Portraits of Wildflowers

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Archive for September 6th, 2013

A closer look at eryngo

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Eryngo Turning Purple 4082

Now here’s a closer look at the other kind of plant you saw two days ago in a photograph from my visit on August 8th to a pond by Naruna Dr. in northeast Austin. This is eryngo, Eryngium leavenworthii, a curious plant that looks something like a thistle, is indeed prickly—the needles can hurt—yet belongs to the same botanical family as carrots, celery, dill, and parsley. I think you can see why people have likened this to a small purple pineapple, even if the purple here isn’t yet as intense as it will get.

UPDATE on December 31, 2013. A comment on the post Eryngo Remains yesterday prompted me to look at distribution maps to find out which species of Eryngium grow in which parts of Texas. To my surprise, I saw that Travis County, where Austin is, plays host to Eryngium hookeri, called Hooker’s eryngo—but I had no idea what that species looks like. When I checked the Native Plant Information Network entry for that species, I found a photograph that looks a lot like the one in this post. Conclusion: this may well be Eryngium hookeri and not the familiar E. leavenworthii I thought it was.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 6, 2013 at 6:12 AM

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