Neighborhood Plants Video Series brings the rangelands to your neighborhood! Each month, we’ll bring you new videos to help you explore the diversity of Texas plants from your own “backyard”. Check back often to see what’s in bloom!
Crowpoison – a native forb that grows in neighborhoods and rangelands in many Texas counties. Crowpoison is one of the first plants to emerge and flower. In fact, it may be seen blooming almost every month of the year. So it provides an important nectar source for insects, bees, and butterflies.
Pinkladies or Pink Evening Primrose – a native forb that grows in neighborhoods and rangelands in many Texas counties. The flowers of Pinkladies provide nectar to bees and butterflies. The seeds of Pinkladies are eaten by birds and small mammals.
Prairie Onion – a native forb that grows in neighborhoods and rangelands in most Texas counties. The flowers of Prairie Onion can be white to pink in color and provide nectar to pollinators. Prairie Onion has look-a-likes, such as crowpoison.
King Ranch Bluestem – a non-native, invasive grass that grows in neighborhoods and rangelands on over 4-million acres of TX lands. The new spring growth can provide forage for livestock, or it can be cut and used for hay. King Ranch bluestem looks very similar to Kleberg bluestem. Kleberg bluestem grows in Central and South Texas along the Gulf, growing best on loamy to clay soils, while KR bluestem is more widespread. KR bluestem is the main grass seen along TX roadsides.
Rain Lily – a native forb that blooms for a few days after rain in neighborhoods and rangelands. The fragrant flower attracts bees and butterflies. There are two rain lily species that look very similar: (1) Hill Country Rain Lily (Cooperia pedunculata) and (2) Evening Rain Lily (Cooperia drummondii). Both can flower in the spring, but Evening Rain Lily most frequently flowers in the late summer and fall. The length of the perianth, a protective cover enclosing the reproductive organs, distinguishes the two species.
Lazy Daisy – a native forb that blooms in the spring and summer across neighborhoods and rangelands. The flowers attract pollinators. There are many lazy daisy species that look very similar. For example: Lazy Daisy (Aphanostephus ramosissimus var. ramosissimus) looks similar to Aphanostephus skirrhobasis and A. skirrhobasis has several varieties – such as Kidder’s Lazy Daisy and Coastal Lazy Daisy. The small details on the flower parts distinguish the species and often require a magnifying glass to see.
Frogfruit – a native weed that blooms spring, summer and fall across neighborhoods and rangelands. Frogfruit is a low growing plant that makes excellent ground cover and attracts native pollinators. There are several native species of frogfruit, such as Texas frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora) and Lanceleaf frogfruit (Phyla lanceolata). Texas frogfruit leaves are wider at the tip and its serrated leaf edges are mostly around the upper part of the leaf and tip. Lanceleaf frogfruit leaves are often widest near the middle and the serrated leaf edges extend from the tip to below the middle of the leaf. These two closely related frogfruit plants can also form hybrids, which sometimes makes it difficult to identify the frogfruit to species in the field.
Wild Petunia – a native weed that is in bloom this time of year, summer through early fall, across neighborhoods and rangelands. Wild petunia is a low growing plant that attracts hummingbirds and other native pollinators. There are several native species of wild petunia, such as Corzo’s Wild Petunia (R. corzoi), Rio Grande Wild Petunia (R. davisiorum), and not to mention the several varieties of the Carolina Wild Petunia (R. caroliniensis). With so many look-a-likes- it can be difficult to narrow down the exact species of wild petunia in the field. However, the hummingbirds and native pollinators will enjoy them all about the same.