Texas has five distinctive areas: the Panhandle with extreme cold winters and dry barren landscapes; East Texas with plentiful rainfall and deep woods; Central Texas with tree covered hills and mild weather; West Texas with dry, sandy flat land and little rain; and South Texas with harsh desert conditions, some rocky mountains and flat lands.
We like to consider ourselves as being at the top of the Hill Country or Central Texas. That’s stretching the truth a little – actually, a lot. Truthfully, we have some characteristics like West Texas such as the dry climate, but we also have hills and trees and other plants like the Hill Country but colder winters.
All this to explain more about life in Texas than you may have wanted to know.
A botanist friend is willing to identify plants for me from pictures. He tells me that are seven native plum trees in our area making identification difficult. But this one is Sand Plum (Prunus gracilis).
When I took this picture, I thought the red on this Ocotillo was berries. But they look like flowers in this picture; they do bloom in March, so I’m not sure which it is. Ocotillo is indigenous to the desert southwest in the US. It is also called Candlewood, Slimwood, Coachwhip, Vine Cactus, Flaming Sword, and Jacob’s Staff.
It grows here because the rocky soil provides good drainage, and the summers are hot.
Correction: this might be a different variety of an Ocotillo or a Pencil Cactus or something else entirely. Anyone know?
The silky fluff from the seed was used by pioneers to make candle wicks. They would card it and then spin it like cotton.
Among all the other more prominent wildflowers are a few Wine Cups (Callirhoe involucrata). They are a hardy, drought tolerant native to Texas and the central US. They are a full sun bloomer with the flowers closing each evening. The dark color is spectacular. I would love to see a full patch of them, but that’s rare here in nature.
“May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day.” Native American Proverb