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Looking for a place to visit next spring in the middle of the city that is undeveloped and still considered a natural area? Try going to Oakmont Park, which is owned and managed by the City of Ft. Worth. The staff at the Ft. Worth Nature Center has an interest in this property, and has some involvement with overseeing the management. There is usually some wildflower walks there in the spring, usually around the same time as the Tandy Hill Prairie tours. Call Suzanne Tuttle at the Nature Center for more details. It is a typical city park, with concrete jogging paths leading to Memorial Oak Park at Lake Benbrook below the spillway. Within the park is a natural limestone outcrop overlooking the Clear Fork of the Trinity River. This is just south of the outlet from Lake Benbrook and the Pecan Valley Golf Course.
The limestone outcrop is unique for this area, with tall bluffs overlooking the river. The jogging path leading to Memorial Oak Park at Lake Benbrook leads through typical river bottom type forests, somewhat disturbed. Some of the typical plants in this natural area overlooking the river are Pale Leaf Yucca (Yucca pallida), Engelmann's Daisy (Engelmannia peristenia), Narrow-leaf Gayfeather (Liatris mucronata), Barbara's Buttons (Marshallia caespitosa), Missouri Primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa), Purple Paintbrush (Castilleja purpurea), Foxglove (Penstemon cobaea), and Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnitifida). One plant found here is considered uncommon to rare in our area, known as Locoweed (Oxytropis lambertii). There are a few other locations in North Texas that have small populations of Locoweed, but the outcrop at Oak Mont Park has the best colony I've seen.
To find Oakmont Park, go south from I-20 on Bryant Irvin Road to the intersection of Oakmont Blvd and Bryant Irvin Road. Turn right on Oakmont Blvd and follow it to S Bellaire Drive. Turn right on S Bellaire Drive. The parking lot for Oakmont Park will be on your left. Walk the paved jogging path, turning left at the junction to the bridge crossing the river. The outcrop is to your left.
|Euphorbia cyathophora||Phoradendron tomentosum|
Wild Poinsettia & Mistletoe
During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, many close relatives of our native plants are found in our homes. The common Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is named for Joel Poinsett, who was the first U.S. minister to Mexico. The cultivated Poinsettia was brought into the U.S. in 1829. The inflorescence (flowers) are usually surrounded by colorful bracts, which are better referred to as leaves. The flowers themselves are actually much smaller and easily overlooked. The milky latex sap of all species of Euphorbia are supposedly toxic and is known to cause dermatitis with certain individuals. The cultivated Poinsettia is related to our native Wild Poinsettia (Euphorbia cyathospora). It occurs in our area on stream banks, and open areas. It is known from Bell, Dallas, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufman, Denton, and Tarrant counties. It flowers from May to September. Mistletoe (Phoradendron tomentosum) has commonly been used as Christmas decorations, and is known to be fatally poisonous to both humans and animals. The white fruits are particularly poisonous; if eaten, gastroenteritis and heart failure can result. Mistletoe parasitizes mostly Hackberry (Celtis sp.), Bois D'Arc (Maclura sp.), Mesquite (Prosopis sp.), and Elm (Ulmus sp.)