Monday, April 2, 2012

A Day Out With Kim

This is Kim, plant ecologist for the refuge.  I had been wanting to go out with her for some time as I love plants as well as the area of Starr County with its rolling terrain.

We found several Peyote plants while we were out from fingernail size to orange size.  Peyote plants contain hallucinogenic substances and have tufts of woolly hair where spines would be.  These are harvested by poachers and they are becoming hard to find.

That is my finger to show you how tiny this one is!!!

This is in the ephedra family, Mormon Tea.  It was once thought to cure syphilis, and is used in some medicines.

We saw many kinds of cacti.  This is a nipple cactus.

Here is pencil cactus...the diameter of a pencil.  Most of the blooms had passed and this one had not opened yet.  I found this one!!!

When Kim discovered this plant, she thought she had discovered a new species.  This is her goal.  We were already thinking of what she could name it.  Not this time as we later found it in the book.  It is Large Flower Broomrape.  Only in Starr County.

This is Hierba  De La Hormiga (ant plant).  

Scarlet Musk Flower, showing the leaves up top as well as the flower.  This is my favorite find.

Purple Ground Cherry.

This was Kim's objective.  Ridding the area of salt cedar.  Since the flood, they have become a real big problem, popping up all over our tracts.

After sawing the tamarisk down, she then sprays this green goop that kills the roots.  The downed tree when left on the ground, can take root once again, so they are removed.

When we came upon this area, my thought was, wow, another potential managed wetland.  I shall show this to Imer.

We saw many threatened and endangered plants on this tract.  It was a really hot day as we walked all through the thorny area, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat.  I even found another Texas Tortoise resting under a bush.

Until next time....

1 comment:

  1. Another great post! That scarlet musk flower is my favorite, too. Love your photos...