LBJ National Grasslands in Decatur: Visit Prairies All Over TX with NPAT Chapters!

sm lbj ng

Pauline Singleton recently joined the Fort Worth NPAT Chapter to visit the Lyndon B. Johnson National Grassland in Decatur Texas.  Scroll down for her account and photos. (Top, l-r:Milkwort, LBJ National Grassland, Pineapple Cactus)

Recently I blogged about Visiting Prairies All Over Texas with NPAT. Pauline’s trip is a reminder that NPAT’s chapters, just like our Houston Chapter, often offers field trips open to the public also. To see their offerings, go to the chapter section of  the NPAT website: http://texasprairie.org and click the general information link for the desired chapter and look for link to their website or facebook page.

UPDATE: The status of NPAT/Sierra Club field trip rescheduled from May 16 to May 30 will be updated shortly due to weather conditions. Check our website for the updates.

Thanks to Pauline for sending her account of the visit:

There is so much of Texas that I’ve never seen, and lately I’ve had a yen to see some new places.  So, when the Fort Worth chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas announced a field trip to the Lyndon B. Johnson National Grassland (which I’ve never visited), I decided to go.

The weather was threatening, but the rain held off until afternoon, so we were able to have the field trip.  It was pleasantly cool for this time of year.  There were 5 of us, including trip leader Jeff Quayle.  We visited a unit of the LBJ NG that is just a few miles outside Decatur.  It is a beautiful rolling terrain, some of which is covered with trees, and some of which is open prairie—in other words, a savannah.

Small hills in the area are ancient reefs, dating back to the Cretaceous Period, more than 65 million years ago.  One finds fossils lying about, including oysters, gastropods and other shallow water marine species.

Today a variety of habitats exist, which makes the place a home for a wide variety of plants.  It was the prairie species we were there to see, and we were not disappointed.  All one had to do was step out of the car to begin seeing wonderful things.

If you wish to see a list of plants that can be seen here, go to the Fort Worth chapter’s web site, and you can find it, along with lists for quite a few other places.

The place is well worth the effort to visit.

More photos & Pauline’s captions for the photos are below:

Always one of the scene-stealers, wherever it occurs, is Penstemon cobeae.

Always one of the scene-stealers, wherever it occurs, is Penstemon cobeae. 

Butterflyweed, Asclepias tuberosa, is more common in North Texas than it is in the Houston area.  It always delights me come across a patch of these.  I've known for a long time that there is variation in their color.  Most are bright orange, but one sometimes finds yellow ones.  And this time, I found some very interesting specimens that combine orange and yellow/gold in the most unusual way.

Butterflyweed, Asclepias tuberosa, is more common in North Texas than it is in the Houston area. It always delights me come across a patch of these. I’ve known for a long time that there is variation in their color. Most are bright orange, but one sometimes finds yellow ones. And this time, I found some very interesting specimens that combine orange and yellow/gold in the most unusual way.

Captions for Pauline’s top two

plant photos:

L: Not one to catch your eye as you speed down the highway, the white milkwort, Polygala alba, is nevertheless a graceful, beautiful plant.  It was present in good numbers.

R: There were cacti in bloom, the most common being the prickly pear, but we also saw this interesting species.  It is the pineapple cactus, Corypantha sulcata.

This a bivalve of the genus Neithea--a common fossil in the Cretaceous limestones of Texas.

This a bivalve of the genus Neithea–a common fossil in the Cretaceous limestones of Texas.