Remnants

 

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.

 

 

Springing Forward

During my years in Iowa, spring meant forsythia, pussy willow, violets, and tulips. Once I moved to Texas, I learned to love bluebonnets: a flower with one of the best marketing teams in the business. Together with Indian paintbrush, bluebonnets define the season for most people, and the ritual of being photographed in a field of the flowers is well-established.

But spring in Texas is more than bluebonnets. These delights, found in and around the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge on February 25, show the bold, colorful, and sometimes prickly side of a spring that’s already arrived.

The blue form of scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis f. azurea) is a lovely variation on a sometimes red or orange flower that’s native to Europe and parts of Asia, but which has naturalized worldwide. Continue reading