Monday, June 30, 2014

Early summer flowers in Tandy Prairie

Ruellia humilis, with a purple bee-highway
I like to return to prairies to keep tabs on how the are moving through the year. Last weekend, I visited Tandy Prairie. I'd first visited in late April. At that time, the meadows were dotted with prairie hyacinth, cobae penstemon, and other ephemerals. By late June these ephemerals were gone.  Most of the blanket flower had gone to seed, but the horse mint and mid summer flowers had popped up in bloom

Don't mind me...
Tandy Prairie is a remnant just a few miles east of downtown Fort Worth. It's a very small parcel, but it has retained some interesting flora. The soil on the ridge tops was just a shallow dusting over limestone, similar to the late vacant-lot prairie. I can't help but wonder if the poor soils helped the native plant community resist invasion.

I saw (and, unfortunately, couldn't resist impinging upon) some interesting bug life. The ubiquitous bee assassin was lurking under horse mint, a lone Bombus pensylvanicus was foraging among the basket flowers, and two skippers were ensuring the continuation of the species. Ahem.

I can't imagine an efficient means to manage such a small parcel. I know this place isn't without problems- the creek bottoms are choked with privet- but it is still a lovely little patch in the heart of the city. It has some Texas-endemic species, including bluebonnets and the white compass plant (Silphium albiflorum).  While the more widely distributed compass plant's (S. laciniatum's) foliage is highly palatable and rapidly disappears in a pasture, the leaves of S. albiflorum are a little more bristly and (anecdotally) are less favored by cattle.

Happily, this 160 acre prairie has its own group of defenders, Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area. Here's hoping it can continue to thrive with their care and protection.

More pictures after the jump.

White compass plant, Silphium albiflorum
"Dee-licious, perfectly safe nectar here. Anyone?" -bee assassin on horse mint
Pretty prairie parsley seed heads
Burr-like seeds of Krameria lanceolata, trailing ratany. 


  1. Lovely blogpost. Who are you?
    Don Young with Friends of Tandy Hills

    1. Thank you Don! I'm a pollinator conservation specialist, and I just moved to Fort Worth a few months ago. My name's Anne Stine.

    2. I want to write about your blog (and You) in my August 1 Prairie Notes. Would you mind sending me a short bio and a few words about why you do this blog? Maybe a pic of you if you will.