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Later this month, as a project with the North Texas (NTMN) chapter, I will be co-leading a walk entitled "Signs of Spring" at Breckinridge Park with NTMN volunteer Jim Varnum. This walk will be on Saturday, March 29th from 2:00 - 3:30pm, and is approved as AT by the Cross Timbers chapter board. This walk is part of the Richardson Urban Naturalist Program, and requires registration. To sign up for the walk, call the Heights Recreation Center at (972) 231-4624. There are other walks here as well later on this spring. See our calendar for details.
Breckinridge Park is a City of Richardson Park in southeast Collin County. Last year the NTMN chapter approved a project lead by Dana Wilson of the NTMN chapter. Her goal was to use the city-owned park to organize nature walks to the public. The park is approximately 513 acres, of which about 200 acres is a natural area. Beginning in April of 2002, Jim Varnum, Dana Wilson and Jeff Quayle began a floristic survey of the natural area; the majority of the survey has been done by Jim and Jeff. To date, approximately 273 plant species have been identified, some still needing to be studied.
The park has some unusual flora for our area, particularly for the Blackland Prairie ecosystem. Listed here are some of the plants: Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea), Pink Eupatorium (Ageratina incarnatum=Eupatorium), Glandular Gayfeather (Liatris glandulosa), a new species of gayfeather described by BRIT last year, Bear's Foot (Smallanthus uvedalia), Gravelweed Crowbeard (Verbesina helianthoides), Marbleseed (Onosmodium bejariense), Whorled Silene (Silene stellata), Wild Blue Indigo (Baptisia australis), Hall's Dalea (Dalea hallii), Trout Lily (Erythronium albidum), Lopseed (Phryma leptostachya), and Jumpseed (Polygonum virginianum).
Directions: From 635 @ 75 in Dallas, go north to Richardson, taking the exit for Renner Road. Turn right and go east, passing under the George Bush Freeway. Continue east past Northstar Road on the right. About 1 mile east, turn right onto Moroney Dr. The walk starts from the large parking lot on Moroney Dr.
Blue Funnel Lilies (Androstephium coeruleum) are in the family Liliaceae. They are one of our most gorgeous native perennials to bloom in early spring, although sometimes difficult to locate, due to their short flowering period. Flowers can be light blue, pale lavender, or even almost white. You will see them emerging around early March and typically have a peak flowering time for approximately 2 to 3 weeks. Flowering times vary sometimes from year to year, but usually are blooming by the third week of March. Habitats are usually low grassy areas in the Grand Prairie, Blackland Prairie (on the Austin Chalk), and west to the Edwards Plateau and Rolling Plains. They are known from Cooke, Dallas, Johnson, Montague, Parker, Tarrant, and Wise counties. Some of the most likely places to look for them are at Cedar Hill State Park, Dallas Nature Center, Fort Worth Nature Center, Lake Mineral Wells State Park, LBJ National Grasslands, Spring Creek Forest Preserve, Tandy Hills Park, and White Rock Lake.