Return to PortholeAuthority
Dot Lang's  WildFlower Notebook
for eastern Wise County, Texas
Introduction: 
Why? and a Diary 2012 to 2019
Enter here: 
Click to enter
The whys for these pages:

October 17, 2012 with later edits:

Decided now was the time to put my wildflower photos to use. 

I also needed to make the native wildflowers I've located in my neck of the "woods" more easily accessible as a future resource for myself and that others may use as well.  I do  reserve the rights to these photos so have marked them with my brand.  There will be changes over time as  past floral photos get organized.  Each species will also be on a Family page, sometimes by color, and show the different phases of each plant as they are gathered (my small piece of land has a great variety of local plants, apparently natural and easily accessible for watching growth)

The flora will be shown with  common names, scientific names,  and by color with  my own notes accompanying many of the slim descriptions, which you may or may not find on other websites of Texas Flora.  Note that there is a link page so you may find other, more comprehensive resources for identifying Texas wildflowers.  There may also be some flowers listed that are not native to either Texas or the USA; they will be noted.  I will try to show photos of the plant,  flower & seeds through various stages of their lives so that might make it easier for you to ID.   Species names may be updated in the future to the newer established species names or to correct mis-identified plants.

Be aware that these are not official descriptions or photos of these flowers & plants as that resides with the scientific community.  Some flowers may only be identified with their Genus as there may be several species of the same genus that have similar descriptions and I haven't studied them enough to figure out the differences.  Also, many of these have not been keyed out but id'd thru photos in books and on websites catering to plant identification.  Because of that, there may be mistaken IDs (correcting as I find more evidence of correct name). 

Do not let common names fool you as common names change between regions within a state and between states and between people so one species may have the same common name as an entirely unrelated species or it may apply to several different species in a genus.  I do now have a large key for North Central Texas and that is helping me make corrections on scientific names as needed.  At least the scientific names, even if different, will describe the same plant so can be id'd with more accuracy than a common name.

Another factor on even scientific names.  Since many colleges are now interconnected via the internet (the original purpose of the internet), you will find a number of species with two or more scientific names.  Rule of thumb when I was in college is that the oldest known scientific name of plant takes precedence but I don't have access to that information.  I go by the key that I now have which is a fairly recently researched key and published in 1999..
 Recall, these are my field notes & photos, not scientific descriptions.

There are hundreds of native Texas wildflowers and most will not be represented here since they may not be found in my general area of North Texas.  My pages will cover flowers I find in my local area, a part of east Wise County, TX, east of the National LBJ Grasslands Reserve.   I do reserve the right to add in other flowers in Texas as I find them though, and will mark them with location then.  Recall, these are my field notes & photos.

An observation that has occurred to me over time and reading about Texas Flora.  We are in the fly-way for the annual bird (and other wildlife) migrations.  It may be the reason I see the same flora here that is also found in more northern states in the plains.  It's why I found the Kansas State Wildflower website a useful resource for iding many of the plants I've found here.  Another theory was presented by a facebook friend who mentioned that the various Indian tribes also may have contributed greatly to the spreading of seeds and plants.  On another thought, even the encroaching and receding glaciers during the last ice age may have had a hand in the spreading of many species,



May 2014:  Update on identifications:  As this site is still under construction, I have finally picked up a very large book with keys.  It is the Shiner & Mahler Flora of North Central Texas  by Diggs, Lipscomb, & O'Kennon.  I have found thru the keys, that some identification changes needed to be made.  This just points out that though a photo is very helpful for identifying a plant, a key that leads to scientifically researched descriptions is even better.  Of note is that the latest research is now being done on the DNA level of plants.  There will be changes to how we ID many plants.  Not to worry about for the time being as research thru DNA will take time.
  May 2015: Update on identifications: Where plant labels are in bold, I am satisfied that the ID is correct.  Please don't use my pages as absolutely correct.

In scouring thru my fields this spring, also found that I had several different genuses with 2 species represented in the fields with very similar flower types.  That made me dig deeper into their differences, finding that one had been mis-identified (I had used a flower photo to id it).  That really brought out the reason to use keys with plant descriptions.  It's also made me re-learn more technical botanical terms.



About my background. Have always had an interest in nature because of my mother's guidance, being a Girl Scout, taking high school botany and ecology classes and then onto college. Took plant ID courses along with Botany studies at the college level in California (San Jose State & Foothill College) and 12 years later at Everett Junior College in Everett, WA.,     (it was not my major though, just my personal interest in plants).
Weather  & Seasonal Diary (with latest first):

 
2020:  
Winter thru March, on the wet side.  The lake flooded a couple of times but not too far into the lower field.  It did however, bring in a bunch of floating manure and straw from a neighboring field and deposited in on the lower shale shelf where the more delicate pink flower live.  Covered half the shelf.  Have to remove as it's fire hazard and I do want to see the pink flowers come back.  Other plants have been able to peek above the straw layer such as the onions and a few of the white 
 

2019
April 29,:  Winter started out on the dry side with very little rain each month and a couple of cold spells that dipped into the teens.  Received a little more rain in March, at the right time to get the spring growth started. By mid-April, more typical rain has come through.  Bluebonnet season has been great and my seeds spread in a couple of small areas out front several years ago finally sprouted well.  Hope it's a start to get them to spread more.

Lots of other flowers have come into bloom so far this spring; I especially welcomed the Celestials.  They have made a great showing even though they are only open for about 4 hours each day in the early afternoon.  Another flower that made a spectacular showing in neighboring fields & ditches were the Stemless Evening Primroses,

The Wild Hyacinths are just about finished blooming.  Will have to check the plants to see how well the seeds set this year as that is the only way they spread.  Two white ones showed up this year.  I tagged them.

A few Milkweeds are showning up.  Hope they weren't too late coming up to attract the Monarch and Queen butterflies hatching out or traveling through.  They do host the Monarch and Queen caterpillars.
August 21: Weather was rainy into June then the dry weather hit with very sporadic showers with many dry days inbetween.
Fall: The milkweeds were doing ok but I only saw a couple of queen butterfly caterpillars.  Then one day couldn't find any of the milkweeds.  Don't know what happened to them.

2018

September 26   Apparently didn't update this year until now.  Spring was low in rain, Summer was hot 92 to 100+ from mid June through to early September and mostly dry.  In week into September, we started to get into the 80s and it felt good.  Some rain fell and temps stayed mostly in the high 70s to low 90s. Had one day with lots of rain, 4.1 inches.  The wild flowers started blooming again.   Then today came along  and the wind picked up from the north and the temperature dropped into the 50s- 56 right now! 1pm!.  Fall is here.

Along with the wet weather for the last few weeks, it's brought out the insects.  Lots of butterflies flitting about where they were few and far between.  In invasion of army worms showed up in our back yard.  Yesterday, I discovered that our Yaupon Holly had in infestation of Puss catepillars, a deceptive looking catepillar with the mulitple stingers buried in the fur that covers their body. The fur makes them look so soft and cuddly.  Not for picking up!  Last time I spotted them was back in 2009 on the same Holly.  With today's cold, windy weather though, they have tightened up themselves on the tree, trying to keep warm.  At least this cold snap will slow the mosquitos down.

Two of my roses are still struggling to stay alive, a third died, and the other two are doing OK.  Apparently I'm not a rose gardener.  It did not help that I was gone for a month in the spring, when my flower bed needed me the most.


 
2017

July 15  Summer and late spring has me following the growth of the Rain Lilies, only because I'm finally cleaning out my overgrown, weed infested flower & rose beds.  A number of years ago I had collected seeds from rain lilies sprouting around the yard.  Ended up hurriedly putting a batch of them in my rose bed in one spot.  They survived and every year have produced a bouquet of white flowers after rains in the summer however, the weeds were too high to take photos.  Not any more, cleared out this spring and the rain lilies are giving me an education in how they grow.  This one clump has been producing flowers after just about every rainfall we've had since the beginning of June. I have let them go to seed and plan to reseed them in other spots in the newly cleared bed.   I may even get around to digging up some lawn liles to see what their bulbs look like and how far down in the ground they are.  Spring was rather dry but since June we've had several rain showers, enough to help the roses along and the lilies.
.
Have been watching a seedling by my front door develop.  Was not sure what it was until now when it flowered.  It turned out to be an Ironweed (Vernonia baldwinii).  I'll be transplanting this one somewhere else as it's too tall for the spot but one I wanted to cultivate.
 .
May 14 Spring has been dry this year so far with only one soaking rain and 2 short rains for a total of 2.9 inches.  Storms just seem to be missing us.  However it's been enough to get the flowers blooming but not overwelming.  Some even seem to be doing better with less rain than normal.  Have even spent time clearing out some flower beds that have been neglected almost since we moved in.  Will have to clear out the poison ivy that appeared about 4 years ago.  It's gotten out of hand and in the way.

