Just A Fine Day To Take A Drive And Walk Around Our Town

Cercis Canadensis, var. Texensis


Jannie Vaught


To observe the many flowering trees and native plants. The Blue bonnets are up and beautiful, the prickly poppies, white against a backdrop of winter browns and Indian Paintbrush is starting to show, the eye catching orange- red. What has peaked my interest is the Red Bud trees.

So as I was looking at these lovely trees I went a little farther. Texas red bud, Cercis canadensis, var. Texensis. This is possibly the “Best Loved” ornamental native tree in Texas. They seem to appear overnight around the first of March. In all their Magenta Pink glory. They can be magenta , pink, purple and even rarely white. They have shiny heart shaped leaves, multi trunk, light to grey bark with white spots usually not getting taller than 25 ft. are an under story tree. Drought tolerant and Love our thin soils. These bright floral stems are often featured in wedding bouquets. Surprisingly they are in the pea family Their fruit is a red or purplish red to reddish brown pod, 2 to 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide with several seeds inside. They are nectarine for bees, butterfly’s, moths and insects. Larval Host: Henry’s Elfin Butterfly. They thrive in the alkaline soils of Oklahoma and Central and South Texas. These are a legume and edible, The flowers and the pods are used for a variety of foods and often a foraging favorite.

Now that I have a little more information of this beloved flowering Texas favorite I look more closely at the structure and the delicate flower that brings the color back to life in the dreariness of late winters end. Another blooming tree or shrub that is showing color now is the Mountain Laurel,Sophora secundiflora, also known as Mescal bean. Deep shiny green leaves with multi trunk. With is purplish hanging flowers that have the aroma of grape soda.This is a nectarine plant. The pods have a red seed inside that is Poisonous. Clip the seed pods off before they mature if you have children or pets. Another tree shrub that is tolerant to our temperatures and soils and a delight to our winter weary senses. We have a beautiful Mountain Laurel at the side entrance to out LLano Library that many wait for the flowers to appear, then we know that we may have a few more cold spells and the warm weather is close to follow; Even in the long days of late winter we see the natural world appear with abundance, grace and we can the Smell of Spring!

Growing green with Jannie