Temporal Floristic Log
Spring in July!
A recent email from Elizabeth Winston of Peaceable Kingdom Farm:
Have you seen the Eustoma near Independence?  In thirty years here, I've never seen anything like it. Take the road to William Penn.
The vista above, taken along route 390 between Independence and William Penn (3 camcorder frames combined), shows one of many Eustoma russellianum (Hook.) G. Don (Gentianaceae - treated as Eustoma grandiflorum (Raf.) Shinners by Hatch et al, 1990) and known locally as:  Showy prairie gentian, bluebells, lira de san pedro) populations now (11 July 1998) in full flower.  We have seen little evidence of this species in the Navasota flora over recent years and there has been some concern that the local populations are being impacted by native gardeners.  But, no need to worry.  Many of our showy annuals show remarkable flux in population size from year to year and it appears that this growing season - with its record heat and drought - has favored E. russellianum, a species that is distributed throughout Texas and prairie areas of central North America.
The seed bank responsible for this massive population, which probably accumulated over many years, includes a range of genetic variation that is signaled by the presence of rare (only two plants observed) albinos (no corolla pigment).
 See more photos from the Vascular Plant Image Gallery, web links for the Gentianiaceae, and Eustoma specimen records from the Flora of Texas Consortium (mapped or listed).
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