Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Texas Buckeye Trail Blooms

The Texas Buckeye
One of the earliest trees to leaf out in the spring, the Texas Buckeyes of the Great Trinity Forest are starting to make their showy and brief annual display. Given the mild and wet winter of 2012, the forest is weeks ahead of where it was in foliage compared to this time last year. The photo above was taken Sunday March 4, 2012. It's a photo of a Texas Buckeye flower somewhere between budding and blooming. I would expect that the Texas Buckeye Trail will probably peak with the blossoms in the next couple weeks, the week of March 18-March 25.

I would encourage anyone interested in the Texas Buckeye Trail to take a guided hike offered by Texas Master Naturalist Jim Flood:

He has guided hikes that start from the Buckeye Trailhead at 7000 Bexar Street in Dallas
Friday MARCH 16 at 9am
Saturday MARCH 17 at 9am and 12 Noon
Sunday MARCH 18 at 9am and 12 Noon

I will add that when I was down there on Sunday March 4th the mosquitoes were out in full force, even in the middle of the afternoon. Wear plenty of insect repellent and long pants. Last year, I don't recall even seeing mosquitoes anywhere in the Great Trinity Forest. They are out big time this spring!

From the Texas Native Plants Database: Texas Buckeye has palmately compound leaves with seven to nine (sometimes eleven) leaflets, vs. the five leaflets of red buckeye. The flowers are creamy white to light yellow, appearing in terminal clusters after the leaves appear. The fruit, a leathery capsule with blunt spines, has one to three large shiny seeds. The seeds are known to be poisonous, and it is possible that all parts of the plant are as well. It tends to prematurely drop leaves in hot, droughty situations, due to leaf scorch and fungal diseases. Usually a small shrub or small tree, Texas buckeye reaches its largest size (more than 40 feet) in the hard limestone of the central Edwards Plateau, although it also occurs in the northern Blacklands, Cross Timbers and Prairies, Pineywoods, and Post Oak Savannah.

Forest floor under Buckeye Grove carpeted with Texas False Garlic (Nothoscordum texanum)

If you are unfamiliar with Texas Buckeyes, the trail or how to get there click on the link below that shows the exact location of the largest grouping of the Texas Buckeye Trees. If you want to go it on your own or cannot make it to one of the formal hikes

The GPS coordinates are 32° 43' 36.88", -96° 44' 57.16

I have written previously about the Texas Buckeye Trail and surrounding trails inside William Blair Park. Click on the links to read more

Information on the concrete trail and some of the dirt paths
Rochester Park and Texas Buckeye Trail

Information on more adventurous trail hikes down to the mouth of White Rock Creek
William Blair Park and the Perimeter Trail

Information on neighboring Miller's Ferry, a short walk from the Buckeye Trail
Miller's Ferry

Texas Buckeye Trail in William Blair Park March 2012

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