21 de abril de 2024

Ipomopsis rubra (Standing Cypress) as a biennial vs. annual

All of the info I’ve seen on Ipomopsis rubra (Standing Cypress) says it is a biennial or sometimes perennial, but always monocarpic. However, in all the years I’ve been planting I. rubra seeds, I’ve always seen a small number (less than 5%) germinate and flower the same year. This year we had a very mild winter, and I had many seeds starting to germinate and grow throughout winter and are already bolting like they’re going to flower soon – I’d say somewhere between 10%-20% this year, maybe greater than 25% along my brick wall (warmer microclimate).

What have you seen or experienced with I. rubra’s life cycle? I’m tagging @sambiology since we discussed how he saw this pretty frequently this year as well.

Publicado el 21 de abril de 2024 por observerjosh observerjosh | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

01 de abril de 2024

How to pronounce Castilleja?

Most of us know that Latin is a dead language, and there’s no definitive way of pronouncing latinized scientific names, but I’ve heard Castilleja pronounced several ways and was wondering if there is a “correct” way to pronounce it. Here are things to consider:

  • Latin originally had no letter J but was later added to include the J sound from other languages.
  • As a plant native to the Americas, many people assume a Spanish origin of the name, and pronounce the J as in Spanish (more like an H). So the most common pronunciation I hear is cas-till-AY-haw.
  • If we assume a Spanish origin, shouldn’t we also pronounce the LL like in Spanish (more similar to a Y)? I’ve only heard it pronounced cas-tee-YAY-haw a couple times.
  • I’ve also heard it completely Anglicized as cas-till-AY-jaw, but this seems wrong.

  • How do you pronounce Castilleja, and do you think there’s a “right” way to pronounce it?

    Publicado el 01 de abril de 2024 por observerjosh observerjosh | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

    20 de marzo de 2024

    Benbrook Lake Richardson Tract iNaturalist Bioblitz

    I'm including some information here about an upcoming bioblitz at the Benbrook Lake Richardson Tract prairie. The bioblitz official time will be 10:00 am to 2pm, but I will be there at 9am, and information is on the NPAT website. I also include a link of the gravel parking lot below, and if the lot is full, there is another gravel lot just north of it, and easily walkable to the this location.

    Publicado el 20 de marzo de 2024 por observerjosh observerjosh | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario

    20 de enero de 2024

    Instagram page for my nature garden

    I created an Instagram page for my nature garden, not necessarily because I want followers, but to share how native plants are doing in my own garden and maybe inspire others to plant more native plants in their own gardens. The number of pollinators and other wildlife in my garden compared to my neighbors with a bermudagrass lawn are night and day. I have so many bees, wasps, butterflies, and other insects; birds; lizards; and probably more I don’t see. I love it! I’ll be updating my page more in the spring as plants start awakening from dormancy.


    Publicado el 20 de enero de 2024 por observerjosh observerjosh | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

    27 de febrero de 2023

    My Nature Garden in Benbrook, Brookside Neighborhood on Sterling Drive (Tarrant County)

    I’m creating this post as a landing page for my home garden in Benbrook, Texas. When I moved into the house, I had 2 live oak trees in the front yard and a lot of bermudagrass in front and back. The live oaks provide a lot of benefit to the ecosystem, but the bermudagrass provides very little and is not native to Texas. I've slowly been replacing sections of my bermudagrass lawn with pollinator-friendly plants, mostly native to Texas, and when possible, native genetics to the local area. I also live across the street from a creek, so I get a lot of wildlife visitors that might not ordinarily visit a typical suburban yard. However, if there were more gardens that were planted native plant species, we'd see a lot more native pollinators in all of our yards! This post will include a bit about my garden and the wildlife that shows up there, and here are just a few wildlife photos taken in my garden.


