Plant With Potential: Krameria

 

I remember seeing this low shrub one April about a decade ago, while taking a workout hike during a business trip here.

Krameria parviflora / Range Ratany (it needs a new common name!)

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Sorry about the blur, as it was windy and my iPhone isn’t the best camera.

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Of course, it has a flower color rather uncommon in my area, it grows on gravelly soil and desert pavement with the usual suspects like Larrea tridentata and Prosopis torreyana. I also like how the grasses blend or even grow up through it.

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A duo of Opuntia orbiculata add sculpture in back.

My guess is partly how the Chihuahuan Desert is so poorly botanized, with many in my field unknowing about it! We also have so few nurseries into our natives or that are proactive – the spirit in Portland, Tucson, or Austin is not here. Perhaps nobody has bothered to try this plant, either?

Yet it’s common on gravelly and rocky uplands like this, including other desert southwest ecoregions. Though I’ve only seen it here and far west Texas.

Krameria parviflora stands about 18 inches tall and a bit over 2 feet wide. Any common name ideas?

4/24/17 weather: 88 / 51 / .0

Hiking for Cacti and More

My hiking spot for now, to get in a good workout, is Tortugas Mountain aka A Mountain. It’s not close, but nothing is to where I live. My ascent begins on one of the steep, narrow trails that wind up the west side.

While catching my breath, I get to look at an array of desert plants and views.

About half-way up to the 4,950 foot elevation summit, the classic scene of the Organ Mountains dominates the eastern horizon.

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At the top, a small makeshift shrine from a few days earlier.

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The road is the easier way for hiking, especially downhill to save one’s knees, but this guy is on his mountain bike which isn’t remotely easy, except it’s wide.

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He passed me going down, after he made it to the top. Almost 1,000 feet of climb in 1 mile on a bike is a serious effort.

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Limestone ledges and different desert plants create an inspiring scene for a desert designer to recreate – when the client allows the time, accepts expertise, and has the budget.

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Fouquieria splendens with numerous but young Echinocereus stramineus
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Agave neomexicana in the grasses

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Opuntia engelmannii, but a more compact form with smaller pads.

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opening flowers are as interesting to me as fully-opened

It is usually recognized from the O. lindheimeri some nurseries pawn off as O. engelmannii, since it usually has yellow blooms and the latter has orange to red blooms. The different cultural requirements come into play later…

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Opuntia macrocentra is starting to flower, too.

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It usually has pale yellow blooms, which contrast the deep green to purple-ish pads, though maybe they will change once more open. These look almost sugary.

What impresses me the most about Tortugas Mountain is the sheer diversity of cacti, but there is so much more if you look. Only no oaks…still 1,000′ too low.

4/22/17 weather: 78 / 53 / .0

Associates Part 1

I take notice of plant groupings growing in the same spot with identical conditions. Yet when it’s time to design, I rarely apply any of that.

Architecture, busy-ness, and dealing with client realities / curveballs take over.

I wish that wasn’t so. This is from a 9/2017 trip to the Big Bend, between Lobo and Valentine in Texas.

Another rest area in the middle of nowhere with a large yucca…

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Yucca faxoniana / Palm or Faxon Yucca, at least 20′ tall.

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And what else?

And a gentle reminder, this won’t look 50% as good without the yucca.

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Do you ever take advantage of groupings in the wild, then create areas in your garden around those groupings? How successful are they?

I’m already thinking of a simple way to use the above plants in a purposed design for a typical space, where we can’t rely on miles of expansive scenery. I might share a sketch or two of that soon.