Tuesday, October 22, 2013

TEXAS NATIVE PLANT WEEK

The third week in October has been designated Texas Native Plant Week. In celebration I am highlighting one of the native plants I have growing in my garden; the blackfoot daisy, Melampodium leucanthus. Mela meaning black, pod meaning foot, leucos meaning white and anthos meaning flower. All from the Greek.



In bloom during almost every month of the year the blackfoot daisy makes a low growing perennial which can reach a diameter of 30" It would be ideal as a ground cover in well drained soil. In my garden it seeds in gravel areas and would like to take over the pathways. I cut it back in the fall so that next year it will be more bushy and manageable.


Sometimes known as the plains blackfoot surely this plant was named for the Blackfoot Indians. The association probably comes for the fact that the Blackfoot sometimes dyed their moccasins black and our little daisy also has a blackfoot.
Each of the notched, white ray flowers is subtended by a small foot-shaped bract which turns black as the flower matures.


It self sows easily popping up in all kinds of locations. This one greets me when I enter the greenhouse. It has lots of company as seeds that fall on the adjacent potting shed floor are swept out into the gravel. This is a great place to 'shop' for new plants.


The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center is celebrating this week with garden walks. If you live close by please join the Texas fall wildflowers in this special garden.

14 comments:

  1. I am not sure that I ever paid any attention to the underside of the petals. I will need to investigate. My plants seem to die out after a couple of years. Have you noticed the same with yours?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are not long lived plants getting very woody as they age. I cut them back if I see new growth at the base. They are also susceptible to root mealy bugs. If you see ants mounding grains around the base then that's what is going on. The little farmers are at it! But mine do seed easily so I always have plenty.

      Delete
  2. What a fun and educational post! I love your "shop for new plants" turn of phrase. That's very clever. Btw, I'm curious to know...how deep is your gravel and what's under it? Plants really seem to like it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gravel depth varies from place to place but it never seems to matter how deep. SOme have dirt under and others have decomposed gravel.

      Delete
  3. One of my dearest favorites, especially for its scent. I love your blog and follow it in my feedreader. Just wanted to say thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I forgot to mention the fragrance. I smell it on warm days when lots of them are blooming. Sort of like almonds. So glad you enjoy my blog.

      Delete
  4. I'd love some seeds Jenny! Interested in a seed swap this winter?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I would love to. What do you have? How did the mallow do this summer?

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a sweet plant! I can tell it loves your garden :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Texas blackfoot daisy is one of my favorites though I've had it die off where it got shaded out. I never trimmed any of mine back previously but now I most certainly will. I'm discovering that copying what you do with your plants is almost always beneficial for mine! I've noted a lot of my native flowering plants seem to appreciate a clean shearing off at the crown after blooms have faded (but as you note only after new growth appears). When do your Blackfoot Daisys go to seed? I never noticed pods after blooming but my current plants are way out towards the curb where I'm not likely to notice and I'd love to grow new starts if I could.

    ReplyDelete
  8. 36" across is amazing...I think with water out here (or over-water) they hit 24", but normally they are 12" wide or so. Where I used to bike, there were a few areas of many of them, and they were often only 6-8" wide, but usually had a few blooms on them all but Jan-March. The power of your humidity I bet! Nice sprawling over your brick edge.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Long time reader, first time poster. I really enjoy your blog. Your posts bring a bit of serenity and beauty to an all too often rough and tumble world. You have a very likable style that shines through in your pics and in the way you word your posts.
    In the past you have shown 'Monarda fistulosa Peter's Purple'. What a great looking monarda. I'm in N. Texas. If I lived in Austin I'm sure I could pick some up from the Wildflower Center. Do you know of a seed source for Peter's Purple? I have looked high and low with no luck.
    many thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by.Peter's purple was passed on to me by our horticulturalist, Daphne Richards. It is a very prolific bee balm spreading by underground roots. Do you live near Dallas because we sometimes come up there and I could bring you some or maybe I could send you a few roots. You can email me at jennyrockroseatgmail.com You would not find this at the WFC as this is not a native. However, so far it has performed well in Austin where other bee balms have failed.

      Thanks for stopping by.Peter's purple was passed on to me by our horticulturalist, Daphne Richards. It is a very prolific bee balm spreading by underground roots. Do you live near Dallas because we sometimes come up there and I could bring you some or maybe I could send you a few roots. You can email me at jennyrockroseatgmail.com You would not find this at the WFC as this is not a native. However, so far it has performed well in Austin where other bee balms have failed.

      Delete
  10. This is my first year to have Blackfoot Daises...just moved back to Texas... so you spur me on to let them seed and spread about within reason. I need a trusty bloomer that can handle the heat and dry conditions. I think native is a good way to go.

    Enjoy your pictures.

    ReplyDelete