Wind, Yucca and Wine Cups: A Texas Spring

Two days ago I and the ranchito received 0.25 inch of rain, causing bees to work hard yesterday in the front yard, gathering pollen from an unidentified burst of small white flowers and residual Gyp Indian Blankets.  I have photographed the white flowers and will integrate them into the catalog of Flowers of Flying Hat.  Cool winds blew the yucca blossoms about and I took this video of wind blowing the yucca blossoms.

Rain fell this morning at the house and my commute to Abilene (87.2 miles) was tricky and slick in my large F-250 pickup.  A Federal Express truck with two tandem trailers went off the road west of Cisco on Interstate 20 and turned over.  From what I gathered, passing by in the rain, no fires erupted.  I hope the driver escaped with little or no injury.

Elaine Lee wrote about the Wine Cups in our vicinity.  She lives in Clyde, Texas, and drives to Cisco, Texas, every work day.  Elaine is a careful observer of flora and fauna along Interstate 20, including the ducks on Baird Hill Pond.  She has noticed, as I have, the large flock of wild turkeys that infrequently browse in the field south of Baird Hill.  Elaine writes of the Wine Cups,

I’m certain you are correct about wine cup not being present last year in your location.  This year, and never before, I saw wine cup growing along the highway edge in the Interstate 20 median.  They were growing just west of Putnam, TX and stretched for probably 200 or 300 hundred yards.  Of all Texas wildflowers, I have heard they are the most difficult to become established.  I don’t know if grassfire in the median caused the heat to break their seed covering or ground heat from the drought, but whatever it was, it created a very nice showing this Spring.  In years past I have seen them along the Interstate 20 frontage road not far from my sister’s house in Dallas, but never in this area.  However, I hope they are here to stay since they add another color dimension to the Spring landscape.

In researching the Wine Cup, I have found something quite interesting.  The Wine Cup has native distribution only to southwest Missouri and southeast Kansas, south to to Louisiana and central Texas.  It has spread to other states.  Flying Hat Ranchito is located on the western periphery of central Texas.  My mailing address comes out of Mingus, Texas, but the ranchito is ten-or-so miles southeast of Mingus, back in the hills, in Sims Valley, near Hannibal, Texas.  Hannibal now has one building that used to double as a general store with a Masonic Lodge on the second floor (don’t hold me too tight on these two historical functions of the building for I need to do more research).  The Wine Cups I photographed are six miles away from Hannibal, to the north.

My plans for the weekend include further observations of Wine Cups in the grove area.  At last count, eight Wine Cup blossoms erupted.  Of yucca, some one-hundred stalks abound on the terraces.  One hundred stalks times one-hundred blossoms per stalk equals 10,000 blossoms.  Of rain, 0.25 inch two-days ago, about 0.10 inch this morning.  Of bees and critters?  I will count them another day.

______________________________

Notes, corrections and additions:

From the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, I quote,

Callirhoe digitata Nutt.

Finger poppy-mallow, Poppy mallow, Standing winecup, Wine cup, Winecup

Malvaceae (Mallow Family)

USDA Symbol: CADI2

USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

The wine cup is a perennial growing 8–20 inches tall, depending on moisture and soil, with gray-green stems. Leaves are alternate, basal leaves having stems about as long as the leaf; leaves are coarsely lobed or scalloped to deeply 5-lobed. There are few leaves on the upper part of the stem. Flowers have 5 petals, cup-shaped at first and opening out nearly flat as the flower matures. They are violet to red-violet, sometimes white, 1–2 inches across. The stamens and pistil form a conelike structure in the center of the flower.

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11 Comments

Filed under Succulents, Wild Flowers of Texas

11 responses to “Wind, Yucca and Wine Cups: A Texas Spring

  1. All of nature is pretty amazing..Thank you for sharing your day and life ..

  2. Kittie Howard

    Really enjoyed the video of the Yuccas. I think I’m too far east in LA for the wine cups as I don’t remember them. I like their name. It’s inspiring that they’re returning. My pansies are the size of mounds but should be shriveling for the back-ups plants. Our weather is bizarre, BUT there’s a bit of rain most days, of which I’m MOST grateful. Lawns are emerald green, for a change. And I convinced the HOA to use organic fertilizer, also vinegar for weeds in cracks.

    • Kittie, thank you for commenting. I know you know LA, so if you haven’t seen them, they aren’t there! Emerald green lawns! Mine is a bit brown, but the rains have greened it up a bit. Great on the organic fertilizer. Hope all is well with you, Kittie.

  3. Rubia

    Jack, your nice video reveals just how much yucca you have there on the terraces. Wow I had no idea that you had so much from your pictures! They are gorgeous blowing in the wind! Flying Hat Ranchito native home of the winecup!

    • I like that: Flying Hat Ranchito, native home of the winecup. Thanks, I need to get my field book out and grid sheets and take a quantitative count of blossoms and winecups.

  4. I enjoyed the video. That’s a lot of yucca!

  5. The yucca are so beautiful. Of course the winecups are, too – have you seen many of that other purple lovely, the thistle? They’re just beginning to appear around here. I love them.

    Isn’t it amazing how the number and kind of flowers vary from one area to another? Even within Texas, a hundred miles can make all the difference in the world. Different soil, different conditions – it’s like living in the middle of hundreds of surprise packages!

    • Yes, the thistles are just beginning to come out and I have a tremendously big family of them down by the pond. I will photograph them this weekend. Oh, yes, differences! I’ve seen some whitish thistles, but my thistles are that beautiful purple.

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