Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Snow on the Prairie


August is drawing to a close, and the colors along the roadsides and across the fields are starting to fade.  Hills that were painted with Texas Bluebonnets in the spring are now covered in white.  The star-like blossoms of Snow on the Prairie are suddenly everywhere.


Sometimes called Ghost Weed or Goatweed, these wildflowers reach towards four feet and will continue to bloom until the first frost.


It was difficult to get a close-up on a breezy day, so I searched the plant image site maintained by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and borrowed the photo below from the Bruce Leander Collection of wildflower images.


The delicate beauty of their color and form is striking.  Snow on the Prairie (Euphorbia bicolor) is a member of the spurge family.  An annual that is native to the American southwest, it comes to life in the hottest, driest time of year.  The sap is toxic, so cattle won't eat it, and neither will deer or rabbits. Gathering a bouquet without gloves might result in an unpleasant rash!

Mixed in with Snow on the Prairie and still going strong are the straggly arms of Neglected Sunflower (Helianthus neglectus). 


Native to Texas and New Mexico, this rugged annual is a member of the Aster family.  It thrives in the heat, and will easily reach four or five feet, even in dry conditions.


Not neglected by all, here's a happy little bee paying a visit!

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