The Yellows

The fall yellows are out, brightening already sunny days, cheering the rare gloomy ones. One of the stalwart yellows is ZexmeniaWedelia acapulcensis var. hispida, and it’s blooming once more after its end of summer sabbatical. Pollinators are busy at the small blooms.

This Gray hairstreak rested from its flitting just long enough for me to capture it with the camera.  Occasionally, it shared flower space with honeybees and two different native bees.

 

The brightest of the bright are the flowers of Plateau goldeneyeViguiera dentata.

Goldeneye grow into unwieldy, floppy shrubs, more so if not pruned sometime in late summer.  I neglected to prune by half several that I grow, resulting in too large shrubs, some of which are now toppling over, heavy with yellow goodness. 

This one stands tall, a well-behaved daisy extravaganza.

Multiple blazing blooms fill each shrub–top to bottom, inside and out.

Honeybees are all over the flowers and even finches are in on the buffet, as flowers fade and seeds appear.  Check out the orange pollen on this bee gal’s corbiculae, also known as pollen baskets, or in Tina-speak, pollen pantaloons.  The pollen pantaloons on this bee are the puffy orange pillows situated on either side of the bee.

 

A favorite fall flower of mine is the Texas Craglily, Echeandia texensis.

Not as brilliantly yellow as the other two perennials, this pretty produces somewhat muted yellow-orange, petite lilies.  It’s a showstopper, with the multiple flower stalks rising above the soft, green foliage.

I didn’t get any photos with pollinators, but I have noticed that it’s mostly the native bees and smaller butterflies which visit these belled beauties.

Craglilies are graceful, remarkably delicate looking, but truly tough Texas perennials.  Fleshy grass-like foliage appears late in spring and remains green and fresh during summer;  slender stalks reach skyward during September and October.  The stalks are dotted with lovely little lilies.  In my garden, the Craglilies are happy in a spot with some direct sun, but are shaded during the hottest time of the day.

Rain or shine, each of these yellows are fab fall flowers.  With an abundance of cheer for the gardener, they also provide late season sustenance for pollinators and seeds for wintering birds.

15 thoughts on “The Yellows

    • We’ve finally received a true cold front, but we’ll warm up again, just not as much as has been. Yes, it’s possible for us to have something blooming all winter, it just depend upon how cold we get and that varies from year to year.

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    • Actually, I think there are fewer butterflies this fall than we usually enjoy, though earlier in the year, there were plenty. Wow–so glad you grow Craglilies–I don’t know anyone else here who does, though I purchased my originals from a local nursery. They’re such great plants!

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    • Chloris, I do try to use native Texas plants whenever I can, so that’s probably why you’re not as familiar. I remember visiting Kew (several times, actually–what a place!) and seeing a very common plant here, the lantana, as an exotic. To me, lantana are almost weeds! I look at your lush English garden and lament that my climate is just to harsh and variable for most of what you easily grow. That’s why we blog–to enjoy and appreciate our different ways!

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  1. I’ve never heard of craglilies. When I looked up the scientific name on the USDA and BONAP maps, I saw the reason. It’s not only endemic to Texas, it appears in exactly one far south county: Cameron. It extends into Mexico a bit, too, but not by much. I got out my Rare Plants of Texas and read about it — very interesting. The authors made the point that it’s easily overlooked when not blooming. How lucky you are to have some!

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    • Linda, they are little known and used and I don’t understand it because Craglily is such a lovely little perennial. There is something interesting about the ones I have. I purchased my original one at Barton Springs Nursery 7 or 8 years ago and (for some odd reason) they call these plants ‘Copper Spiders’ though I’ve never seen that name anywhere else. The LBJWC states that the native range is the Rio Grande Valley, but they certainly do well for me here in Central Texas. The site says that the bloom time is in spring, then November.

      There’s another, very similar looking perennial, Chandler’s craglily (or Lila De Los Llanos–which is a name I love)–Echeandia chandleri. The LBJWC states the range as ‘Texas’, but the bloom cycle is much longer than the one I grow.

      What I suspect is that I have a cultivar or a hybrid of both plants, since mine seems to have some characteristics of both species. Mine have only ever bloomed in fall, usually beginning in late September and going well into November.

      Regardless, I just love the plant and always look forward to its emergence in late spring and the blooms in the fall. Mine have seeded out and they’re also very easy to dig up, separate, then pop back into the soil. They hardly look any the worse for wear.

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