You may have to look a little harder to find evidence that the season is changing here in the Hill Country of Texas but it’s well worth the extra effort.  Our seasons are little vaguer and tend to meld into each other a bit more than the vivid changes marked in the more northern regions but they are beautiful and definite even so.

Late summer I start to notice our native Clematis also called Old Man’s Beard, aptly so because you don’t notice so much the flower which is odd given it’s a Clematis but the feathery, silky plumes that grow out of the seed covering.  These native vines (Clematis drummondii) can be seen covering fences and old farm structures with great masses of almost silken hairs.  If you’re lucky enough to catch them in the morning light after a heavy dew it’s almost a magical sight.

Another marker of fall arriving is noticed more by scent than sight.  Walking in the pasture the heavy perfume of Texas Kidneywood is almost overwhelming in the early morning or late evening this time of year.  Eysenhardtia texana is an open, airy shrub with lacy foliage belonging to the pea family. It’s easily overlooked until the spikes of white-yellow blooms open and appear to cover the 3-10 ft. tall perennial with a light snow of fragrance.

Then there is the Velvet Leafed Senna that dots the pastures and roadsides in fall with golden yellow 5 petaled flowers.  Senna lindheimeriana is another of the many Texas plants named after New Braunfels resident and Father of Texas Botany Ferdinand Lindheimer.  This 3-6 ft. high bushy perennial has compound leaves that are light green in color and covered with soft hairs. In the landscape, the seeds provide an important food source for birds.

Yes…fall is here in the Texas Hill Country so look for some of these and other interesting native fall bloomers…you’ll be glad you did!


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