The third post covering the flora of the Bar None Ranch in Mason County concludes with the details of the flowering annuals and perennials. As I've made clear in the first and second posts, the more-than-average rainfall this spring in Texas has led to an over-abundance of blooms, and blooming cycles well into the summer months when typically few plants are pushing inflorescence. The following photos are a documentation of these blooms.
Fleabane is a common Aster in Texas. This species stays fairly prostrate and loves well-draining, gravelly soils. It changes form from Spring when the blooms occur on tall stems exhibiting almost a complete absence of leaves until Fall when the tall stalks fall over and the leaves are small and narrow.
Although the blooms differ in coloration in the photos above, they remain the same species and display the variation in inflorescence that can occur, even on the same site. The solid yellow coloration is less common than the blooms with yellow tips and brown basal portions. This species is a Texas constant in the warmer months when not much else is blooming.
This red-blooming annual is also a Texas regular that has become a nursery staple. In the photos above, you can see the aging flower heads that are beginning to dry and disperse seeds.
Having fern-like foliage, Yarrow grows in sun or shade and pushes a bloom head up to 2 feet above the ground. Originally introduced from Europe, it has become naturalized across the state. It is also grown and sold in nurseries and has many bred varieties displaying other bloom colors.
Winecup occurs mostly with a deep purple bloom, but sometimes display pink or white flowers. This perennial is low-growing with deeply-lobed leaves. Bees are the primary pollinator.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to capture this image with the blooms open. This is a green-flowering milkweed and is found throughout the state and westward to Arizona. Like most Asclepias species, this plant is vital for the production of food and as a larval host for monarch butterflies.
Silverleaf Nightshade is found from the southern plains westward to Idaho and California. Some states list this species as noxious as the fruit are said to be poisonous. The latin name Solanum means "quieting", referring to the narcotic quality of these fruits. This plant is typically found on poorly-managed plots or in areas of disturbed soils.
Primroses are common across Texas. Their blooms often last only a day or two, opening in the morning and closing at night. Bees and other pollinators love their blooms, as they are often full of easily-accessible pollen. I'm unsure on the Primrose ID on this specimen as there are so many different species across this state.
Blooming nearly year-round, this average-looking yellow bloomer is usually annual. Its common name is derived from the narrow shape of its leaves and is found throughout the South Central US.
This perennial is easily grown in a variety of soil types including limestone hillsides (like this site). Sown in fall, this wildflower is found in the western 2/3 of Texas and also in select sites in New Mexico and Oklahoma.
One can see from the photo above that this annual coneflower could easily be mistaken for Ratibida (Mexican Hat) or Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan), but the clasping leaves along the single stemmed bloom are what differentiate it from these other genera.
Looking similar to Indian Mallow (Abutilon fruticosum), this plant is often called "False Indian Mallow". The fuzzy, heart-shaped leaves make this an attractive xeric garden specimen for pollinators. This species is unique to the Edwards Plateau and Trans Pecos regions of Texas. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to catch an open bloom.
Even though Mullein is introduced from its native lands of Europe, Africa, and Asia, it has been of great value to Native American people who used the plant for a variety of health remedies. This plant is a biennial, meaning it remains a rosette its first year of life, then blooming in its second year and subsequently dying. Don't worry as it releases a great number of seeds who maintain their fertility for decades.
This Senna was first identified by Ferdinand Roemer, a German geologist who studied plants in the New Braunfels area from 1845 to 1847. This species is found from Central Texas, west to New Mexico. This is another attractive bloomer for the garden as it keeps a compact shape under two feet tall and wide.
Basketflower is a tall-blooming annual found typically south of Kansas and east of the Mississippi. This flower is similar to a thistle, but lacks the characteristic thorns.
Golden Gray Aster makes a great addition to the domestic garden, providing nice contrast between the silvery leaves and the warm, yellow blooms. Plant extracts have been used as a sleep aid.
Rain lilies are always a good indication of intermittent moisture, seemingly popping up overnight following a rain storm. The blooms only last a couple of days and when not blooming, the plant is easily forgettable. Like other lilies, the bulbs are easily transplanted.
Frogfruit is becoming more popular in the nursery industry as a sturdy groundcover for use in sun or shade that can take foot traffic. The blooms are similar to your recognizable verbena, but smaller. Pollinators love the inflorescence.
Morning Glory vines are typically thought of as a very aggressive garden annual that almost uncontrollably reseeds. Using scrub as nature's trellis, this native species of Ipomoea would probably turn aggressive in a controlled environment, but the harsh conditions of the Hill Country keeps its aggression at bay. And who couldn't love that HUGE flower?
Stickleaf is aptly named for the hairy leaves that create an adhesive surface. This species grows in rocky, limestone areas, and typically on slopes. Unlike the other species of this genus, M. oligosperma blooms open in the morning instead of the evening.
I am partial to the Dalea genus because of their delicate, yet showy blooms. D. aurea has blooms that sit atop stems that stand a foot tall or more, dancing in the wind. This species is found from the Hill Country, north to South Dakota.
This annual bears large seeds, as displayed in the above photographs. But the feature that really sets this plant apart are its intricate blooms. The common name of "Clammyweed" is named for the sticky, moist glands on the leaf surface.
Salvia farinacea is widely sold in the nursery industry and many varieties have been created from the original species. The bloom colors often range from purple to nearly stark white. This was the only Salvia species I found on site.
This small Centaurium is similar to its cousin Meadow Pinks (covered later), but this annual species is more prostrate and sprawling. The pink blooms definitely pop against a mostly neutral-colored backdrop.
Huisache Daisy gains its common name because of its habit to grow beneath the Huisache Acacia or similar scrub brush. Amblyolepis is only found in south and central Texas. It often colonizes thickly and forms a flowing carpet of golden yellow.
This Menodora species is also found only in Texas. What makes this perennial unique is that the flower bud is actually red, but when the bloom opens, the petals are a creamy yellow. The plant is rather small, rarely growing over a foot tall or wide.
This was a pretty exciting find. This is one of two species of perennial Indigofera found in Texas, and is named after its identifier, Ferdinand Lindheimer, another New Braunfels resident who is often referred to as the Father of Texas Botany. This species is only found from the western Hill Country to the Big Bend area.
There are several species of Monarda in Texas, and M. citriodora is probably the most common. The blooms are extremely attractive to bees and butterflies, and the species often forms large colonies. The scent of the foliage gives this plant its common name. Upon closer inspection, each flower is covered in white speckles, as illustrated in the above photograph.
This mounding annual forms large colonies and is usually more spectacular in the early spring, but this particular specimen has benefited from the heavy rains and is still showy well into summer.
One of the biggest surprises of the weekend was this very-late-blooming Bluebonnet. Of course, this annual wildflower needs no introduction, but we all know it is rare to find a blooming specimen this late in the season. Again, this is most-assuredly a result of the unusually wet season. And what plant could be more perfect to end on than our state flower?