Aureolaria grandiflora and it’s Aureolaria cousins have been on my to-see list for quite a while now. Imagine my surprise when Chris found them growing at Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve last July. I wasn’t expecting them to be there but I should have checked iNaturalist and paid more attention. The bumblebee video is from July at Watson. The other photos are from stumbling across the plant alongside the road in the Turkey Creek Unit of the Big Thicket last September. We’d just come off the Turkey Creek Trail and were walking back to the truck when Chris saw them growing alongside the road. They were more worn since it was early fall by then and getting towards the end of the growing season but a few flowers were still looking pretty good.
The genus itself is widespread throughout most of the eastern US, but the are only a scattered amount of sites in Texas where the plants can be found, and A. grandiflora is by far the most predominant species. Illinois Plants says it is parasitic on oaks, something that this blog post from Dr. Dan Carter at the Prairie Botanist corroborates.