Square-Bud Primrose    Calylophus Drummondianus  

Specimen bloomed 4/21/07

The stigma of this primrose is black and quite conspicuous in the center of the flower.  The yellow flower is attractive to bees, butterflies and birds. The leaf-like sepals which enclose the bud has a square look and once open remains winged by the flowers as they open near sunrise and stay open during the day.

Texas Paintbrush   Castilleja indivisa   Specimen bloomed  4/12/07

It gets its common name because its showy flower resembles a ragged brush dipped in paint with the upper half of each leaf-like bract exhibiting a bright red.  The hairy few-stemmed clumps grow upright to 6-18” tall. This annual is semiparasitic; its roots will grow until they touch the roots of other plant, mainly grasses, then they penetrate the roots of the host plant to obtain a portion of their needed nutrients.

Mexican Hat   Ratibida columnaris    Painted specimen  bloomed  4/19/10

This is a bushy, herbaceous plant 1-4' tall with many spreading branches.  The 3-7 ray flowers, are yellow with brown markings and the flower heads have green columnar disks 1/2-1-1." tall with brown disk flowers. A Biennial or perennial that can be seen in large masses extending for many miles along roadways or covering large areas in ungrazed fields or prairies.

Texas Bluebonnet     Lupinus texensis      Specimen bloomed 3/26/08

The Texas state flower is widely planted by the highway department in its roadside-beautification and erosion-control programs.  These winter annuals are sowed in the first week of September so that the fall rains will germinate the seeds.  The flowers are blue and white in racemes 1½-4” long.  There  are five petals with the upper petal having a white spot that turns wine-red or purplish with age or (some say) with pollination.

Native Wild Poinsettia   Euphorbia cyathophora                         Specimen bloomed 11/4/07

Our annual Texas native Poinsettia grows 6-18” high, usually with a few branches on a single erect stem and is related to the Poinsettia (Euporbia pulcherrima) which is so popular for winter holiday decoration.  The bright red leaf surfaces near the flowers are much showier than the flowers, which are hard to see with the naked eye.  Each inflorescence cup contains several male flowers and one female flower.  When the female flower is fertilized and matures, it extends a 3-lobed capsule from the cyathium.

Yerba Mansa      Anemopsis californica   Specimen bloomed 9/2/04

Its whole name means “herb of the tamed Indian”.  The aromatic rootstock has been put to many medicinal uses such as treatment of cuts and burns and cure for  a variety of gastrointestinal upsets. The range of this plant is Oregon, Utah, Colorado and Texas, growing in low, moist places.  The conical spikes resemble ‘one white flower’ yet at its base are several broad, white, petal-like bracts ½-1” long ; beneath each tiny flower in the spike is a small white bract.

Giant Spiderwort         Tradescantia gigantic                  Painted specimen bloomed 3/23/10

A 1-3 foot tall perennial with dainty, three-petal flowers that vary in color from lavender-blue to pink. The bracts, pedicels and sepals are all densely covered with hairs.  Notably ballooned into a sac-like shape at the base, the bract may be 3-6" long.  Native to Louisiana and Texas.

Indian Breadroot      Psoralea hypogaea   Specimen bloomed 4/9/07

This plant is very sensitive to disturbance and the presence of Indian breadroot usually indicates a healthy prairie.  The short stemmed perennial is covered with whitish hairs throughout and blooms in early spring with flowers in densely congested clusters.  The edible root measures ½-2” in length has a high starch and sugar content and was a good food source for the Western Indian tribes and early explorers.  It is in the herbarium from the Lewis and Clark expedition from 1804.

Pink Evening Primrose       Oenothera  speciosa                 Painted specimen bloomed 4/9/10

The four petaled flowers are dark rosy pink to white and may open in morning or evening.  Buds nodding, becoming erect as flowers open. This lax sprawling plant 7"-24" spreads by rhizomes and will provide massive, dense banks of beautiful pink flowers.

Texas Vervain      Verbena Halei                  Specimen bloomed 3/23/07

This slender branched plant has square stems that rise from a woody base. The numerous ¼ inch purple-blue flowers are trumpet shaped and 5-lobed at rim resembling tiny gingerbread men. It lives about 2 years but reseeds freely. Historically the herb vervain has been used for spiritual purification and love potions and is considered an important medicinal herb.

Nerve-Ray      Tetragonotheca texana      Specimen bloomed 5/8/07

The tetragono in Tetragonotheca means four angled and refers to the square involucre or bracts covering the bud.  The open bracts often turn brownish showing off the sparse yellow rays which have distinct nerve-like lines on the underside and the numerous brownish-red disk flowers in the center. This multiple-branched perennial blooms April to September.

Rain-Lily          Cooperia drummondii      Drew specimen 10/07

This perennial has a beautiful white flower that is sometimes pink-tinged on the outer  surface, fragrant and solitary on a leafless stem and the plants almost always appear a day or so after a rain. The flowers open in the evening and last up to 4 days before turning pinkish and withering.  The leaves from a bulb are gray-green, slender and grasslike. Two similar species of Cooperia grow in the Hill Country and are differentiated by the length of their floral tube and the time of year they bloom.   C. Drummondii has a floral tube of 3-7” long (measured from the swelling of the ovary to the point at which the tube divides into the 6 lobes) and blooms most frequently in September and October.

Slender-Stem Bitterweed            Hymenoxys scaposa        

Painted specimen bloomed 3/5/08

The leafy part of the plant is usually only 3-6" tall, but the erect flower stalks may reach 18" tall sending up a single yellow flower head on each stalk.  Red-brown veins are often visible on the underside of the rays and the leaves are covered with fine soft hairs.  Bill Carr, (botanist from the Nature Conservancy of Texas) wrote me, "That tough little plant can bloom in just about any month but is certainly most conspicuous during winter and early spring when almost everything else is dormant."

Firewheel, Indian Blanket     Gaillardia pulchella    

Painted specimen bloomed  5/14/08

This upright hairy annual produces beautiful masses of brightly colored purplish-red rayed discs tipped with yellow. The flower heads are 1  1/4"-2" in diameter with 6-10 rays. Late in the season it can be a much-branched bushy plant with leaves that can be sissile or clasping.   It is easily grown from seed and can easily re-vegetate a worn-out land  for its natural habitat is sandy or somewhat clayey soils.  ."