May 27, 2021

Rare Gems in Edwards County

Over the past 6 months I have begun a journey to recognize the plants around me. I have been surprised to find quite a few that have few observations submitted to iNaturalist, but I see regularly. These are:

1) Edwards Plateau Anemone (Anemone edwardsiana)

I must start with with this early bloomer that introduced me to how little is known about the flora in Edwards County. USDA has records of it growing in 3 counties in New Mexico and 9 in Texas, Edwards County not being one of them. If it weren't for the lifecycle, progress pictures I have been capturing, there would be less than 100 observations in iNat. And yet it appears all over: from cliff edges and crevices in rocks to open meadows and barren slopes.

2) Purple Dalea (Dalea lasiathera)

With less than 30 observations submitted in iNat I find it surprising that I encounter it regularly along the highways in Edwards County. According to USDA, it is found in 27 counties, mostly in the Edwards Plateau.

3) Aristolochia coryi

A member of the Birthwort family with less that 50 observations submitted in iNat. Presents a unique, unassuming flower, and grows vine-like among the rocks throughout the ravines that I wander. Sometimes exposed and sometimes peaking out from bushes. According to USDA it grows in the south-west part of the Edwards Plateau and southern Trans-Pecos. A good one to look for in Big Bend perhaps.

4) Maccart's Swallow-Wort (Metastelma palmeri)

A vigorous climber that closely resembles Bearded Swallow-Wort (Metastelma barbigerum), it has less than 50 observations in iNat. It seems to clamber over many juniper that I target for cutting and brush piles of junipers that I have left scattered. I suspect little is known about it as USDA shows it occurring in a smattering of 7 counties in southern Texas, most of which are not contiguous. As my Metastelma are coming into bloom, I have found all to be M. palmeri so far and I may need to update my previous identifications of M. barbigerum.

5) San Antonio Stoneseed (Lithospermum mirabile)

I've seen fewer this year than I remember from previous years, perhaps being impacted by the big freeze. It too has less than 50 observations in iNat and, according to USDA is scattered across 21 counties in southern Texas.

6) Small-leaf False Cloak Fern (Argyrochosma microphylla)

The last on my list of real rarities, with about 50 observations in the US and 25 in Mexico submitted to iNat. Seen less frequently on my walks I'll be sure to seek it out. A beautiful, delicate fern shown to occur in 14 counties in Texas and 1 in New Mexico according to USDA.

Posted on May 27, 2021 02:03 by bacchusrock bacchusrock | 1 comment | Leave a comment

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