In mid-August, I visited friends who have a beach house in Crystal Beach, a small, mostly weekender, community on Bolivar Peninsula, a landform part of the network of barrier islands along Texas' Gulf coast. This beach is in close proximity to Houston, but is less developed than Galveston, which is just across the bay.
Typical of Texas beaches, with the exception of South Padre, the water is muddy and the sand is pretty brown. But for someone who can count on one hand how many times they've been to a warm-weather beach, it was a treat. Although the weather was not that cooperative, I was still able to observe a lot of great native Texas species of flora, and many are unique to coastal areas.
Morning Glories are well-known as a fast-growing vine that reseeds aggressively. I prefer this form of Ipomoea. The white flowers are stunning and are complimented by attractive foliage. The blooms were just smaller than a baseball. The Beach Morning Glory grows specifically in beach sand, and can be considered noxious.
Yellow Primroses are no stranger to Texas. This Primrose is almost exclusive to the Texas coast. It was first identified by Thomas Drummond, a Scottish botanist who explored Texas between 1833 and 1835.
Strophostyles is a genus of three species occurring in the US. This vine is an annual and has a tendency to twine itself around other supporting plants and their foliage. The short-lived flowers give way to a fuzzy pod of beans, hence the common name.
Croton belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae, one of the largest families of flora. This sub-shrub is rather attractive with fuzzy and gray, nearly completely oval leaves. The blooms aren't of much consequence.
Partridge Pea occurs in much of Middle America and along the east coast. The foliage is an indicator that it belongs in the pea family, Fabaceae, and the leaves clasp shut when disturbed, giving the species another common name of "Sensitive Plant".
Unlike the more well-known, taller-growing sunflowers, this coastal species is shorter growing and creates mounds of smaller flowers set atop slender stems. The specimen photographed here covered an entire dune and was very attractive.
Indian Blanket is common through out the state of Texas and is becoming more popular in landscape installations as a reliable perennial or biennial. The plant is very adaptable and will take on different forms in different growing conditions throughout the state. This specimen appears to almost have waxy leaves.
This species of Heliotrope occurs in a wide range of environs from the Texas coast to arid deserts to alpine mountains. The common condition is very well-draining soil. Quail will feast on its small fruit.
Bacopa has become a relatively-common spring and summer annual in the nursery industry. This native species grows all over the Gulf and southern Atlantic coastlines. It grows in mostly wet conditions and can be completely submerged, often found in estuaries.
Camphorweed, like most other plants found here, prefers sandy soils. Like the name, the foliage does carry the scent of camphor, and the species is listed as a noxious weed in some areas. Even with its faults, this perennial provides forage and shelter to birds and small ground species of animals.
I was inspired by the number of colors and textures at the beach and created an arrangement from what I observed. Many of these blooms are short-lived and aren't ideal for cutting, but they did create a nice composition, and an even better example of what all grows just a few feet from the house.