Quayle Report - Jeff Quayle
April 2003


Quick jump to...  PLANT OF THE MONTH


This month's feature on a destination is a property owned by one of our own members - Judith Sear. Several years ago she invited me out to see her place east of Cleburne. She owns 100 acres in the Eastern Cross Timbers near the small town of Egan. I do not know everything about the past uses of her property before her and her husband Tim bought the property, but I believe it was managed well before they bought the property about 13 years ago. She is from the 1999 fall class. In early 2001, Judith hired me as a botanical consultant to survey the flora of her property. Since that time, approximately 253 species have been recorded, with a few still needing to be studied. One of the great surprises to be found on her property in 2001 was Purple Pleat-Leaf (Alophia drummondii), a native plant in the Iris family. It is quite a rare plant around here.

Her property comprises Post Oak/Blackjack woods, moist, riparian habitats, bottomland forests, open prairies and savannahs, and man-made ponds. Recently, Judith and Tim have begun to selectively manage some of the open prairie habitats, removing some of the larger trees invading the prairies and savannahs with bulldozers. They have also taken advantage of one of the creeks on the property by creating a pond.

Here is a sampling of some of her flora: Glen Rose Yucca (Yucca necopina), Dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum var. glaberrimum), Slim Milkweed (Asclepias linearis), Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), Prairie Gaillardia (Gaillardia aestivalis), Rough Stem Rosenweed (Silphium radula), Juniper Leaf (Polypremum procumbens), Georgia Sunrose (Helianthemum georgianum), Drummond St. John's Wort (Hypericum drummondii), Pineweed St. John's Wort (Hypericum gentianoides), Hair Sedge (Bulbostylis capillaris), Harvey's Beak Rush (Rhynchospora harveyi), Big-Top Dalea (Dalea enneandra), Hairy Phacelia (Phacelia hirsuta), Frazier's Onion (Allium canadense var. fraseri), Narrowleaf Seedbox (Ludwigia linearis), and Clasping False Pimpernel (Lindernia dubia var. anagallidea).

Plant of the Month
Alophia drummondii Herbertia lahue subsp. caerulea

Purple Pleat-Leaf (Alophia drummondii) is in the Iridaceae family. It is a wild native plant in the iris family found mainly in SE and E Texas. According to herbarium data, it is known from approximately 45 counties, mainly in SE and E Texas. According to the Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (BRIT), in the area covered, it has been recorded or historically known from Dallas, Lamar, and Milam counties. Until July of 2001, no one would have thought it would be right here in north central Texas in our own backyard. And on land owned by one of our Cross Timbers members! I had been continuing a plant survey for Judith Sear, and had Bob O'Kennon of BRIT helping identify the flora. Later that afternoon, Judith informed us of a mystery plant she said she thought was Purple Pleat-Leaf. Both Bob and I knew that it would be a surprising new find. It was later confirmed.

Purple Pleat-Leaf blooms from May to July; tepals are velvety-purple to rose-purple, spotted reddish brown over yellow towards base. Habitats are usually sandy soils, grassy areas, and open woods. It has previously been treated as Nemastylis purpurea, closely related to Prairie Celestials (Nemastylis geminiflora). It is close in appearance to another native plant: Herbertia (Herbertia lahue subsp. caerulea). It flowers from March to May; outer tepals are usually pale or dark lavender with a patterned base, inner tepals with upper part violet and lower blackish violet, sometimes with white spots. Known from Denton and Dallas counties. The Dallas County plants were probably introduced with sod. Occurs mainly in SE and E Texas.

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