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
Spring Creek Forest Preserve is a protected greenspace managed by the City of Garland, saving this Blackland Prairie remnant from the development that has swallowed up the surrounding area. The primary topographic feature here is Spring Creek, which soon after meets Rowlett Creek and empties into Lake Ray Hubbard. The waterway is lined with buckeyes, juniper, and oaks, and this forest of native trees dominate the park. There is a clearing in a central area consisting of a few acres of shallow, limestone soils that support an abundance of native perennials, some of which were in bloom when I visited back in early May.Read More
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.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
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
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