  • All observations around my garden: These are all of the observations around my home garden including plants, animals, etc.
  • Butterflies and moths: These are all of the butterfly and moth species observed around my home garden. Butterflies and moths are both very important pollinators of plants. Their larvae (especially moth larvae) are also extremely important as a food source for many other animals including birds, spiders, and wasps. Many people get upset at finding insect larvae on their plants, but those larvae are vital to a healthy ecosystem.
  • Bees and wasps: Most people recognize bees as important flower pollinators, but equally important are the wasps who pollinate more species of plants. Wasps also act as predators against spiders, insects, and other species preventing their population from growing beyond the carrying capacity of the environment. Even with all the bees and wasps in my garden, I've only been stung twice, and both were my own fault – I put my had directly on a wasp without seeing it, and the wasp stung out of defense. Most wasps are fairly docile towards humans. Also related to bees and wasps are ants, but unfortunately I have an abundance of non-native (invasive) red imported fire ants in my garden, which are difficult to control. Most bees, wasps, and ants are relatively harmless to humans, but can produce painful stings; however some people have potentially dangerous allergic reactions to their stings.
  • Spiders: Like wasps, spiders also act as predators in the garden and keep any single species from growing too abundant. They are often ambush predators who wait until their prey comes close, but some (like jumping spiders) track and hunt down their prey. Most spiders are relatively harmless to humans, but some can cause painful bites.
  • Weeds: There are many species of non-native plants that take advantage of disturbed soils and manicured lawns. Most of the common lawn weeds are actually non-native plants, but even the lawn itself, like bermudagrass and St. Augustine grass, are not native to our area. I've replaced much of the lawn with native plants that provide some benefit to wildlife through flowers and seeds, but I still get many of the weeds that appear in turf grass lawns. Many of the non-native "weeds" listed near my house are actually across the street, but they often produce seeds in my own lawn and landscape areas.
  • Birds: Many species of birds visit my garden to eat insects and seeds of native plants. I don't have as many observations yet, but one of my goals is to observe more of the birds that visit my garden.
  • Cross Timbers Ecoregion (Level III)

    An ecoregion is an area where ecosystem features (type, quality, and quantity of environmental resources like water, sunlight, temperature, soil conditions, etc.) are generally similar. The Cross Timbers ecoregion is a transitional area between the once prairie, now agricultural growing regions to the west, and the forested low mountains or hills of eastern Oklahoma and Texas. The region stretches from southern Kansas into central Texas, and contains irregular plains with some low hills and tablelands. It is a mosaic of forest, woodland, savanna, and prairie. The transitional natural vegetation of little bluestem grassland with scattered blackjack oak and post oak trees is used mostly for rangeland and pastureland, with some areas of woody plant invasion and closed forest. Learn more about the Cross Timbers Level III Ecoregion from TPWD.

    On a more detailed level, my home is located within the Grand Prairie Ecoregion (Level IV). The Grand Prairie ecoregion is an undulating plain underlain by Lower Cretaceous limestones with interbedded marl and clay. It is bounded on the east and west by the sandstones of the Cross Timbers, and its open plains contrast with the Cross Timbers oak woodlands. On the south, the generally smoother surface of the Grand Prairie meets the mesa or stairstep topography of the Limestone Cut Plain. Although the vegetation of the Grand Prairie is similar to the Northern Blackland Prairie, the limestone of the Grand Prairie is more resistant to weathering, which gives the topography a rougher appearance. Its location is transitional between the more moist climate of east Texas and the drier climate of the Great Plains. Meandering streams deeply incise the limestone surface. The original vegetation was tallgrass prairie in the upland areas and elm (Ulmus spp.), pecan (Carya illinoensis), and hackberry (Celtis spp.) in riparian areas where deeper soils have developed in floodplain deposits or where the underlying clays have been exposed by limestone erosion. Grand Prairie grasses under minimally disturbed conditions include big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), yellow Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), sideoats grama (B. curtipendula), and Texas cupgrass (Eriochloa sericea). Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides), Texas wintergrass (Stipa leucotricha), and gramas (Bouteloua spp.) tend to increase with intensive grazing. In the spring, abundant forbs create a showy display of flowers. Learn more about the Grand Prairies and all of Texas's Level III Ecoregions from The Ecoregions of Texas

    More coming...

    I'll be adding more to this page as I continue transitioning my garden and want to add more educational resources.

    POWO: Plants of the World Online
    Publicado el 27 de febrero de 2023 por observerjosh observerjosh | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

    14 de octubre de 2022

    New username observerjosh (old was jaquiring)

    I recently changed my username from jaquiring to observerjosh, something that is easier to share and for others to remember. Now I need to get observing to live up to my new username! 😆

    Publicado el 14 de octubre de 2022 por observerjosh observerjosh | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario