Wildflowers: A visit to my yard - V

Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria)

(February to December)

This member of the sunflower family settles in moist areas of prairies, pastures, and fields. It finds its home in the wettest portion of my backyard. It is an annual that can reach a height of four feet. It was not observerd in the yard before this year, probably because mowing occurred in previous years before it bloomed, because there was a drought last year, or a combination of both. It is also called Garden Coreopsis because it is used in gardens in the west extensively.


The Head (Trisha voelkera)

(January to December)

This ceramic sculpture was made by an artist named Trish Voelker when he was a student at the University of Georgia. It remained for many years in the backyard of an old house where the artist had once lived. When it became likely that the house would be condemned, I rescued it and then took it to Denton, Texas with me some years later. The head is located under a Common Persimmon tree in an island of trees in the backyard. It is covered in the winter to protect it from ice, but braves the spring and summer elements without problem.

Lemon Mint (Monarda citriodora)

(April to October)

This complex flower is named after an early Spanish writer on medicinal plants, Nicolas Monardes. The species name is a combination of "lemon tree" and "having a fragrant smell." The leaves make a tea that smells like lemon. The leaves when dried and crushed can serve as an insect repellant. An oil from it is sometimes used in perfumes. It is also called Horsemint.

Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)

(June to July)

A European introduction, this flower was once common in the wheatfields of England, which were referred to as "corn fields." After it was brought to the United States, it escaped and spread into my yard. The flower comes in blue, white, pink, and purple. Each petal is a tubular floret. It is also called Bachelor's Button and Star Thistle. Thanks go to my neighbor Jackie for identifying this flower.

Texas Thistle (Cirsium texanum)

(May to July)

The flower on this plant is beautiful even though the plant itself with its spiny-toothed leaves has to be carefully avoided. Its habitat is sandy loam in abandoned areas. Although it can grow up to five feet tall and densely cover an area, it is rarely more than a foot tall in my yard and I usually have no more than one or two. The plant is attractive to butterflies and other insects. Goldfinches like to eat the seeds and use the silky fluff of ripened seeds in their nests.

ECH - May 1, 2005
Texas Wildflowers
National Wildflower Research Center
Texas Society for Ecological Restoration
Natural Area Preservation Association
Texas Parks and Wildlife: Nature
Texas Wildscapes
Sally Wasowski's Page
Center for Environmental Philosophy