ranchmagazine.com

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Sheep & Goat Fund

Home Columns Range Plants
Jake Landers' Range Plants

Chittamwood—Thorny Small Tree

E-mail Print PDF

Chittamwood can be identified in winter profile by it Witches Broom clusters where mistletoe has attached. By Jake Landers
Published April 2012

Jake LandersFew people recognize Chittamwood.  I once tried to identify a tree by telephone for a rancher.   He said it was thorny and had rusty red bark where cattle had rubbed against it.  By a process of elimination I suggested it might be Chittamwood, and when I saw it a few weeks later while working on a poisonous plant problem on his ranch, I found out I had guessed correctly.

Chittamwood is a small size tree that can form thickets several hundred feet across.  The bark of young Chittamwood is a smooth grey, or a splotchy grey before it takes on the thin cracking and reddish brown bark of old age.  Rubbing off the outer layer reveals a rusty red layer beneath, often seen where deer have rubbed their antlers, probably one of the most preferred trees for this activity.

Add a comment
Read more...
 

Rosettes Give Wildflowers Early Start

E-mail Print PDF

By Jake Landers
Published March 2012

Jake Landers Huisache Daisy rosettes, grey green with spatula-shaped leaves, emerge in the winter to get a head start on spring growth. Many native wildflowers start in early spring as rosettes. With winter moisture many native plants germinate and survive the winter as a rosette to get a head start on spring growth.  The leaves hug the ground and claim as much space as they can to keep other plants out.  Sunlight, soil moisture, and a little warmth keep them growing slowly until they can spring forth with warmer temperatures.

Plants coming up from seed usually have very little stored energy to draw on before there is enough leaf surface to make their own food.  All it takes for a green plant to grow is sunlight energy, carbon dioxide from the air, water and minerals from the soil, chlorophyll in the leaves, and the right temperature.

Many of our native wildflowers that bloom in the early spring start out as rosettes.  Bluebonnet is a good example.  It must come up from seed, but Engelmann Daisy comes up from a root and gets a vigorous start.  Rosettes of Indian Blanket, Lizard-tailed Gaura, Bladderpod, Texas Star, Evening Primroses, Huisache Daisy, and many others may be underfoot right now if only you could identify them.

Add a comment
Read more...
 

Coralberry

E-mail Print PDF

By Jake Landers
Published February 2011

Jake Landers Coralberry growing on the fence at the Menard Manor has plenty of berries ready for Christmas decorations. Coralberry is an attractive vine with bright red berries that I usually use in Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations, when I get around to it, and when it’s been a good berry producing year. Often the vines on fences and in thickets provide only bright green leaves and no berries for decorations, but some years the berries put on quite a show.

Many years ago on the ranch I would bring in a colorful strand which Mom would use to decorate the fireplace mantle or the dining room dinner table. It was my job in those days to wander along the field fence and in the high-fenced Turkey Trap to look for unfamiliar plants, fancy rocks, arrowheads, wild animals, or just about anything. Buffalo gourds and Milkweed pods were occasionally brought in and usually rejected for decorations. But the red berries were well received.

Add a comment
Read more...
 

Skunkbush

E-mail Print PDF

By Jake Landers
Published January 2012

Jake Landers Skunkbush puts on its fuzzy fruit in early summer, just in time for making sumac-ade. Photos by Jake Landers. It really doesn’t smell as bad as you might think from its name.  Another name for it is Perfume Bush.  If beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, then fragrance is in the nose of the smeller.  After all, the faint odor of a skunk is pleasing to some people.  The odor of Skunkbush to me is tolerable, not perfumy, and distinct enough to identify on a dark night or blindfolded when you smell a crushed leaf.

Add a comment
Read more...
 

Rain Lilies Appear after Downpour

E-mail Print PDF

By Jake Landers
Published October 2011

Jake Landers Rain Lilies bloom five days after a summer rain in an occasionally mowed park in San Angelo, Texas. Four or five days after a summer rain of an inch or more, expect to see Rain Lilies pop up in lawns, roadsides and parks where the grass has not felt the ultimate manicured care. In some local grassy landscapes there are so many it is hardly possible to take a step without crushing a white flower in full bloom. In less than a week the flowers are gone, replaced by a withering stalk with a 3-parted capsule of jet-black seeds, flat and shaped like the letter “D.” If the rain persists, the seeds may scatter to start a new plant; if not, the seeds are lost, and the mother plant retreats into its underground bulb to await the next summer rain. It’s a good way to survive a drought.

How does it do it? Where are the green leaves that take energy from the sun to replace the energy in the bulb that it took to grow the flower? Is it a parasite that gets its nourishment from its neighbors like the Indian paintbrush? 

Add a comment
Read more...
 


Page 4 of 5

 

Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association
TEXAS SHEEP AND GOAT RAISERS ASSOCIATION

Rio Grande Electric Cooperative, Inc.
RIO GRANDE ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC.


Goat Books


Finewool and Clippings

A woman walked up to a little old man rocking in a chair on his porch. “I couldn’t help noticing how happy you look,” she said. “What’s your secret for a long happy life?” “I smoke three packs of cigarettes a day,” he said. “I also drink a case of whiskey a week, eat fatty foods, and never exercise.” “Why, that’s amazing!” the woman exclaimed. “How old are you?’ “Twenty-six,” the man said.