Winter 2017 was decently wet (4 inches) and unseasonably warm along with roller coaster highs and lows, so early spring plants started blooming even earlier than normal but by the time Spring arrived officially (March 22),, the weather went dry.

2016

Summer 2016
July 15:  Reasonable rainfall for June, not overly wet but it became hot as soon as summer officially started.  July has been hot, in the 90s and barely into the 100s on some days.
New finds for the month of July were two flowers at my favorite corner, a wild rose and an asteraceae.  Have not spent much time outside due to the heat.  I did note that the rarer milkweed I found in that spot is doing a little better this year.  Maybe because of the lower rainfall?  It's just opening it's blossoms now, mid July.
I also found another plant of the Lanceleaf Loosestrife, quite healthy.  Hope to keep it going for the future.
Also found two new tiny pink flowers in my lower field.  Alas, they got mowed off, two weeks later.  Hope they had a chance to reseed before then so some might come up next year.  There were a few of the one of them on the other side of the fence which I can't control what happens to.

Spring 2016:    Still wet but not enough to flood the lake again so far.  April 6 found another plant growing in the lower field that I had not noticed before.  It was id'd for me by Floyd Waller on fb.  You don't know how excited I was to learn the ID for this one as somehow, the plant and seed triggered an old 48 year old memory with the name "arvense" which was Veronica arvense though I couldn't put my finger on the name Veronica.  Thank you, Floyd W.  48 years ago I was taking a plant ID class in CA and had a small collection (7) of different Veronica species I had found & id'd in CA including 1 that the instructor kept for the college collection.  Of course, this one isn't V. arvense but a native plant!  Veronica peregrina ssp. xalapensis.That heart-shaped seed pod had somehow triggered that old memory.  If only I had believed what my brain was telling me to look for.  Well, actually I did but didn't think that it was a Veronica species so didn't bother to look at that genus' descriptions.  Is that a lesson?  I've also located more plants/seeds that survived the flooding to sprout this last fall/winter/ or even this spring.  Even found a variation of a Packera tampicana with white petals, not the normal yellow; it's not listed as a color found with that species in the Shiner/Mahler book.

The Sandwort seedlings have all been blooming this year afterall.

At the end of May, and early June, noticed 2 more plants new to me, both in the Gentian family.  Also found a new plant, not previously found on my land.  It's a tall Gaura with tiny flowers,   Spotted one last year in Taylor County well west of here (Abilene, TX). 
The weather was wet all of  May, picking up over 6 inches, much lower than last year's May though, by about 12 inches.  Had a slight lake flood at beginning of June, just in the lower corner of the property due to almost 3 inches of rain in two days.  Then a dry period which many plants needed by now.

Winter 2016,  Warm winter, dry at first but by mid February, became wet.  Lake flooded again in mid-February but this time went right back down.  The sandwort seedlings survived so if all goes well this next year, they may bloom again in 2017.  Will have to tranplant some of the seedlings to an area that doesn't flood.
 

2015
Fall 2015.  Has been basically dry here since the beginning of July.  We've only had 2.5 inches of rain in that time (July to mid-October) and  that came in  4 rain storms spread over that time period.  Meanwhile have been watching the "Bushy Blue-Stem" grass growing along CR2264 at that one spot.  It's on both sides of the road in that area and in an adjacent field, doing quite well this fall.
Have also made several stops at the corner of my road and another, south of my place.  Have come up with several species that I haven't found on my land.  Nice corner to visit.  Need to make another stop there this week to rephotograph a pink flowering plant I noticed the other day.

Summer 2015, Wet spring continued until July rolled around.  It's been fairly dry since and reaching the point of being hot.  Flooded plants that survived are coming back well.  Even found another new flower today.  Working on it's id as it's another small one.  Will have to ask for help on it. Also got a couple of other plants id'd for me. Still wondering about two species of Grindelia. The key  I'm using  and other sites are not agreeing with the id some experts in the field give one of them.
 

Spring 2015, may end up being known as the soggy spring. 18 inches in May alone at our place.  June has started out dry and finally getting into the 90s by afternoon.

