Cross the U.S. 281 bridge over the Blanco River here right now, and you may notice some TALL yellow flowers in bloom on the west side along the river. Wonder what those are, I mused when I first saw them. So I later e-mailed park manager Ethan Belicek and asked if he knew. In all my years of living in Blanco (and in the state park, too), I'd never seen them before. Could they have arrived via last year's floods?
"What a coincidence," he wrote back. "We were discussing them yesterday. They are river primrose. And yes, since we didn't see much of them before the flood, we are assuming they were washed in."
Note to self: Get over to Blanco State Park and get some photos. Which James and I did today. First, we had a picnic lunch on the west end of the park, overlooking the river. Can this REALLY be August? Impossible! The temperatures are far too mild. So it was a perfect day to get outside.
After lunch, we moved our car and walked down toward the Caswell Nature Trail. Along the way, I took some photos of the river primrose (Oenothera jamesii). Aren't they beautiful?
Instead of going back to the car, we decided to keep going. The lower portion of the nature trail is closed due to damage from the floods. But the upper portion is fine.
|Blue mistflower (Chromolaena ordorata)|
|Likely white boneset (Eupatorium serotinum)|
|Interesting markings on some limestone|
|Seedhead from a mystery legume (see branch below)|
UPDATE–Thank you, Debra and Melissa, for the ID! Yes, this is an Illinois bundleflower (Desmanthus illinoensis). What a cool seedhead!
|Texas kidneywood in bloom|
|End of the trail at the eastern dam|
|Look out, allergy sufferers! The Texas giant ragweed is GIANT!|
|Last look at the river primroses|
|This plant (and photo below) reminds me of a jimsonweed, but the flower heads don't match up.....another mystery.|
UPDATE–Melissa suggested that this plant may be a cockleburr (Xanthium sp.), more specifically a rough cockleburr (Xanthium strumarium). I tend to agree because if I blow up the photo above, I can see small burrs where the leaves join together. Thank you, Melissa!