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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.

Rudbeckia hirta – Blackeyed Susan

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Rudbeckia hirta - Blackeyed Susan

Rudbeckia hirta – Blackeyed Susan

Two of these wildflowers have shown up in my garden this year, most likely sown by birds. Not surprising, since it is one of the most widespread native plants in North America, native across Canada and the U.S. westward to New Mexico. It can grow in many light conditions, from sun to shade, but apparently doesn’t like calcareous or alkaline soils. It propagates itself easily by reseeding and can become aggressive if not faced with competition. It also has been widely used for medicinal as well as aesthetic purposes. What’s not to like about this cheery ornamental? For more information and links to more information than you can imagine, check out the entry at the NPIN plants database.

Rudbeckia hirta - Blackeyed Susan

Rudbeckia hirta – Blackeyed Susan

Maurandella antirrhiniflora-Snapdragon Vine

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Maurandella antirrhiniflora-Snapdragon Vine

leaves and flower

Opuntia species – Prickley Pear

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Opuntia species - Prickley Pear

Opuntia species – Prickley Pear

Caught this bloom today at the Wildflower Center south of Austin. The Prickley Pear Cacti behind my house don’t seem to be in any hurry to bloom, or I’d have taken a picture of one of them instead. Prickley Pear is almost ubiquitous in these parts – they’re what’s left after folks let cattle and goats overgraze their land in order to get the agricultural use tax rate. The “tunas” (fruit) of this cactus is edible, as are the pads, once the spines are removed.  They call them nopalitas and you can search Google to find recipes, products and such.

Pavonia lasiopetala – Rock Rose

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Pavonia lasiopetala - Rock Rose

Pavonia lasiopetala – Rock Rose

Also known as Rose Pavonia, Rose Mallow, and simply Pavonia, this small shrub is a member of the Mallow family. It blooms from April through November, and got started blooming a little earlier this year in March. Its pink flowers remind you of  Hibiscus, but unlike its cousin the Swamp Rose Mallow (found in swamps and ditches), this is found in rocky areas (thus the monicker “Rock Rose”) and slopes in woodlands and at the edge of thickets.

Also known by the scientific name of Pavonia wrightii, Rock Rose is a perennial shrub, with oblong alternating leaves, as seen here. It is drought tolerant and cold tolerant, and can handle full sun to partial shade conditions. It attracts butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds and is a good choice for a perennial garden, providing blooms throughout the summer.

 

Say It Ain’t So, Joe!

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Oxalis dillenii - Slender Yellow Woodsorrel

Oxalis dillenii – Slender Yellow Woodsorrel


From Mr Smarty Plants:

TUESDAY – MARCH 19, 2013

From:Buda, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic:Problem PlantsTurf
Title: How to control Yellow Woodsorrel in Habiturf?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Last year we planted Habiturf in our front lawn and prepared the ground as directed with organic compost. This year we have an infestation of low growing yellow oxalis which we believe came in with the compost as we have not had this before. What do you recommend as a control? as weeding will not get all of it and the areas are large. We are considering using an herbicide knowing it will knock out our grass but then we will reseed.

ANSWER:

Yellow Wood Sorrel, Oxalis stricta, and Slender Yellow Wood Sorrel, Oxalis dillenii, both North American natives, are often unwanted visitors in lawns, especially newly-establish or unhealthy lawns.  As your lawn matures and develops a denser stand of grass, broadleaf weeds like Wood Sorrel will be less of an issue.  Promoting healthy grass growth will eventually pay off in reduced weed infestation.

There are broadleaf herbicides labeled for use on oxalis.  These chemicals are specific to dicot weeds and will not kill grasses and other monocots if used properly.  We take neither a pro nor con stance on garden chemicals, but only urge those choosing to use them to do so in a manner that is safest for them and the environment and to strictly adhere to label directions.

Other than hand weeding, we know of no effective organic control for Oxalis species.

In the words of Lennon & McCartney, how about “Let it be”?
This is a golden opportunity to change from turf to wildflowers.

Oxalis dillenii - Slender Yellow Woodsorrel

Oxalis dillenii – Slender Yellow Woodsorrel

Glandularia bipinnatifida – Prairie Verbena

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Glandularia bipinnatifida - Prairie Verbena

Glandularia bipinnatifida – Prairie Verbena

Also known as Dakota Mock Vervain, these low-lying forbs start blooming in March and continue through December.  They are attractive to butterflies as well as people, and are drought tolerant. Appropriate in the wildflower meadow as well as butterfly or ornamental garden.

 

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