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

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