Summer Wildflowers

The spring flowers in the fields and byways are all gone.  But summer brings another show with equal beauty.  Some of these will survive into the hot months while others will disappear.

earlysummerThe bar ditches along our county road are filled with a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes of flowers.  The rocky, caliche, disturbed areas is where these wildflowers thrive.

earlysummer1I think this bright yellow primrose is a Western Primrose (Calylophus Hartweggii).  It grows low on the ground.

earlysummer2White Milkwort (Polygala alba) is small but attractive in a group.

earlysummer4A bouquet of Indian Blanket, Cut-leaf Groundsel, and Queen Anne’s Lace.

earlysummer5Indian Blankets (Gaillardia pulchella) usually have more shading on the petals than these do.

earlysummer7Before it gets too hot, Queen Anne’s Lace carpets the edges of the road.

earlysummer6Now, after these pictures were taken, they’ve already started to fall away.

earlysummer8

earlysummer9Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) will bloom into the summer and fall as will Sweet William or Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida).

earlysummeraLove the drive along this road.

earlysummerf

earlysummerhA lone Texas Thistle (Cirsium texanum) breaks the white span of Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota).

earlysummeri

earlysummerbNot sure, but think these daisies are Engelmann’s Daisy (Engelmannia peristenia).

earlysummergSumacs growing full and filling in the roadside.

earlysummercTexas Bindweed’s (Convolvulus eqitans) small white flowers are 3/4″ to 1 1/2″ inches wide.  They aren’t noticeable unless one looks closely at the ground.

earlysummereBlackfoot Daisies (Melampodium leucanthum) are hardy little souls that form small rounded clumps.  I tried these in the yard but they really don’t want more water than nature provides.  They will bravely last until late fall.

earlysummerjAs I pull into our property, another sight of late spring, early summer appears – lots of baby calves.  The cattle is not ours but belong to a man who leases the pasture land.

earlysummerkCute.  Reminds me of Norman in ‘City Slickers’.

earlysummerlTall grass from all the rain almost hides the little ones.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas Edison

Tall and Striking

There are several plants that shout southwest to me.  One of them is the Yucca.  Having been around them all my life, I have always them for granted.  Lately, their beauty has caught my eye.

It surprises me to learn that they grow in so many different environments – rocky deserts, prairies, mountains, grasslands, coastal sands, and woodlands.

yucca4“It is nearly impossible for the amateur to distinguish between the species (of yuccas).” according to Texas Wildflowers by Campbell and Lynn Boughmiller.  That sounded like a challenge to me.  But after reading several different sources, I concede that they are probably right.

yuccaIt’s wild how they can hug the embankment beside the road, leaning over and top heavy.

yucca3The late afternoon sun gives their creamy color a yellow cast.

yucca5Yuccas have a specialized pollination system.  Yucca moths transfer the pollen from the stamen of one plant to the stigma of another plant.  Then they lay an egg in the flower.  The resulting moth larva feeds on the developing seeds.  This is where it gets crazy:  they leave enough seeds to perpetuate the species.  What?  They just get full before the seed supply ends?  I know, I know – DNA.

This symbiotic relationship is estimated to have been around for 40 million years.

queenanne2Queen Anne’s Lace or Wild Carrot (Daucus carota) is from the parsley family.  Its taproot can be cooked and eaten.  Queen Anne’s Lace is considered a weed because they spread rapidly.  That’s why they cover large areas beside the roadways.

queenanne5Legend says that Queen Anne, the wife of King James I of England was challenged to create lace as beautiful as a flower.  The picture of the British queen with the high lace collar that has always been in my mind is not Anne, atfter all.

maryqueenofscots2 But rather, Mary, Queen of Scots.  Also, known as Bloody Mary.  So much for my logic about the origin of this plant.  But the image of the intricate lacework still lingers every time I think of Queen Anne’s Lace flowers.

Bold stands the yuccas with their masses of flowers in the wild.  While the delicate Queen Anne’s Lace provides a blanket of white as traffic speeds along.  Close inspection shows the delicate clusters of tiny flowers.

“Love is like wildflowers; it’s often found in the most unlikely places.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson