Bluebonnet Bonanza

Because the Bluebonnet season is so short, any time a Texan sees a field of them, it’s an obligation to stop.  Usually, it’s necessary to turn around and find a safe place to park on the side of the highway.

This season is the time to beware of red tail lights in front of you because natives and tourists alike will come to a screeking halt and hop out for photographs.

As we were returning home yesterday from College Station, it was raining and the temperature dropping.  But I couldn’t resist tromping around in the mud to get a few shots.

There are actually four different varieties of Bluebonnets, but the Lupinus texensis is the one seen most often.  Dramatic sweeps in fields along the roadsides of Central Texas make an impressive sight.

A few Indian Paintbrushes were scattered around.  There are also several varieties of Castilleja.  Some have deeper color.  I don’t know which one this is.

Bastard Cabbage is an invasive that ranchers hate in their fields.  But the yellow made a nice contrast to the blue.

Bluebonnets like rocky, uncultivated soil and need good drainage.  That’s why they’re often seen like water flowing down a hillside.

The foliage of Bluebonnets show up nicely here.  Just as the winter is ending, these distinctive little leaves lie close to the ground before it’s bloom time.

The wind was whipping around chilling me to the bone.  Even close to the ground, it was pushing these Pink Primroses (Oenothera speciosa) sideways.

The wind blurred this, but it’s the only one near me where the inside of the flower was open.

Prairie Verbenas (Glandularia bipinnatifida) are also blooming.  They will last a long time, until late fall.  Loved by many because they survive the hot, dry summers.

A wet, misty day, but lovely.

“Life’s like bluebonnets in the spring.  We’re only here for a little while.  It’s beautiful and bitter sweet.”  Aaron Watson

Wild and Beautiful

In the pastures and along the roads, nature is showing its color.

It’s easy to walk right past Algarita (Berberis trifoliolata) because it’s flowers and berries are so small.

When you step up close, the scent of the yellow flowers, the patterns of the crisscross  branches, and the shape of the leaves become noticeable.  But, beware, it is prickly.

The red berries, which are edible and are used for jelly, are just starting to form.  Usually, it blooms from February to April.

To see many of the flowers this time of the year, one must look down.  The flowers of Prairie Fleabane (Erigeron modestus) are tiny:  about 1/2″ to 3/4″ across.  Everyone I spotted had a bug on it.

There are two varieties of Rain Lilies in Texas.  The ones that bloom in the spring are Cooperia pedunculata and have shorter floral tubes.

Water from one of the tanks is still spilling over even though we haven’t had any significant amounts of rain recently.

The bright yellow of the Fringed Puccoon (Lithospermum incisum) is the only reason one would notice this small plant.  All these small flowers can easily be trampled without seeing them.

Fringed Puccoon was used by the native tribes and early settlers to make dye from the roots.  The roots also has medicinal properties.  The Blackfeet people burned the dried leaves and flowers as an incense.

My old pals, Sweet William or Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida) are back.  I love these pretty little flowers that are so plentiful.

Driving between Goldthwaite and San Saba, I just had to stop to snap a picture of  this massive field of bright yellow.  This photo only shows about one third of the field.

I think the plants are Bastard Cabbage (Rapistrum Rusosum).  Although the solid yellow fields are pretty, the plants are extremely invasive and unwanted.

Not sure, but think this is a native blackberry bush that just showed up outside our gate.

Native Redbuds (Cercis canadensis var. texensis) seem to be springing up everywhere.

To see their beauty, get up close enough to hear all the bees.

And to see the two different shades of pink  that make up their blossoms.

Nature is offering the first colors and beauty this time of the year.

“Be selective in your battles.  Sometimes peace is better than being right.” unknown author

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