I've had several people request I do a My Town Monday post about the local fauna and flora of the Amarillo area and I've been collecting a few pictures to do that very thing. Today I'm going to concentrate on the flora. Understand that trees and vegetation are not all that varied, or common, in my area. I live along a creek bank and actually have far more vegetation that you'd find elsewhere in the Panhandle.
All of today's pictures were taken by me somewhere on my three acres.
A good many of our plants are sharp and pointy. Those will be my focus for this week's post.
The above are prickly pear cactus. The red fruit is edible and makes a pretty decent jelly. Some medical studies have suggested that the pectin in prickly pear pulp lowers bad cholesterol while keeping the good cholesterol levels constant. Studies also say that the pectin may lower diabetics need for insulin. I won't weigh in on those topics but I can tell you if you dive into a patch while playing paintball, getting splatted with a marble of sized projectile becomes the least of your worries.
This picture below is of a Cholla type of cactus though I don't know enough to say exactly what kind. Maybe a tree cholla, but I will say that is my 7 1/2 year old son standing in front of it and he's better than four feet tall.
Cholla's have pretty yellow and gold blooms in early summer or late spring but I didn't get any pictures of that. Maybe next year. Here is a closeup of it's needle-like thorns and fruit.
And here is a shot of pour most prolific tree ... The Mesquite.
Known widely as a good wood for grilling ans smoking the tree is more shrub like in my area but in places where there is more rainfall they actually get to a decent size. Their tap roots can be as long as 190 foot so as to reach the water table. Mesquites are in the legume family and this time of year their branches are covered in green seed pods.
These pods can be made into coffee, ground into a flour, or used to make jelly or wine. No I've never had any mesquite wine but I might try to make some soon. I'd never heard of such until I began researching for this post. But you have to be careful messing with mesquites. They too have thorns as you can see this this picture.
These horns will penetrate the sole of a tennis shoe or the flank of a horse, resulting in a painful festering sore if not removed. I have experienced that.
Last for this week have the ever present yucca.
It cracks me up to travel elsewhere and see these spiny suckers used as ornamental plants. There are a nuisance in my area and one of the few plants that will remain green even after a wildfire has swept over them. The yucca is the state flower of New Mexico.
Yucca's grow a tall stalk in the middle that blooms and then form a hard shelled pod. Here is one alongside the creek.
Here is a general shot of the area. Back when I was younger me and my friends played paintball on a regular;r basis and the remnants of our bunkers are still visible in spots.
Now for a contest. Debra from over at My Skilled Hands has been awarding prizes for those who comment on her My Town posts and I'm stealing the idea. But I'm gonna make you work for it. Look at the following picture and guess what the image is. You don't have to be right, you just have to guess to be eligible an Amarillo or Texas related prize worth ... not much but it's a prize just the same. I'll choose a winner randomly from all who play along by leaving a guess in the comments.
Also I am headed to Sin City next week to try my hand at the poker tables so I will not be able to link to everyone posts next week. If someone else would like to volunteer to compile a list I'll put out the word and I will get a post up to contribute but that is all I can get done before I leave.
This week's MY TOWN MONDAYERS
Shauna Roberts -- Riverside, California
J.L. Krueger -- Kabul, Afghanistan (I'm adding him of my own volition because these posts need to be read)
Patti Abbott -- Detroit, Michigan
Barbara Martin -- Toronto, Canada
Debra -- Peninsula, Ohio
Clair Dickson -- Livingston County, Michigan
Samantha Winston -- Montchauvet, France
Barrie Summy -- San Diego, California
Terrie Farley Moran (Women of Mystery) -- New York, New York
Mary Nix -- Olmsted Falls, Ohio
PretZel -- Des Moines, Iowa
The Anti-Wife -- Seattle, Washington