• Outdoors,  Wildflowers

    Texas Wildflowers: Heliotropium curassavicum

    Ah, yet another salt marsh plant! This dicot is a native to the majority of the US and several Canadian provinces. This heliotrope can handle saline and wet communities and is found around salt marshes and margins of wetlands within the interior. It flowers for quite awhile from spring to early fall, preferring mostly full sun. I can’t find a lot about the wildlife value of the plant but I imagine it attracts butterflies. It could be difficult to find in nurseries if you are trying to use it as a garden plant, so maybe starting from seed from a plant in a natural habitat might be the way to…

  • Outdoors,  Wildflowers

    Texas Wildflowers: Distichlis spicata, salt grass

    Ok, ok, this isn’t a wildflower, but a grass, however I really like this grass so I’m throwing it in for fun! Yes, we’re still on a run of salt marsh plants I learned in college and as for grasses, they are really difficult (in my opinion) to key out and since I actually know this one I’m going to share it. As its common name suggests, salt grass is tolerant of saline environments however it is known to grow in non-saline areas. It handles the wet soils well but can tolerate drier, sandier soils as well. In North America the habitat it can grow in is widespread, including the…

  • Outdoors,  Wildflowers

    Texas Wildflowers: Borrichia frutescens, sea ox-eye daisy

    This is another plant I learned in my Coastal Plant Ecology course in college, Borrichia frutescens. Found in dunes and salt marsh areas this is a colorful favorite for those areas. This salt tolerant coastal native is a perennial and has a slight succulent feel if you pierce the leaf. This large colony was found at Texas Point NWR, but anywhere along the Texas coast you can find sea ox-eye daisy. I imagine that the yellow flowers are great wildlife attractors, particularly butterflies and the brown seed heads would make interesting inclusions to cut flower arrangements. If you’ve got a bright sunny spot in your garden and are looking for…

  • Outdoors,  Wildflowers

    Texas Wildflowers: Sesuvium portulacastrum, shoreline purslane

    In my Coastal Plant Ecology course in college this was one of my first plants to learn, Sesuvium portulacastrum. This is a dune and edge of marsh type of plant but it is one of my favorites for its small pink flower and the ability to spread itself across the ground. A succulent, it is an excellent stabilizer of dirt, hence its being found on dunes. It seems to have a worldwide distribution, not limited to the United States, particularly in tropical climes. Native plant nurseries might have the plant for use in the garden, particularly those along coastal regions. Gardeners would find the succulents in the Portulaca genus to…

  • Outdoors,  Wildflowers

    Texas Wildflowers: Vicia villosa, vetch

    I feel fairly certain that this is Vicia villosa, though I am up for someone informing me otherwise. It was growing with the pinkroot and clematis near the Big Thicket. While there are native vetches, this one is a non-native introduced from Europe and has now naturalized across a lot of the U.S. One website states it was introduced as a forage crop for livestock while another states that the seedpods are poisonous to cattle, so your guess is as good as mine! A few butterflies enjoy using vetch (this one and others) as a host plant such as the silvery blue and the orange sulphur. If you are interested…

  • Outdoors,  Wildflowers

    Texas Wildflowers: Spigelia marilandica, pinkroot

    We’d just driven by some coral bean, Erythrina herbacea, when we spotted these flowers. Though we weren’t going terribly fast I initially thought they were the same until I realized they weren’t. Chris reversed the car and we stopped and looked at them for awhile before deciding we’d have to look them up later. This woodland plant likes loamy soils and occurs fairly widespread in the southeastern United States. There’s also another species with a white flower in Texas, Spigelia texana. It seems that it will grow in USDA zones 5 to at least 9 so there is wide variety for garden usage. The shape of this flower seems to…

  • Outdoors,  Wildflowers

    Texas Wildflowers: Clematis crispa, swamp leatherflower

    We first saw this flower on the side of a levee in the Beaumont Unit of the Big Thicket National Preserve. We later found another plant on another roadside in the northern section of the same unit. The initial flower we saw had more purple in it compared to this nearly all white flower above. It appears they can vary in color from pink, blue, purple and white. Blooming throughout the spring to very early fall, Clematis crispa isn’t relegated only to Texas and occurs throughout the southeast. We found this plant among purple vetch and pinkroot, two plants that will be shown on another wildflower post later. The Lady…

  • Creative,  Outdoors,  Wildflowers,  Wildscape Photo

    Texas Wildflowers: Gaura coccinea, Scarlet gaura

    Scarlet gaura is a fairly common herb growing in the central and western United States. Part of the evening primrose family, Onagraceae, it seems to have a variety of color shades. A quick search yields photos of truly scarlet flowers to pink and then white varieties as well. It seems that this plant can be a bit weedy but it has drought tolerant attributes that would lend it to be good in a garden. I might have to add it to mine one day! –Gaura in the garden –Dave’s Garden on gaura –A blog on gaura in the garden –Gaura coccinea information

  • Creative,  Outdoors,  Wildflowers,  Wildscape Photo

    Texas Wildflowers: Oenothera speciosa, pink evening primrose

    Growing up I knew these flowers as buttercups. They would be picked and put into cups to enjoy and I can see my niece Zoe continuing in this fashion as she already collects dandelion flowers from my parents yard. It was only recently when my brother made a comment about them being primroses that I did some research and realized that was what they really were! This perennial is native to the central plains down into Texas and is a prolific bloomer. In fact I’d say it is the prominent flower on the roadsides now. I was thrown off that this was an evening primrose because these flowers are blooming…

  • Outdoors,  Photography,  Wildflowers,  Wildscape Photo

    Texas Wildflowers: Trifolium incarnatum, crimson clover

    I was drawn to this flower while photographing the white bluebonnets and was sad to read that they were not native wildflowers. These European natives are now used for roadside stabilization and as a forage crop for cattle but have taken over some areas and tend to shove natives out of the way. Too bad it isn’t a native because it sure is pretty! –FAO factsheet Other wildflower series: Indian paintbrush Texas bluebonnets