Saturday, April 15, 2006

Local color

These are some colors of spring in the vicinity of Onion Creek southeast of Austin.

Here is a damselfly called a blue-fronted dancer, Argia apicalis

The common Texas prickly pear, Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri. The flowers are 3 inches across, sometimes larger. Some stands of prickly pear in flower can be spectacular. The new pads of prickly pear, called nopalitos (actually stems, not leaves) are a popular food item in Mexico, especially during Lent, probably because they added a sense of bulk to your scrambled eggs if you couldn't mix sausage in. They are added in strips or chopped pieces. Unfortunately our local prickly pear species, though perfectly edible, puts forth new shoots too late for Lent most years, so nopalitos have to be imported for newly arrived immigrants who are homesick for Mexican cuisine. Nopalitos are are available in my local grocery store, as are an astonishing variety of hot peppers. I have discovered that if you want to prepare your own nopalitos, you have to be careful to get all the glochids off. But I digress.

This dragonfly is called a variegated meadowhawk, Sympetrum corruptum. (Thanks to John Abbott for the identification.)

Silver nightshade, so called because the leaves are somewhat whitened by fuzz. Solanum elaeagnifolium

Flower of the southern dewberry, Rubus trivialis. Dewberries taste really good. I will keep an eye on this patch.

Pink evening primrose, Oenothera speciosa. These are common around Austin.

(click on any photo to enlarge)

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