The winter without a winter
A winter without a winter: that’s what we’ve been having here in Austin, with afternoon high temperatures for the last few weeks usually in the 60s and even 70s. One consequence is that all the usual Eurasian invasives think it’s April in the old country and are acting accordingly: when I went to the Mueller Greenway on January 27th I saw flowers of henbit, sow thistle, pin clover, dandelion, and white sweet clover. Because those are all alien in Texas (and the rest of the Americas), I won’t show them in this blog.
But now for the good news: when I visited the Mueller Greenway I discovered that a few of our native wildflowers have likewise been confused by the warm weather and are also flowering before their usual time. What you see in the picture above is an Engelmann daisy, Engelmannia persistenia, a plant with fuzzy lobed leaves and yellow flowers; the ones here are looking a bit bedraggled, as if awakened prematurely from a sound sleep, which in a sense they were, because this species doesn’t normally bloom in Austin until March and April. Notice that underneath the flowers are several buds, the lowest of which is beginning to open. In the vicinity of this plant I found at least two dozen others of the same species, and although only a few of them had buds and flowers, all the rest looked healthy and developed enough to follow suit soon. So welcome to an Austin springtime in January!
© 2012 Steven Schwartzman