Monday, March 30, 2009

Welcome to Wild Plants of Friendswood!

I'm so glad to be starting this blog! I've been wanting a way to record and publish the plant species I find growing wild in my hometown of Friendswood, Texas. I hope you find this website useful!

I began documenting the wild plants species here in Friendswood back in college. I was working on my Bacchelor's in plant biology when I took a field ecology class from Dr. Lawrence Gilbert who introduced me to the idea of a "species list". It's simply a record of all the plant species found in a particular area. Many people are biased toward studying plants and ecology in exotic, faraway places like the rainforest, but I'd like to focus on plants in my very own hometown in Southeast Texas.

I have another reason for recording the plants of Friendswood. My town has grown dramatically over my lifetime. When I was a kid, our town's population was less than half of what it is today and far less developed. There were farms right outside of town, forests and old fields filled every unoccupied corner...there was a horse pasture right at the intersection of 528 and Sunset where a shopping center now exists. My town is fast being urbanized and wild places are being crowded out including remnants of the endangered coastal prairie. I want to record the native plant species that grow here now, before they disappear or become too rare to find.

Here's just a little description of the physical and ecological features of our area:

(Taken from City of Friendswood website)

Average annual rainfall: 51 inches

Average January : 52 F

Average June temps: 83 F

We have an average of 309 frost-free days of the year

Most of our precipitation falls in the month of September

The town of Friendswood lies within the Coastal Prairie ecoregion of Texas. Just a 30 minute drive north of here, you will find the southern edge of the East Texas Piney woods. According to the original Quaker founders, the area was covered by forest. I suspect the area consisted of patches of forest along the creeks and bayous with coastal prairie dominating upland areas. The forest that remains is mixed hardwood and pine and is most certainly secondary (or greater) re-growth.

Our area is interesting from an ecological standpoint because we have several major habitat types within a short distance from our location. We lie within the southeastern-most extension of the prairies of the central United States, just to the north is the westernmost extension of the Southern pine forests and just to our east is the Gulf Coast. Our native plant community reflects these influences in that you may find plants typical of the Great Plains, coastal marshes, and pine forest all growing together.

Anyway, that's about as much as I'll ever type in one post as I intend for this to be mostly a picture guide. Hope you find this website informative and useful.

1 comment:

  1. Don't know if you still check this blog at all, but I really appreciate it.. it helped me identify a lot of wild plants in my area. No one else seems to have a good picture of what young elderberry plants look like around here.. I finally found one. I can't wait to harvest the berries, though I'll be sure to plant as many as I take.