Natural History Notes

Sunday, February 22, 2009

olives olives olives (Texas var.)

Went down to the Fort Worth Nature Center yesterday for a winter woody plants ID walk yesterday, led by Suzanne Tuttle. I almost didn't; I've been in bed for a week or more, miserable and sick or depressed or both, but it had been scheduled for months, and I kicked myself into going. Glad I did. Only problem was I was pretty unfit, but it was a slow amble with stops to look at stuff, so no real problem. Betty Zajac, of the Denton naturalists, was there, and she did fall from an unexpected root under her foot. I was afraid I might, but made out OK. And her tumble did her no harm.

I saw one plant I had totally never heard of, Elbow Bush, Forestiera pubescens. Sprawly little deciduous gray thing that was already blooming, little puffs of quarter-inch yellow-green anthers here and there. It's in the olive family, which was actually fairly well represented -— Texas ash, green ash, privet, Japanese ligustrum (both being eliminated, maybe). Also turns out that lilac and forsythia are Oleaceae.

Another new one, that I had heard of before but not seen to know it, was Eve's Necklace, a tree in the Leguminosae, excuse me, Fabaceae. Also in the family, mesquite and honey locust, Gleditsia triacanthos – three-branched spines. Boy, it's a well-armed tree! I don't know if I will recognize Eve's Necklace if I see it again or not; it didn't make a huge distinct impression.

There was a very early Mexican plum blooming; also a pear (non-native) down by the waterside. Today I'll have to get out to feed poor Buddy (made it back to D&L in the nick of time to get him some food, but I was tired and came on home with it). Maybe the big pear's blooming there. I hope Bud's OK after last night's hard freeze; the weather underground site says it was 21! That's way, way colder than I thought it would be. I should have really taken him his food yesterday evening.

So, nice sunny afternoon, sort of sore muscles (muscles? what muscles?) and three hours AT for my master naturalist log.

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