Bluebells and bundleflowers
On the 31st of May I went back to one of the three places on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin where I found bluebells in 2011. The site in question is a sump, and although it was pretty dry after a couple of weeks without rain, ample rain earlier in the season had caused the vegetation to grow up taller and denser than last year—so much so that I had to walk back to my car and put on a pair of hip-high boots to wade through the tall tangles of plants with some impunity.
One of the species that had flourished there was Desmanthus illinoensis, called Illinois bundleflower. Its flowers are small globes of cream-white filaments, one of which you see near the lower left. The “bundle” of the common name refers to each of the clustered masses of small curved pods; you see several of them, still green, mostly toward the right.
And of course you see the bluebells, Eustoma exaltatum, which are among the largest and showiest wildflowers we have in Texas. And of course they’re not blue.
© 2012 Steven Schwartzman