Wildflowers

  • Memes,  Outdoors,  Wildflower Wednesday,  Wildflowers

    Birdwing Passionflower, Passiflora tenuiloba | Wildflower Wednesday

    Last summer during our stay near Dripping Springs I spent some time wandering the area just outside of our AirBnB to see what I could glean for iNaturalist. I noticed a gulf fritillary wandering along a vine and it made me pause for a moment. Gulf fritillary should mean a passiflora somewhere but nothing was standing out to me directly as a passionvine. Of course a closer look meant that I found small fruits and flower beds and once I focused in on the interesting leaf shapes I knew it was for sure a passiflora species. My first thought was Passiflora affinis, which I had seen in areas nearby in…

  • Memes,  Outdoors,  Wildflower Wednesday,  Wildflowers

    Edwards Plateau Five-Eyes, Chamaesaracha edwardsiana | Wildflower Wednesday

    In an effort to re-invigorate some of my weekly standards here, I’ll be getting back into Wildflower and Wildlife Wednesdays. Maybe a Wordless Wednesday or two throw in for good measure. I’m going to kick it off with a Wildflower Wednesday! Today’s species is Edwards Plateau Five-Eyes, Chamaesaracha edwardsiana, a new-to-me species that I found last summer at our AirBnB rental in Dripping Springs. As both the common and scientific names suggest, this is an Edwards Plateau specialty. iNaturalist shows most entries for sightings for plants around the Austin to San Antonio areas, with scattered sightings west of there. Bonap has a bit of a broader distribution, with even county…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places,  Wildflowers

    First Encounters with Nodding Nixies (Apteria aphylla)

    Apteria aphylla, nodding nixies, were one of those fall blooming species that I had been dying to see for several years now. Chris couldn’t believe I hadn’t come across any but we hadn’t been in their habitat locations during the fall and typically he’s the one doing the field work these days which meant he’s had ample opportunities to see them, moreso than I have. But, seeing them in person finally happened for me when I came across the in the Big Thicket last year. And there were tons to see! Nodding nixies are in the Burmanniaceae family, which means if you’ve ever seen a Burmannia spp. before, you know…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places,  Wildflowers

    Rhexia + Green Lynx Spider

    On Saturday, Chris and I drove over to Gus Engeling WMA east of Fairfield after we dropped off Forest with Chris’ mom and step-dad for a week visit. He’ll then go to my parents for another week after that. To cap off our kid-free time, we drove over to the WMA to look for some bogs that are tucked away in the property and to see the property itself for the first time. It’s been one that I’ve wanted to visit for a few years now and with good reason—there are some very unique habitats and plants there! We will definitely be going back when it isn’t hot as Hades.…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places,  Wildflowers

    Snow in the Thicket

    In late June we trekked back to Watson Preserve and the Big Thicket to see what might be blooming in early summer. I’d had word that the snowy orchids, Platanthera nivea, were blooming and they were a species I had not seen before. Chris says he had seem them but I wanted to get my own glimpse. They weren’t a disappointment! Found primarily across the coastal south and southeast, east Texas is their western most part of their range. Found within pitcher plant bogs, wet savannas and seeps, these are species you will only find in certain locations and of course being that these locations are increasingly scarce, the orchids…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Wildflowers

    Catchfly Prairie Gentian (Eustoma exaltatum)

    I initially wrote the title of this post as calling this particular species as Texas bluebell. But upon further digging my lumping of all Eustoma sp. together as a Texas bluebell seems to be the wrong way to go. There are three primary species in the US, Catchfly Prairie Gentian Eustoma exaltatum, Texas Bluebell Eustoma grandiflorum, and Showy Prairie Gentian Eustoma russellianum. But then you dig a little further and depending on which site you read, some of these turn into a subspecies of E. exaltatum and other people will use the common name Texas bluebells for them all—and well, maybe it doesn’t actually matter, because common names are common…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Wildflowers

    The Beauty of Asclepias linearis (Slim milkweed)

    This milkweed species has been on my radar to find since last year when I saw several folks post theirs for the iNaturalist City Nature Challenge. It is a more coastal species relegated to particular prairie habitats and of course, we had to seek those habitats out. When we went to San Bernard NWR last month I knew there was a great chance of seeing them there because there were several logged sightings on iNat. If all else failed and we couldn’t find a plant or two I would pull up the app and see if we could find one using that method. We lucked out by finding them in…

  • Outdoors,  Wildflowers

    The Green Milkweed Patch

    A cute little jumping spider… Large milkweed bugs, Oncopeltus fasciatus The green milkweed patch around the corner from our house has been the highlight of these weeks in isolation. Someone mowed the empty lot this year which was good. I had been contemplating doing it myself because grass and shrubs were encroaching on the milkweed and I wanted to increase the milkweed habitat. This year the milkweed is thriving! Lovebug with a bumble bee in the background. This lot is where I’ve primarily gone to get milkweed for the monarch caterpillars the last few years. I’m raising 16 caterpillars this season, eggs harvested from our tropical milkweed. Our tropical milkweed…

  • Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places,  Wildflowers

    Trout Lilies at Tandy Hills

    Continuing in the theme of “OMG, that was this year?” because apparently March has turned into January and is now the longest month ever (beware, I think April is going to be double in length as well)…let’s rewind to a month that blitzed right on by—February. Ah, we were out and about, seeing family and friends, taking hikes. And now? We look fondly back at photos and miss all of that time we spent out of doors (or eating in restaurants, or not being paranoid about the grocery store. Hm, I think I need to write an updated pandemic post…) So, back to our chilly afternoon hike at Tandy Hills…

  • Hiking,  Outdoors,  Texas,  Travel & Places,  Wildflowers

    Texas Spring

    If there’s one thing we can count in in spring here in Texas it is that the bluebonnets and paintbrushes will continue to rise out of the soil and bloom. The sandyland bluebonnets (Lupinus subcarnosus) were the species blooming on our trip over to Lake Somerville State Park last weekend. Only a few paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa) were seen but there were plenty of other wildflowers to gaze upon. We did find these wonderful patches of bluebonnets nearly 2 miles down the trail in an open field as it sloped towards Nails Creek. This weekend is rainy and cooler and so we’re not leaving the house to explore much. I suspect…