Flynn Bogs Chapter V

CHAPTER V - Pitcher Plant Bog


If one follows the ranch roads through pastures thick with Bermudagrass and dotted with fat cattle, one eventually comes to a Pitcher Plant bog in the drainage from a small pond. Many plants previously presented on this tour--Pitcher Plants, Rose Pogonia orchids, Sphagnum moss, Alder, etc.--grow here, but there are some new discoveries too.

Perhaps the biggest surprise for the botanists from Texas A&M was Decodon verticillatus (Water Willow, Swamp Loosestrife, not shown). This willow-like shrub was supposed to grow only in a few deep East Texas counties, but apparently conditions in Leon Co. are just as much to its liking. Inconspicuous most of the year, in August it is covered with bright pink flowers.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower, not shown) was another nice find. It too is more typical of East Texas, but has been found in Robertson and Leon Counties. It has long, thin, pointed leaves and purplish-brown disk corollas. Other interesting composites from this area include Aster umbellatus (Doellingeria umbellata, not shown) and the scratchy-leaved Wrinkled Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa, not shown).

Another uncommon plant is Eryngium integrifolium (Simple-leaf Eryngo, not shown). It has dense round heads of tiny, steel-blue flowers.

A number of more common wetland plants grow here. Sagittaria latifolia (Common Arrowhead) can be found throughout much of Texas. The arrow-head shaped leaves and three-petaled white flowers make the genus unmistakable. The root tubers are edible, giving rise to another common name--Duck Potato.

Sallow Sedge, (Carex lurida), is also common, at least in the eastern half of the state. In Carex, a thin sack called a perigynium surrounds the ovary and later the fruit. This species is fairly distinctive because of its large, long-pointed perigynia.

American Bur-reed (Sparganium americanum, not shown) looks something like a sedge, but actually belongs to its own family, the Sparganiaceae. Its most distinctive feature is its round, spiky fruiting heads.

A final treat at this stop is the diminutive Primrose Violet (Viola primulifolia). Its delicate, purple-veined white flowers can be spotted from February through April or May.


Chapter VI - Large Pond


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