It’s toasty out there! The hot August sun beats down on me and mine, but most of my tough Texas natives stand brave against the 100 F+ temperatures this hot August. Included in that set of stalwart botanical steadies is my 2015 Tree Following choice, the beautiful Retama, Parkinsonia aculeata. It’s still green,
…lacy and lush.
Juxtaposed with the Mountain Laurel, Retama’s fine foliage is brilliant,
…and against the Shumard Oak’s more substantial leaves,
…it softens, though I must admit that I prefer the shade of the Oak to that piddling amount of cover provided by the Retama.
Against the big Texas sky, Retama foliage is stunning.
And sometimes, reflects it.
The foliage is fresh and verdant and that is welcome in late summer.
Clusters of Retama flowers are visited by bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. All the blooms are now situated at the top of the tree, whereas previously, individual blooms were scattered along the lower branches. Because the flowers are high on the tree and summer breezes blow, I’ve had a difficult time getting adequate close-up shots.
In the tangle of sunny yellow are freckles of red/orange “honey” petals, typical of each individual flower. When the bloom first opens, the honey petal is not yellow, but a paler version of that orangey-red. Once the flower is pollinated, that “honey” petal turns a deeper color and curls backward. Retama flowers are a colorful two-fer gift.
As bloom time wanes, the seedpods are growing larger, maturing, and turning brown. That is probably the biggest change since my Tree Following July report.
Retama seeds are edible and also used as fodder for farm animals in parts of the world where this tree grows, whether in its native region (southwest US, Mexico and parts of South America) or where it is an introduced and often, an invasive species. The seed pods will continue developing as fall approaches, eventually dropping to the ground. While this tree has become a problem plant in some areas of the world (Australia has banned it), I’ve rarely had seedlings develop from my tree. When seedlings have germinated and grown, they don’t make it through winters. That said, out in open areas of south and west Texas, Retama must germinate well and often enough because there are plenty of Retama trees which dot and decorate the rugged Texas landscape and adjacent highways.
Until September…please visit Lucy at Loose and Leafy to learn about other trees being followed for August.
Love your trees!!