Weeds to pull or not

I have moved this content to a page as the sticky post was sort of annoying. Go to that page for future updates.

Things I keep thinking are human introduced but they’re actually native

To be added: Purslane, Mollugo, bedstraws, peppergrass, yellow oxalis, Euphorbia maculata, Euphorbia dentata (wild poinsettia), Melothris pendula, Cynanchum laeve (milkvine), little barley

Plants that are human introduced but not a big problem in undisturbed areas

Armeria serpyllifolia, thyme-leaved sandwort. Human introduced but not aggressive invader. This one was an accidental import from TX.

An Introduced geranium vs a native geranium. I’ve only seen these two in our yard so far but there are several other species in Oklahoma.

Maple that blows in from the neighbor’s yard. I am not sure of the species but there’s nothing locally native here in that genus (Acer).

To be added: chickweeds, henbit, deadnettle, dandelions, shepherds purse, white clover, yellow clover, crepe myrtle, Sherardia arvensis

Human-introduced species that can disrupt the local ecosystem aggressively

Fish mint. Weird one! Leaves almost violet like before blooming and now I can see they are less round and have touches of red. Plus it smells strongly when crushed. After finding some possible epazote in the backyard, I wonder if a few owners back at this house were into growing a lot of culinary fun!
Invasive dayflower. I wrote up how to distinguish it from the native perennial in another post. I am not sure how invasive it is outside disturbed areas, but it does seem to crowd out and overgrown things like white avens in my yard, so we’ve been actively removing it.

To be added: privet, Bermudagrass, King Ranch bluestem (aka KR grass), salsify, some brome grasses, some Poa grasses, some Palsalpum grasses, crabgrass, autumn clematis, that one aggressive sedge

Native species but no thanks

Stickers/sandburs/goatheads are native but they hurt.. They like sand. if we had a bigger land I would leave them alone outside our paths and main dog area as I’m sure something needs them. I’m not keeping them in our small space.

To be added: trumpet vine (as with the trees, I don’t have enough room), baby walnut trees, baby oak trees, sticky seed pod legumes, bidens (sometimes) and white avens (sometimes), poison ivy

05/21/2023 weird surprise plant

This interesting flower was blooming by the garage and rain barrel corner. iNaturalist suggested Houttuynia.
This could be here on its own dispersal as it’s known to be invasive, but it is also apparently known as “fish mint” and used in some cuisines. The chefs were not interested after smelling it so we will probably remove it so it doesn’t get out and disturb any local ecosystems more than they already are.

Dayflower identification redux

Last summer I made an attempt at identifying the dayflowers (Commelina species) in our yard and the only ones I found were the invasive, human-introduced Commelina communis. However, Abby gave us some native Commelina erecta and this year we noticed some of the dayflowers had thinner leaves like on the ones she gave us. So I decided to take a look again.

It seems like for our yard, the broad vs narrow leaves are pretty indicative. So we’re going to continue pulling the broad leaved invasive ones. The Flora of North Central Texas indicates the native C. erecta has three varieties and one is narrow leaved, so the leaves probably don’t work in all regions. Once some of the dayflowers go to seed I will check to make sure they also have the smooth seeds that C. erecta has. I’m pleased to see we have more of the native species than I expected.

Even though the two species look very similar, the native species will have existing ecological and evolutionary relationships with the other plants and animals and microbes here. The human-introduced species may or may not have those. To be a good neighbor, I want to make sure our yard provides maximal food and shelter to local species, which means keeping more plants with those existing relationships.

04/30/2023 garlic scapes and feral hog fire-cooked ribs

Garlic scapes are the flower buds before they open. Here they are yesterday before I harvested them this morning. Harvesting them is supposed to make the garlic cloves turn out better as the energy doesn’t go all into the flowers. Last year we left the flowers.
The Chef had a hankering to cook over fire. Here he adjusts a makeshift grill over the flames. An aluminum foil packet of potatoes is near his feet. Later he did the feral hog ribs over the fire too but finished a few of them off in the oven to ensure more even temperature for safety and convenience.
The meal. The Chef topped his ribs with head country barbecue sauce. Potatoes (lower part of plate) came out perfect in spite of the packet seeming to catch on fire at some point. The garlic scapes were sautéed with onions and already cooked beans (upper left). I think we all agreed potatoes were good, scapes need something different, and ribs should have been slow cooked instead to be less tough.

04/16/2023 new Solomon’s seal

Today while pulling invasive introduced dayflower I ran across a little baby Solomon’s seal! I am holding a dayflower next to it for comparison.
Paula also found a new pair of Solomon’s seals just south of the red oak on April 11.

04/08/2023 Bird Haven Trail at Black Mesa SP

Invasive storks bill geranium in the mowed areas near camp and road.
Clove currant is thinking about blooming!
Don’t know what this seedhead is but it has cool divisions inside like a pinwheel!
Last year’s dried up silver leaf nightshade.
Saltbush (Atriplex sp) leaves
This trail has one bench before it merges with the Vista trail. There is a second bench on the Vista Trail towards the park office, overlooking the RV camp area. The trees shading it are hackberries.
Briar thought the flat rock was boring but Mom and I saw lots of good stuff here.
We saw several fast ants on the big flat rock.
Here are two smaller rocks together. Look carefully in the crack for a small green bit.
Zoomed in- do you see the green nub yet?
Here it is, an adorable baby cactus seedling!
Most of the cacti here seem to be the ribbed Echinocereus. I’m not sure about the baby since I don’t know if the seedlings should be ribbed yet or not. we saw one Escobaria type earlier on the trail.

03/31/2023 thanks past self!

Past me ordered plants in the winter!
Pets very much liked the box. It had good smells. Here Gram steps right in before I’ve unpacked the crinkle paper.
Good thing there was cardboard protecting the plants too.
Gram moved to sit on the crinkle paper and smells one of two Blackfoot daisies. Briar observes. We put the daisies in the rock garden. I had one in the backyard once when we first moved here but I think it was too wet. The rock garden is the driest hottest spot in the yard.
The other plant we got was an orange Agastache. The damn invasive human-introduced earwig horde has already started eating it, so we are trying petroleum jelly around the base. It has worked for tomatoes before but didn’t work on a different Agastache recently, so we’ll go back out before bed and check again.

07/31/2022 garden and neighborhood

A Texas dandelion was open in the backyard prairie after a refreshing 1/10th inch of rain!
Waaaaalk plzzzzzz
We stopped to look at the vegetables on the way out to walk and this magnificent little jumping spider was on guard!
On our walk today, near the sidewalk there’s some unmowed area near a creek. Around this beautiful and native silver leaf nightshade you can see a lot of non native and invasive Johnson grass.
An American bumblebee was visiting the nightshade.
It has a lovely flower. Mom has one that volunteered in her garden area.
The plant has pretty flowers as it crept onto the sidewalk, but turned out to be a non native invasive species called Tribulus terrestris.

Cats just wanna have fun

Indoor cat guest Shackleton still gets to sample smells (like the straw bale of potatoes) but from the safety (for him and for birds and other small animals) of a leash! This home update is from Friday. I am still on vacation.