Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The I20 Amateur Count (Part IV, Wildflowers, Honeysweet)

Honeysweet, Tidestromia lanuginosa
Member of the Pigweed family (Amaranthacea)

How sad is this? I could find very little information on this plant. While its picture isn't uncommon on the 'net, details -- fascinating or otherwise -- are missing.

Thank heaven for the Sibley Nature Center. They have a couple of photo essays featuring it. And indeed, it was Mr. Burr Williams who identified this plant for me. He wrote "It is an annual that prefers disturbed soil" and that in Spanish it is called "espantes vaqueros, or ghost cowboys." (I wonder why that is?) He went on to say, "This produces one of the most sweet smells of the fall wildflowers -- amazing, because the bloom is the size of a pin head."

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower site had only two example photographs. There was one mention, among other plants, that recommended it as being a suitable ground cover.

Wikipedia had only a single image of it -- nice image -- but no articles linking to that image. And my three trusty Texas wildflower books were unified in being completely silent on the subject.

I'll tell you what I know, which also isn't much.

I didn't notice its scent, even though it was blooming, likely because I have a poor sense of smell. Besides the yellow flowers in this field, these were the second eye-grabbers. They grew in nice stands that shimmered, looking in the distance as if they were white flowers. Their diminutive flower head is yellow. It was the pretty gray leaves that shone like that. In certain stands of it, I noticed, the stems were dark pink and made it all that more attractive.


If any reader, now or in the future, knows more about this plant, or has experience growing it, I would love to hear from you.

Links referenced in this post:
Sibley Nature Center site
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower page recommending this plant for ground cover
Wikipedia image

My trusty Texas wildflower books are:

Wildflowers of Texas
by Geyata Ajilvsgi, 1991
Roadside Flowers of Texas by Howard S. Irwin, 1983
Texas Wildflowers, A Field Guide by Campbell and Lynn Loughmiller, 1992


Bev said...

I enjoy all these names.

May I hazard that they are called 'ghost cowboys' because with their colouring they look a little ghostly but as grown covering plants they are into covering the ground, frontiership and staking out their territory.LOL

Bobbie said...

I know that nectar is released at certain times of the day, now I'm wondering if scent is released at the same time?

Irene said...

You won't hear this Dutch oman tellling you anything about 'ghost cowboys', that's completely out of my realm. A very attractive plant, though. Should be domesticated, I'd think. Europeans would love it.

Irene said...

Dutch WOMAN, I meant.