June 17 and another flood (#3) of the lake  into our lower field.  We had about 7 inches of rain in 2 days.  Didn't come up as high as the last one but still did damage to plants that had survived the 2nd one.  Took the high water into summer time as the water was still on the shelf on the 22 but showing that it was receding.  This time the Prairie Flameflowers seemed to succomb for the most part.  Did find one that survived and it had been a healthy one with a large tuber(comparitive for it's small size).  Hopefully we've had all the heavy rainfalls for the year.  The pecans are struggling again but there is still green on both so maybe they'll recover.   The local trees did not like it either and any leaves on branches in the water, turned brown.  The wind blew quite a bit so there is a lot of debris that floated in over the fence line this time.  Easy to spot how high it got.  The white Rosinweed had just started to flower and the plant was covered by water.  It affected the blooms so there may not be any pretty flowers from it this year but it still has blooms on it.

June 6 and another walk down to the lower field showed that both Pecans are recovering.  Yeah!  We don't need another flooding.  We had a 2nd Lake flood after two days that brought over 4 inches of rain on May 28-30.  At least this time the lake came up and went right back down as the rain ended on May 31.  A vine that has been tentatively id'd as "snailseed" also survived. Still have not seen this flower or go to seed in the years we have been here but it is creeping about.  The "clasping leaf coneflowers" appear to have all been killed off so may have to find seed to get them back here.

May 24 as I posted on fb: The ground is soggy wet again. Steady rain, like that in Wa. State. Hope all these plants can survive wet feet. 

Plant report of those plants that were affected by the flooding lake:
Though the lake is down to it's normal level now, it took it about 7 days to get there. Many of the plants that had lived on the shale shelf in our lower field were under water for 6 days. Some did not make it. It looks like the lake took out all of the Minuartia michauxii (Rock Sandwort), the Sanguisorba annua (Prairie Burnet) and some others but the Phemeranthus calycinum (Prairie Flameflower) survived. Not sure if the Sandwort will recover. Hope there is seed that will germinate over the next month or two or next winter.  Had two young pecan trees in the very lower part but one was not tall enough to keep leaves above the water level. It still shows some green on some dead looking leaves so there is hope. The other pecan had one branch of leaves above the water the whole time and those are still green.  Not sure if the Ironweed will make it but it is a perennial so just might. 

The milkweeds in the upper part of that field survived but were in the midst of blooming. Most of the blooms were lost. Maybe they'll re-bloom this summer.  A few set seed.   The Two-Leaved Senna ( Senna roemeriana) survived and are blooming well. The Salvia texana (Texas Sage) did not make it if it was under water but those that were in the field higher up and not covered by water are still ok. The Thelesperma are still blooming. The Spiranthes magnicamporum (Ladies Tresses Orchid) look very healthy, though they were under water for only a couple of days.
Later that day: Took another walk down there just now. It really looks bad for the Rock Sandwort to come back from the plants. May have to depend on any seeds that might still be down there. The Ironweed is doing much better than I thought. Lots of green leaves and shoots unaffected by being buried under water for several days. The Scurfy Peas did not make it as it looks like even the roots were rotted off; but I had found some earlier this month in the upper field so those will continue on. The one pecan with green leaves has new shoots coming out on the other branches but the other pecan is looking sick and not getting enough sun.

May 9, 10,  Downpours, even 1 hour accumulated 3".  Lake in flood. May 11: We ended up with 5.71 inches in the last 48 hours. 3 inches in 1 hour on Saturday! A neighbor up the street reported 6 inches in that same hour, just the difference in the spot of the storm I guess! Over the last 6 days we received 8.25 inches. We are soggy wet. The lake is still up but we are SUNNY today!  The county is no longer considered in drought stage.

May 1:  Lake level is back up to normal. Finally!  Local draught has ended but whole county is still considered in drought as rain storms were not wide spread around the county.  Found another "Fairy Thimbles" plant so am up to 6 now.  The Prairie Bishop's Weed is starting to bloom as is the Puchella (Indian Blanket).  The Prairie Flameflower is also getting ready to bloom but it's a night bloomer so it's pink flowers are usually only easy to spot in the late evening or very early morning.  Lots of milkweed are blooming in the area and my fields.  Banner year for them and hopefully they will provide nectar for the wandering butterflies.

