2013/03/21 More First Spring Arrivals

Lesquerella argyraea

I am always pleased to have someone to go with me on my nature walks at Wildcat Bluff.  I had a special treat today when Joanne Toler came out to walk with me because she knows a lot more about our resident plants than I do.  Joanne is the current president of the Amarillo Chapter of the Texas Native Plant Society and has contributed hundreds of volunteer hours at the nature center for two decades. She was the first to spot the bladderpod bloom.

The following are some of the other early blooms we found along the way.

Springparsley

Cymopterus bulbosus
Common names for Cymopterus bulbosus include Bulbous Springparsley, Cork Wing and Biscuit Root. It is a perennial plant. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The leaves and root are edible and used as condiments.

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Prairie Flax

Linum perenne
Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers light soils in full sun. Tends to root shallowly in heavy clay soils resulting in increased winter survival problems. Easily grown from seed (some plants may flower the first year). Freely self-seeds in optimum growing conditions. Cut some stems back by 1/2 mid-way through the bloom period to extend flowering. Tolerates heat, humidity and drought. Perennial flax is a short-lived, tufted perennial which typically grows 1-2' tall. Features 5-petaled, sky blue flowers which open for only one day. A profuse bloomer for a period of up to 8 weeks in late spring. Flowers open early on sunny mornings, but petals usually drop by late afternoon. Thin, wiry stems with short, narrow, linear leaves (to 1" long) support profuse numbers of nodding flower buds. Fibrous stems appear delicate, but are extremely difficult to break and were once used in Europe to make linen and rope. The flax plants which are commercially grown today for making linen (from the stems) and linseed oil (from the seeds) are several varieties of annual flax, Linum usitatissimum. (Photo: Dusty Reins)

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Cactus Fruit

Mammillaria
I still have not determined what species of cactus this is but I do know we have very few on our land. It is safe to say it belongs to the Mammillaria family of cacti which has as many as 175 species. The interesting to note about this plant is that it will bloom one year then form these red berry-like fruit the next year.

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When you come out to walk the Nature Trails, be sure to bring a camera and take a bit of time to capture the beauty of our colorful residents.  I would like to see what you see! And post the photos up on our Wildcat Bluff Facebook page to share with our friends!

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