Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for July 14th, 2014

An endangered species

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Over the three years of this blog devoted to native species I’ve never showed a picture of any that are endangered, but now you’re finally seeing one:

Texas Wild-Rice 8661

Texas wild-rice plants undulate in the flow of the San Marcos River in this downward-looking view.

On May 24th I attended a field trip led by biologist Flo Oxley to look at Zizania texana, Texas wild-rice, an aquatic grass that grows only in the first two miles of the San Marcos River as it emerges from Spring Lake in San Marcos, a town about 30 miles southwest of Austin. Flo told us that attempts to get the rice growing in other rivers in the region had failed, and even attempts farther down the San Marcos River itself haven’t succeeded. There must be just the right balance (I originally typed “rice balance”) of temperature, water flow, minerals, and other factors to make this species happy where it is and unhappy everywhere else.

Texas Wild Rice 8621

Remember that grasses are flowering plants. The little white “feathers” are actually parts of Texas wild-rice’s flowers.


You can read plenty more about Texas wild-rice in the following two articles:



(There’s more interest in this species now than when that article was written.)




© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 14, 2014 at 5:59 AM

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