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Grazing North Texas: Erect Dayflower

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By Tony Dean, [email protected]

Erect dayflower is a native warm season perennial found not only across most of Texas but also in most of the central and eastern United States.

Growth begins with several soft, smooth, brittle, and fleshy stems that grow erect then become reclining, reaching up to 36 inches in length. Leaves are fleshy and up to six inches long. Flowers are composed of two deep-blue showy petals positioned above a third smaller colorless petal.

Flowers are ephemeral, open for one day only, with new flowers opening every three to four days. Squeezing the sheath surrounding the flower petals releases a tear-like drop of liquid, giving the origin of one of the common names of this plant, widow’s tears. Erect dayflower can grow in a variety of soils. It is in the spiderwort family.

Erect dayflower is very palatable to livestock and wildlife. Forage is excellent for deer and good to excellent for antelope. Seeds are readily eaten by dove, quail and songbirds. Crude protein values are good throughout the growing season ranging from up to 20 percent in early spring down to 12 to 16 percent in fall.

To read more, pick up a copy of the January 2024 issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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Grazing North Texas

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By Tony Dean, [email protected]

Illinois bundleflower is a premier native forb that can be found in all parts of Texas, although it is less prevalent in the extreme western area. It is one of the “Big Four” of highly desirable native forbs that also includes Maximilian sunflower, bush sunflower and Englemann’s daisy. All of these forbs can be found in North Texas.

This perennial legume grows from a branching woody taproot, with several erect stems one to three feet tall. The fern-like leaves are up to four inches long. Flowers are white to greenish powder-puff-like globes, from one-half to one-inch in diameter. Each plant produces 30 to 50 flowers.

The fruit is a tight cluster of flat, curved seed pods, each pod being three-fourths to one and one-quarter inches long and containing two to six beans. The seed pods are green when growing then turn brown at maturity, with the mature pods splitting to drop the seeds. The seeds may remain in the cluster for many months, thus extending the wildlife food value of the plant.

Illinois bundleflower is highly desired by all classes of livestock, thus it decreases in abundance on grazing lands that are heavily grazed. Crude protein of the leaves and stems can run 17 to 20 percent during much of the early and mid-growing season. It is an important indicator of range health.

To read more, pick up a copy of the February 2024 issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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Parting Shot: A Little Birdie’s Paradise…

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By Jelly Cocanougher

Following nothing but a map and our own intuition, we press into the homeland of grizzlies, wolves, and other apex predators. Turn me loose to ring in new discoveries and directions. It is a fantastic opportunity to find a mysterious wooden troll in the Teton mountains range, hidden in plain sight. We find toes peeping above the swaying greenery and clear water. Whimsical with his grand allure, he sits gently yet astute on the river bank. It is a place that feels familiar. Sculpture by artist Thomas Dambo.

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The Garden Guy

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By Norman Winter | Horticulturist, Author, Speaker

If the Supertunia Vista were the diamonds of the petunia world for their toughness and perseverance, then surely the Mini Vistas would be the rubies and sapphires as so demonstrated this year. Mother Nature gave gardeners all the challenges they could handle from the standpoint of heat and drought and I could claim part ownership. If you look at the drought monitor map, however, there is a large area under what appears to be an epic and it is not just the southeast.

The Supertunias seemed up to the task from the get-go. Young’s Plant Farm gave an update on their trials throughout the summer on social media and at the end of July they took our breath away with photos of Supertunia Mini Vista hanging baskets. I kid you not, the photos made them appear almost as large as Volkswagen Beetles. I took photos in June at their Annual Garden Tour and they were huge then ,but the late July pictures almost defied logic.

To read more, pick up a copy of the January 2024 issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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