A Walk Through The Gardens: Sundrop

Spring in the Hill Country is such a beautiful affair. The Texas Botanical Gardens, designed to recreate the native landscape along a creek in Mills County, is no different. The garden’s landscape designer, Tab Ledbetter, and his crew strategically planted native plants that are commonly seen in our rolling hills. Last fall the resident plants cast their seeds and we are now seeing the new growth of those native grasses, shrubs, and trees sprouting throughout the gardens.

We are also seeing numerous seedlings popping up that we aren’t able to identify yet. Since our goal in the gardens is to be as natural as possible, we are letting all new growth develop until we can distinguish between native flora we are interested in keeping and invasive weeds we want to eliminate. This week’s “Plant of the Week” is a native wildflower that was planted by our garden crew. The Texas Sundrop, or Calylophus berlandieri, is a woody-based perennial that grows low to the ground and can spread out to almost 3 feet wide.

Its leaves are narrow and spiny-toothed and will stay green all year long. In Spring and early Summer, this plant will produce bright yellow cup-shaped blooms. The genus name was derived from the Greek words “caly” and “lophus” — meaning “crest of a hill” or “helmet” — and is a way of describing the unique shape of its flowers. The nectar from these flowers is loved by night-flying moths, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

The Sundrop is also an edible forb for a wide range of livestock and deer. Calylophus is dispersed all along the Texas highways and local county roads. Take a scenic drive, or spend an afternoon exploring the gardens to see if you can identify some of these bright, bewitching Texas Sundrops.

The Welcome Center hours are Monday thru Saturday 9-4 and Sunday 1-5. The entry fee is $5 for adults (17 and older) and free for children (16 and younger).

Republished with permission of the Goldthwaite Eagle. By Savannah Lane.

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