In the Bird Census Highlights for September 2, Jack Chiles noted that many late summer/fall wildflowers are in bloom at the Refuge. Below is a re-run of information on one my favorites, Eryngo, Eryngium leavenworthii Torr. & Gray. As described by Native Plant Information Network, (NPIN), the Native Plant Database for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Eryngo is a prickly, showy annual with a leafy stem, blue or purple bloom in late summer, in fact almost the whole plant, which stands 1’ – 3’ tall, shows color (photo by Wayne Meyer). Watch for it now in fields at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge and along the roadsides in the area, striking against a backdrop of Snow-on-the Prairie or contrasting with Sunflowers. Eryngo looks like a thistle but is not; it is in the Carrot family. The plants are deer resistant, for those whose gardens have unwanted deer visitors, and provide nectar for insects and seed for birds.
Another notable is Gregg’s Mistflower: Conoclinium greggii (Gray) Small. Also in the Aster family, this plant can be seen in the Native Plant Garden at the Refuge and is a butterfly magnet. It is documented by NPIN as attracting Queen butterflies in Fall and as a larval food source for Rawsons Metalmark. It has puffy lavender flowers heads, grows from 1’ – 3’ tall, blooms from spring to fall, spreads easily and unlike the others described above, provides deer browse. Mistflower may also be known as Palmleaf thoroughwort, Palm-leaf mistflower, Palm-leaf thoroughwort, Purple palmleaf mistflower, Purple palmleaf eupatorium.
|Eryngo at HNWR, by Laurie Lawler|
|Gregg's Mistflower at HNWR, by Becky Goodman|