North Erath County, Texas, 32.43 lat., -98.36 long. Elev. 1,086 ft. Turkey Creek Quad.
All photographs below may be enlarged with a click of the mouse for maximum detail.
Yesterday, I hiked into the grove. Cool temperatures in the 60s F. Light rain. Saw several blooms of plants I have yet to identify.
This morning, drove to Pecan Tree Pasture to photograph blossoming plants for identification and cut mesquite. Wind is high at 25 m.p.h. plus, sustained. Red Flag warnings are posted on the MSN Weather link for counties west of us (Upper Concho River area) until 8:00 p.m.
This is the Green-flowered Milkweed (Asclepias asperula). I saw only two clumps in the pasture. Several butterflies and bees are on the flower. The Monarch caterpillar feasts on blossoms. It is toxic to animals and probably humans. The pollen may also cause a rash or itch. The Butterfly-weed (not this type pictured) is also known as the Pleurisy-root, known for medicinal value.
I was not aware of its toxicity.
This is a stand of Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella) next to the fence in the far pasture, the biggest stand of this species on the ranch. Alongside State Highway 108, however, extensive Indian Blankets occur. C. and L. Loughmiller, Texas Wildflowers, report that they have seen a forty-acre pasture completed covered in this one species. Many years ago, I saw pastures in San Saba and Lampasas Counties covered in Indian Blanket.
Another name for Indian Blanket is Fire-Wheel.
It has medicinal qualities and the Kiowa considered its emergence good luck. [See Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center notation, Indian Blanket.]
This is the Prairie Larkspur (Delphinium virescens). I found this along the banks of Salt Creek. Again, this is a poisonous plant to animals and humans, although its seeds have medicinal properties.
In typing these plants and blossoms, I am finding more poisonous species than I imagined. The horses leave the Larkspur and Milkweed alone, but I will be cautious during the fall when green grass is gone, as they might sample the plants.
I am excited about this plant and blossom. It is a delicate flower and there are only two stands of it on Flying Hat. It is called Mariposa Lily or Sego Lily (Calochortus nuttallii). One stand is along side the Pecan Tree Pasture road and the other is on the north side of The Grove. I’m anxious to put out this photograph to show you, and I think I have it typed correctly, but later this evening when the wind calms down, I will go and verify.
The Mariposa Lily is considered among the most beautiful wildflowers in southwestern United States (Loughmiller, Texas Wildflowers). This Mariposa Lily on Flying Hat is probably the more common Mariposa, but a Desert Mariposa is quite rare in Texas. Nonetheless, this flower is most delicate and I am excited we have two bunches of Mariposas.
Although I would be disappointed, if anyone can type this otherwise, please enter your rationale in the comment section.
We have beaucoup amount of Texas Groundsel (Ragwort, Senecio ampullaceus) along our pasture roads. The yellow blossoms are striking and until I changed the range strategy, I would shred these plants rather early in the spring. This year, however, I have let them thrive.
Sweet Hija is still at Equine Sports Medicine & Surgery, waiting for the right time to be inseminated.
Shiney is still in Aubrey, learning manners from Jimmie Hardin.
Cut fifteen (15) mesquite bushes from pasture and fence row.
Note: Please check back later today for a verification of the Mariposa.
Correction to Identification
Correction to post, 5/10/2010, 5:38 p.m. The winds died down some and I went back to The Grove to verify the plant and blossom. It is not a Mariposa Lily. It is a Wine Cup (Callirhoe digitata). When I investigated the Wine Cup in the field, I did not separate its petals to count them, but rather relied on the photograph exclusively when I got back to the house. Brenda looked at it and had a question about the stamens and pistil form, but did concur with my first conclusion.
When I went back down to the grove a few minutes ago, I separated the petals to determine if there were three or five or however many. Three petals would be the Mariposa.
As you can clearly see in the Photo 2 of Wine Cup (Poppy Mallow), there are five petals. I also carefully delineated the stem structure and it seems to be C. involucrata (Nutt.) [Wills and Irwin, Roadside Flowers of Texas, p. 153-154].
This plant also goes by Finger poppy-mallow, Poppy mallow, Standing winecup, Wine cup or Winecup.