When the land gets overused
When people overuse their land, certain plants that are good colonizers tend to take over. That’s what I observed on August 15 as I drove on TX 95 near the tiny town of Coupland on the Blackland Prairie northeast of Austin, where I saw three opportunistic native species growing on the opposite side of the barbed-wire fence that lined the road. Today’s photograph shows that view, minus the fence.
The prominent plants with elongated white bracts and often reddish stalks are the picturesquely named snow-on-the-prairie, Euphorbia bicolor. The clustered yellow flowers are buffalo bur, Solanum rostratum. The green plants forming a fringe across the background are broomweed, Amphiachyris dracunculoides. While snow-on-the-prairie and broomweed are at their most prominent in late summer and fall, buffalo bur puts out flowers for much of the year and is therefore not the seasonal indicator that the other two are.
© 2012 Steven Schwartzman