White prickly poppy (Argemone albiflora)
While reports of bluebonnet, Indian paintbrush, and phlox sightings have begun to multiply, I’ve yet to find a mention of this glorious native flower in the postings I’ve read.
No matter. The absence of mentions made finding this trio on a recent drive around the Willow City Loop, near Fredericksburg, wholly unexpected and purely delightful. Discovering pastures and ditches filled with additional flowers thrilled me even more.
Caught in a tangle of prickly pear, dead branches, and eroding rock, my first poppies of the year seemed perfectly situated: truly wild, and eminently Texan.
Comments always are welcome.
Bluebonnet ~ Lupinus texensis
Every spring, Texans indulge in a statewide ritual known as “going to see the bluebonnets.” Most don’t have far to travel, since the flowers can be found in nearly every part of the state. In full bloom, they’re truly spectacular, and well worth the journey.
Originally, Lupinus subcarnosus, a bluebonnet found in sandy loam in southern parts of the state, was named the state flower, but supporters of four other Texas lupine species argued on behalf of their favorites. Eventually, a satisfactory conclusion was reached, and five species of bluebonnet were designated the state flower: L. havardii, the Big Bend or Chisos Bluebonnet; L. concinnus, found in the Trans-Pecos region; L. plattensis, a Panhandle species also known as the dune bluebonnet; and L. texensis, the brilliant blue flower whose colonies carpet central Texas in spring. Should a new species of bluebonnet be discovered, it, too, will become a state flower.
Thanks to geneticists and plant breeders, seeds for maroon or white bluebonnets can be purchased, and differently colored flowers — pink, purple, and white — sometimes are seen in nature.
When I found the burgundy-tinged flower shown above thriving on the Willow City Loop outside Fredericksburg last weekend, I thought it especially elegant. Whether a touch of cold weather affected its color, or whether it’s a natural variant, I can’t say, but I thought it lovely, and delightfully different from the early bluebonnets surrounding it.
A truly blue example of L. texensis
It’s still too early to experience the flowers in their full glory, but when their time comes, I’ll be “going to see the bluebonnets” myself.
Comments always are welcome.
Yucca treculeana, known variously as Spanish dagger, Spanish Bayonet, Don Quixote’s Lance, or Palmito, is a familiar sight in Texas. It begins life as a small, sharp-leaved shrub (see some examples here) but can grow to several feet in height while producing the large clusters of impressive, cream-colored flowers that draw people’s attention.
As the plant grows, dead leaves collect and hang beneath the living. Occasionally, the weight of those leaves, combined with the death of the plant, will topple the yucca to the ground, where it offers shelter to nesting birds, refuge to various other creatures, and opportunities to a photographer.
This one, on the Willow City Loop north of Fredericksburg, Texas, pleased me especially.