Mid April: Seems that each day I find more species blooming.  The Celestials bloomed this year like they never have since we moved here.  The Wild Hyacinths are also blooming quite well and easy to spot because of the wet winter and spring we've been having so far.
The Stemless Primroses are also blooming well.  Their flowers do not seem to be quite as large as in the past so will need to measure them.  The Pentesmon are just starting to bud out. All 4 plants that I know of in the yard are doing well.  There will be a good crop of Indian Blanket flowers as there are quite a few seedlings doing well.  They should be opening up sooner than normal.  There is another plant I'm keeping an eye on as I don't remember photographing it or even seeing it in the past.  The Blue Flax are blooming well and all over the back field (see ID update above) .  The Gaura are just starting to bloom and the Blue-eyed Grass (Iris family) are doing exceptionally well, particularly since they haven't been mowed down in the last couple of years.  I will need to move some to a planting area.  The Big Fruit Primroses are doing quite well with lots of blooms, at least the ones that didn't get mowed off.

Late March: I noticed the White Rosinweed coming up and the Big Fruit Primrose  showing signs of new growth. This may also be the year that I get the Stemless Primroses blooming again as I spotted lots of seedlings that look like that's what they will be.  The Ceanothus finally started blooming on the last day of March.

Winter 2015 started out wet with good but cold rains about every 7-10 days until February 1, then a dry spell until middle of February. Then the cold hit again with rain, sleet and snow off and on into March.  It didn't start to really warm up until after the first day of spring.  The only flowers showing up would be what most home gardners view as weeds.  Mainly Dandelions and Henbit.  Drabas also started blooming, along with Veronicas and Cranebills.  As spring approached, I also spotted chickweed and False Garlic (Crow's Poison) along with some Spring Beauties and the 10-petal Anenome.  Seedlings of future wildflowers were also coming up.  Spotted lots of the Blue Flax plants sprouting up and watched 2 nice sized plants  of those that are growing in ideal conditions.
The little lake behind our land has been severely depleted of water over the last 3 years but after the rains in mid March, we finally noticed that it's starting to fill up again.  We will need much more rain though to get it back to it's normal level.  At least I happened to notice that a large flock (50) of American White Pelicans had utilized the lake at it's lowest point, fishing for several hours before leaving.

2014
Summer 2014: The perennial False Gaura finallly made  a showing  this year,  one of my favorite summer plants and did much better than expected. 

Spring 2014 was on the dry side but we had some weekly rains in August and a couple in September.  It's been basiclly dry since but enough moisture to find some spring bloomers blooming again this fall.

Winter/spring 2014 was rather harsh at my place with longer than normal cold spells reaching into the single digits (Farenheit) several times and below freezing for many days.  January was decent for rain but February and March were relatively dry.  April and May have also been relatively dry.  This past week (2nd week of May) gave us two separate days of rain and the plants behaved like they had not seen water for weeks (2.5 weeks of hot weather) and with the rain came cool early spring like temps in the 50s at night and 60s during the day.  All of my "Fairy Thimbles" bloomed this year and I noted more of them in the nearby fields and near the freeways.  Other plants appear to show that they enjoyed the harsh winter and look very healthy while others, namely the Gaura, didn't take too well to the late hard frost we had in April.  They finally came back but not well.

2013
Winter through Summer 2013 was relatively dry as we are in a drought plus a grasshopper invasion again.  It affects the plants in blooming and reseeding.

2012
Winter 2012 was a warm winter, with early flowers appearing as early as January 1.  To go along with that, we had some good rains in the spring and a spectacular showing of wildflowers and butterflies.  and a grasshopper invasion which did a drastic number on our photenias and many of the wildflowers... and ALL of the trees, Red oaks,  Bradford pears, and the Hackberrys.


List of wildflowers that I have begun to use in my flower beds:

1. Red Yucca: perennial
2. Rainlily: perennial
3. Moss Rose: annual (hopefully seeds well on its own.
4. Prairie Verbena: perennial
5. Spiderwort: perennial (Tradescantia ohiensis)
6. Indian blanket, Firewheel: annual (seeds well on it's own)
7: Pear Cactus, spineless: perennial
8. Bluebonnets
 
 
 


List of wildflowers I want to use in my flower beds:

Some of these may depend on how well their seeds will germinate for me.

1. Ceanothus (one is already growing in the correct spot on it's own; just have to save it from the lawnmower.  Seeds would work if they will germinate for me.
2. Basket Flower
 

Enter here:
Click to enter

 
 

© 2012-19 Dot Lang/PortholeAuthority
Reach me
Webpage Design/Photos/graphics by Dot