Sunday, April 6, 2014
Image by W.L. Wagner @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
I’ve never met Gail M. Williams but we have something in common: we pull over and investigate roadside plants that catch our eye. Sometimes we get an olfactory surprise.
Williams, writing in the Plainview Daily Herald, recounts some episodes of vehicle-based botany in southwest Texas. The one that stands out for me is Nyctaginia capitata (shown above). It’s commonly known as Scarlet Muskflower (see where this is going?) or Devil’s Bouquet (we’ve arrived!). Her guidebook says the flowers have a “strong and rather offensive odor” and she confirms that.
N. capitata is found mostly in southern New Mexico and Texas, although it apparently has been introduced near Dallas. I’ll be in Dallas later this month but doubt I’ll get a whiff—Devil’s bouquet doesn’t flower until late spring.