Today I bring to you the first in an occasional series on interesting plants endemic to my area, the Edwards Plateau located in Central to West Texas. What characterizes the Edwards Plateau? I’m so glad you asked! From the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department:
“The Edwards Plateau is an uplifted and elevated region originally formed from marine deposits of sandstone, limestone, shales, and dolomites 100 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period when this region was covered by an ocean. The western portion remains a relatively flat elevated plateau whereas the eastern portion known as the Hill Country is deeply eroded.”
We live in the Hill Country sector. What an odd idea, that we live in what was once an ocean. Proof is all around us, however, with sea creature fossils decorating many of the rocks we find – and we find lots of rocks here.
Our featured plant today is the twist-leaf yucca (Yucca rupicola). This is a cool little yucca with - you guessed it - twisty leaves! Its leaves are one to two feet long, with a colored margin, which can be light brown, yellow, orange, red or white (depending on the source consulted). Tiny sharp teeth march along those leaf margins and thin white curly hairs cover the leaf. The bloom stalk shoots up in the spring (April to June), and can be up to five feet tall, with large, heavily scented white or greenish white petals.
|If you look closely, you can see the tiny teeth at leaf's edge. |
Also, notice yellow leaf margin on the upright leaf,
and red margin on leaf at bottom right.
And boy, is it tough. The twist-leaf yucca grows in full sun or part shade and on shallow rocky soil, is heat and drought tolerant, and is deer resistant (except for the blooms). Some years the deer leave the yuccas alone, but when food is scarce they will top them all. This is a sad sight to a gardener, but part of the natural cycle, after all.
These yuccas grow fairly commonly on our property. One has popped up in a flowerbed. This could be an unwelcome addition, but the plant only gets up to two feet in size and is manageable in its volunteer location.
If you live in the Hill Country, I hope you have some of these neat plants growing on your property. If you don’t, maybe you can find one at a native plant nursery.
Favorite spot in the garden:
Well, I haven’t added this feature lately, but today I have such a spot. This area is outside the living room French doors, and catches the sun so prettily (though it is cloudy today). Newly planted snowdrops (Leucojum aestivum from my mother-in-law's grandmother's house) surround the area, with rich purple oxalis (Oxalis triangularis) and wandering Jew (Tradescantia pallida, I think) in the middle, backed by a lush spread of yarrow (Achillea millefolium). I love this color combination!