Sunday, April 12, 2009

Science Educator or People Motivator?

David Bamberger writes:

We determined long ago that our arboretum and nature trail would only have plants that were endemic to Blanco County. Not having any Canyon Mock Orange (Philadelphus Ernestii) growing here, I was delighted to have found one in a nursery in Austin. It was a small specimen in a one gallon container. Nevertheless, I put up the identification plaque and nurtured this rare plant. Within a few years it produced a glorious display of white blossoms. I hurried to the ranch house to tell Margaret who went to photograph the scene.

A few days later, while taking people on the trail I noticed that a Band-Aid had been placed over the word “canyon” on my plaque! Sure enough, Margaret was guilty. “David,” she said, “THAT is not a Canyon Mock Orange. It’s beautiful, but some plant breeder has created it and it’s probably a hybrid. So call it a Mock Orange if you want to motivate others. But as a science educator, get me the REAL thing!”

Thanks to Ernesto at Medina Garden Nursery (830-589-2771) we got the real thing and the plaque was moved to it. You can see the remains of Margaret’s Band-Aid around the word “Canyon,” in this photo by Justin Duke.

Below, canyon mock orange bloom. Photo by Amanda Fulton.

Below is the mock orange in bloom, as photographed by Amanda Fulton. You can see that the leaves and blooms are much larger than on the canyon mock orange above. There are many names for this hybrid, and we'll accept "Texas mock orange," but three biologists from Texas Parks & Wildlife have humorously suggested that we call it "mock mock orange," instead.

Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)

The Anoles, with more than 250 species, constitute the largest genus of lizards in the world. However the Green Anole is the only species native to the United States.

This particular little fellow, photographed by Colleen Gardner, was seen on the bridge across the creek, now dry due to the drought, leading to Madrone Lake.

The striking feature is the red colored throat fan. The size of this one indicates that this is a male and most likely there is a female near by as this is a courtship routine. But sometimes, this goes along with push ups and head bobbing to defend territory. The anole’s diet consists mostly of insects and spiders.

It’s a treat when we have school children to be able to point out the lizards on tree limbs and leaves.


Lorilee said...

I'm glad you found a REAL Canyon Mock Orange. I enjoy watching anoles in my yard too!

Suzanne said...

I'm so glad to know the real name for these cute little guys. We have alot of them running around our back deck. Late in the summer, they don't even bother to get out of our way.
Thanks for all you do at BRP!
love, suzanne