Sunday, May 2, 2010


With visitors from out of town I didn't do very much in the garden last week. Instead, I was visiting nature's garden and identifying all kinds of wildflowers I had never seen before. The identification was made much easier with my new wildflower book, a gift from our friends when we visited the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. This book makes identification simpler because flowers are grouped by color rather than by family.

Out on one of the trails we saw this member of the iris family, Herbertia lahue. It grows in prairies meadows and grasslands so not likely to be found in my rocky neighborhood.

Rather than traveling out of Austin to view wildflowers we stayed closer to home. Hiking the Barton Creek Trail, upstream from Zilker Park we counted 31 different wildflowers. That didn't include woody perennials. Among them were some never previously seen. This is a bull nettle,
Cnidoscolus texanus. Although the flowers had an exotic appearance, one look at the leaves confirmed it as a member of the nettle family. Contact with the fine hairs can result in a severe skin reaction.

Sand bur or Crameria, Krameria lanceolata, grows low to the ground. The name sand bur comes from the seed pods which are covered with barbless spines. Now those are the kinds of burs I wouldn't mind bringing home on my socks!

Another low growing plant, scarlet pea, Indigofera miniata.

I have yet to identify these two flowers. The first growing low to the ground and the second a vine. I may have to send them off to Mr Smarty plants at the Wildflower Center.
We enjoyed three wonderful days of walking, wildflowers and picnics. Now it's back to the garden.
late press- the first is Bladder-pod sida, Rhyncosida physocalyx. Thanks anon.


  1. I've got some plants growing in my yard and I have no idea what they are--they're growing in the grass which means that it was a bird or squirrel deposited seed. Yay for surprises I guess.

  2. Oh my, does that picture of Bull Nettle bring back memories. Summers spent in Wimberley with my grandparents, having adventures in the fields & woods of the Blanco River valley. Bull Nettle would certainly get your attention when you blundered into a patch.

  3. I agree, RBell...I've had many up close, and personal encounters with bull nettle...ugh.

    Mr. P. and I were at the Wildflower Center Saturday. I saw that book, and should've gotten it. The two I have don't tell me all I want to know.

    I have a plant here. It's some kind of onion, but it has a really strange bloom. I guess I need to send a picture of it to Mr. Smarty Plants, too.


  4. I'm a big fan of wildflowers, and it's nice to see some Texas ones. The bull nettle is very pretty.

  5. Would the first of your unidentified blooms be a "just opened" Bladder-Pod Sida I wonder?
    I love that Scarlet Pea.

  6. Katina- I have the same thing. No grass of course. Sometimes I let them go to the point when I find out they are a weed!
    R Bell and patchwork- Not so nice memories eh! We didn't get close enough to test them and of course didn't know their identity until we got home.
    Ruth- Me too. I still have my Observers Book of Wild Flowers that I won in school. Also I picked up a nice English wildflower book at a car boot sale. We have many of the same plants here.
    Anon-Thank you. You are correct. I knew my friend had found it in the book but it was in the whites and I was looking in the yellows. It was a mystery to me what had happened to the flower. Never thought to look in the whites. Your name doesn't begin with M does it!!!!

  7. Have you seen Geyata's new gardening for butterflies book yet? Have 2 copies of her wildflower book - 1 in the car and 1 in the house. It's the best!

    1. No but I need it because I am hopeless at identifying butterflies. Thanks.