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Queen of the blue mistflowers

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Gregg’s mistflower (Conoclinium greggii)

It has been a while since I posted anything on this blog, and so now we can compute just how long “a while” is.

Of course, this picture was taken several months earlier when I was fooling around with a different camera and lens, and trying to transfer learning between one of two systems (in alphabetical order: Canon and Nikon) without recourse to written instruction. This picture appeared on at least one Native Plant Society of Texas blog, and reappears in these pages because it is quicker and easier than processing some other photo.

Sad to say, the result shown here was probably more a matter of luck than transfer of skill. But it is skill in choosing native plants appropriate to the region that results in the Queen (Danaus gilippus) and Monarch (Danaus plexippus) butterflies that have been seen recently. I did manage to get a shot of the Monarch, but haven’t gone after the Queens yet – it has been windy, and they rarely stay still for long. Why a Monarch is in my neck of the woods in mid-July seems to be one of those outliers to the norm mysteries for which the answer may never be known for sure.

Seasonal post-bloom fine-feathered achenes

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Old man's beard (Clematis drummondii)

Old man’s beard (Clematis drummondii)

It’s getting on past halfway through summer and the Clematis drummondii are starting to show off their old man’s beards – which is interesting, since this plant has both male and female plants – the stamens are sterile on the female plants, and the stigma on the male plants are probably sterile too, I would guess – haven’t seen it documented anywhere yet.

Another common name for these flowers is Virgin’s Bower, or Texas Virgin’s Bower. Go figure.

Malvaviscus arboreus var drummondii – Turkscap

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Malvaviscus arboreus var drummondii - Turkscap

Malvaviscus arboreus var drummondii – Turkscap

Usually one sees this in “full” bloom, although the hibiscus-like flowers never do open up completely. However, the blooms are only just now beginning to show up, and you might miss this bud – if so, this bud’s for you.

 

 

 

Capsicum annuum – Chile Pequin

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 Capsicum annuum - Chile Pequin

Capsicum annuum – Chile Pequin

Hadn’t really looked at the tiny flowers of the Chile Pequin before, but here they are, with a slight touch of purple in them.

Off to the right is the fruit, which turns a bright shiny red when it has fully ripened. Easy to grow, withstands drought, edible, attracts nectar feeders when in bloom and birds after bloom has turned to fruit. Reseeds itself if allowed to.

 

Ratibida columnifera- Mexican Hat

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Ratibida columnifera- Mexican Hat

Ratibida columnifera- Mexican Hat

Also known as Prairie Coneflower,  this perennial also comes with yellow petals instead of the orange, brown, and yellow petals shown here.  In their native environment, they can form large colonies, sometimes interspersed with similarly colored Gaillardia pulchella Firewheel. Whether seen singly or en masse, it is singularly and strikingly sttractive. It is drought tolerant and can grow in a wide variety of soil types.

Maurandella antirrhiniflora-Snapdragon Vine

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Maurandella antirrhiniflora-Snapdragon Vine

leaves and flower

Penstemon tenuis – Brazos Penstemon

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Penstemon tenuis - Brazos Penstemon

Penstemon tenuis – Brazos Penstemon

Peucetia viridans, the green lynx spider, hangs out on one of the purple, bell-shaped blossoms of the Brazos or Gulf Coast Penstemon. The flowers grow on spikes reaching a mere foot to foot and a half in height. They thrive in moist soil and sun and partial shade, in both clay and sandy loam soils. Native to Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi, it can handle poor drainage. A good choice for a perennial garden, it can easily reseed itself and spread through the garden. It is attractive to hummingbirds and nectar feeding insects, which apparently also attracts predators like the spider shown above. Also known as Sharpsepal Beardtongue, the blooms begin in March and continue through June.

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