Sunday, June 03, 2007

More Enchanted Rock

I took almost fifty pictures of our little walk up a granite dome of Enchanted Rock today, so here are some more of the flora.

The bull nettles above are some of the most viscous stinging plants in Texas. They are covered in glass-like spikes that cause severe itching and large red welts if they come in contact with skin. While the bright green leaves and perky white flowers are attractive, the translucent spikes give a clear stay-away warning after you made the mistake once to try to pick a shoot for a display.

The yucca sends up a the long shoot with white flowers above. This one was almost done with it's bloom, so there are only a few flowers at the top of the spike. The leaves are more obviously painful than the bull nettle's, but they are much less harmful and were useful to Native Americans in many ways.

At several points, recesses in the rock have collected enough soil to be fertile grounds in a wet season like we have recently had. And as with many fairly arid regions, the plants take advantage of the moisture to quickly sprout, bloom, and seed. Although surround by solid granite, the oasis above was remarkably lush with grasses, flowers and cacti.

It is well past cactus-blooming-time, but there were still several breaking out in to bud following the rain. Prickly pear often bloom with a beautiful sunshine yellow, but the ones on Enchanted Rock seem to have absorbed some of the red granite and display the orange hue above.

Up close with some of the lushness. No centimeter of fertile ground goes uncovered by some plant.
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