and a flush of nearly-green begins to overtake lawns and roadsides, I remember the teasing question from my childhood:
Spring has come, the grass is riz!
I wonder where the flowers iz?
Yesterday, the beginning of this year’s answer came when I discovered some of the first of my beloved spring flowers.
Texas dandelions, visually similar to the European dandelions but in a different genus, suddenly have appeared on small town residential streets and county roads; despite being few in number and a bit bedraggled, they are a welcome sight.
Because of a late, after-errands start, I easily could have missed them. Their showy flowers, composed entirely of ray florets, open early, but close in only a few hours. Somewhat later in the day, when I passed down the same road where I’d found the one shown above, no flowers were visible.
Ten-petal Anemone ~ Anemone berlandieri
Knowing that Ten-petal Anemones have appeared a bit to the north, I stopped by the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge to check a small, meadow-like area where I’ve found them in the past. Numerous flowers had emerged despite a relatively recent mowing; in time, they will overspread the area and host a variety of pollinators.
Texas Vervain ~ Verbena halei
The unexpected prize of the day was a scattering of Texas Vervain at the end of the Brazoria refuge’s auto tour route. Flowering beneath a sign near the Rogers Pond viewing platform, they obviously hadn’t consulted a calendar. March seems to be considered the beginning of their season, but at this spot a variety of flowers appear early or linger late into the fall. Prickly pear, verbena, Indian paintbrush, and firewheels mix with a variety of salt marsh plants, and even ladies’ tresses orchids have popped up in the past.
It’s time to begin looking.