Saturday, September 29, 2012

Found treasure!

At least to me, I've found treasure right in our Wildscape. 

We'd been letting this little plant grow in a back-yard bed. I thought it was cow-itch vine. James was skeptical about letting it stay. As it grew, it branched out like shrub, not a vine. Cordelia, a friend who came by for a garden tour yesterday, shook her head and said no, it definitely wasn't cow-itch. I agreed and peered closer at it. Then what the heck was it?

I took a photo and sent it to plant expert Jerry Stacy with our Highland Lakes chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists. "That's aromatic sumac," he replied. "It will be a pretty shrub that provides great bird food."


According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's Plant Database, Rhus aromatica is larval host for the banded hairstreak (Satyrium calanus) and red-banded hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops).

"In spring, fragrant sumac flowers appear before the foliage," the account states. "This shrub turns fall colors of red, yellow and orange. The flower is a nectar source for adult butterflies. Fragrant sumac colonizes to form thickets and looks best when planted en mass or in drift-like plantings as it occurs in nature. It is fast growing, generally pest and disease-free, and drought-tolerant. Colonies are often single-sexed, formed from a single, suckering parent. Only female plants produce flowers and berries."

Oh, please be a female! Please please please!

Thanks, Jerry! I love finding treasures in our Wildscape. 


Cordelia said...

How exciting! I would love to see a drift of it on the wild.

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

I'd love to know who brought it to our yard! :-)

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