Finding Bartonia texana aka: Texas screwstem

The last two Octobers we’ve tried to find the Texas screwstem, Bartonia texana. And we had no luck finding them. But this time we were successful! Actually, Chris was successful because he went out a day before and spent more time looking and expanded his search zone and came home to tell us he had found them! So we made a backpacking trip out of it and stayed out there for a night so we’d have time to take photos and relax a bit for all of the effort bushwhacking to this location involves.


A faded luna moth returning to the soil of the forest.

A three-toed box turtle, Terrapene carolina ssp. triunguis, friend on our way into the area. You definitely don’t come across these very often!

Entertaining Forest was going to be the biggest deal while out there so I brought some art materials for him and of course that handy, dandy digital device, a pad.




We arrived mid-afternoon on a Saturday and packed some drive-thru food for dinner and made our food situation out there easy since it was a simple overnight. Our weakest link in the food department for any camping trip is always Forest because of his pickiness so I tend to pack more than we need so he has more choices.


Spread out in the Forest while Chris went out to take photos that afternoon.

And there it is, the Bartonia texana! Unless you are looking for it, you wouldn’t even notice it. Plus, it is in the seepage swamp and very few people are tramping through there.


Every time I go out I’m most enamored with the veilwort, Pallavicinia lyellii growing on the small rocks just above the water line.


Netted Chain Fern, Woodwardia areolata





Northern Bluethread, Burmannia biflora – We found another patch of these. Last year was the first time we had come across them.

This gives you a bit of perspective on how small the flowering spike is on the screwstem. They barely pop out of the leaf litter a few inches.

Also, another perspective on how close you have to get and how awkward it is to try to photograph these.


I love the quirky, twisty nature of this particular flowering spike.



Forest donned his boots and we took him out to see them as well. He wasn’t too impressed! Haha!


And finally, a Liatris elegans flower on our way out of the area.

And I put together a video you can watch as well!

I love the area this particular group of plants are in and would love to explore a bit more of the area next year. And hopefully find some in other seepage swamps in east Texas as well!

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3 thoughts on “Finding Bartonia texana aka: Texas screwstem

  1. shoreacres says:

    I’d never heard of Bartonia. Now I even know there’s a town called Bartonia in Indiana. I wonder if they’re awash in the plant?

    I smiled at the photos of the photographer at work. It looks like it would be as difficult to photograph as sundews!

  2. The hunt is on!! I love that you guys do this! I would love to be that person, but sadly I don’t think I have the patience or knowledge base! Maybe in another life …

  3. […] +Over the Rainbow Bridge | Leo +Halloween Weekend at Huntsville State Park +Finding Bartonia texana […]

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