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
On this trip, it was unseasonably wet, as it has been in much of Texas this fall. Foliage and flower colors are especially vibrant when damp, and the muted light of cloud-covered skies only added to the effect. Many plants are even blooming out of season or have abnormally fleshy growth due to the moisture. It is a special time in the Chihuahuan Desert.
This post will cover the more herbaceous plant materials found in Big Bend National Park during my visit in November 2015. (Disclaimer: I realize not all of the plants described here are particularly herbaceous, but they better fit this post than my earlier post about cacti.)
I was especially attracted to this grouping of endemic species. Leucophyllum, Dasylirion, and Ephedra create a contrasting palette of color and texture, and are surrounded by red bedrock. Few could create a similar effect manually.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
Close friends of mine have a wild game ranch off of FM1431, east of Marble Falls in Burnet County. The tract is bordered on the south by the Colorado River and to the north lies the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. Located on the eastern edge of the Edwards Plateau, there is a large variety of flora found here between the limestone outcrops.Read More