In the beginning of May 2018, my mother and I visited Caprock Canyons State Park outside of Quitaque, Texas, about 100 southeast of Amarillo. Caprock encompasses over 15,000 acres, an abandoned train tunnel that is home to half a million Mexican free-tailed bats, the Texas State Bison Herd, and over 90 miles of trails.Read More
Cedar Ridge Preserve is a 600 acre tract of land just southwest of downtown Dallas, adjacent to Cedar Hill State Park. The preserve is maintained by Audubon Dallas, including the 9 miles of trails among the hilly terrain of juniper and oak forest.Read More
In the far southwestern corner of Throckmorton County is the YL Ranch, encompassing 5,500 acres of responsibly-managed, grazing pasture among low, rolling hills. Two prominent waterways cross this property; Ranger Creek and Tecumseh Creek, both with exposed limestone bottoms. About 5 miles to the southeast is the famous Lambshead Ranch, established in 1880 after the area was purposely evacuated of the Tecumseh tribe of the Comanche Indians.
The area is dominated by Hackberry and Mesquite trees, along with plentiful grasses and short scrub. Abundant rainfall over the past 2 years has really benefited the perennials, and many early summer bloomers were showing their colors. It was the last day of spring and the temperature would reach the upper 90s. After taking a dip in one of the stock tanks, I set to document some of the more interesting species of the area.Read More
One of Texas' most notable wildflowers, and the state flower, is Lupinus texensis, or Texas Bluebonnet, and there is a festival centered around this flower over one weekend in April each year in Ennis, Texas, a community about 30 miles south of Dallas.Read More
In Plano, a suburban city in the Dallas metropolitan area, the community has purchased 800 acres of farmland and utility right-of-ways to create a sprawling, multi-use park. The design of the park is great in its simplicity as it's mostly open with run and bike trails. The focus of the park is preserving the land and restoring the property to its pre-human existence. The park is also home to one of the few native prairie remnants still intact in Collin County.
Dormant foliage of summer's past can be interesting and beautiful during cold, winter months, but difficult to properly identify. This post will highlight the prairie plants of Oak Point with identifications when possible.Read More
Along Spring Creek, near the intersection of State Highway 190 and US Highway 75 in Collin County, Texas, there is the Spring Creek Nature Area, a section of land set aside by the City of Richardson for public recreation. One would never guess from these photos that this area is bounded by 8-lane highways and mid-rise office buildings. There is a lot of value in these 100 acres, both economically and ecologically. Many Texas native plants call this area home, despite the surrounding decimation. And in a plot-twist at the end of this post, one will see early pioneers called this area home, as well.Read More
It was a very warm August afternoon when my mom and I ventured out along Cement Mountain Road in southeastern Young County, Texas in search of some unique flora. This county-maintained gravel road traverses the transition between the Rolling Plains and Oak Woods eco-regions. The soil here is sandy and conglomerate, proving responsible for the formation's "Cement" name. There is a lot of early Texas history on this topographical rise (it's difficult for me to call this a "mountain"), including the murder of a Texas Ranger by Native Americans in 1864. Luckily for us, there were no aggressive Indians in sight, and the county crews had not mowed the bar ditches all year.Read More
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 documentation of these blooms.Read More