Driving back from the Traditions in Western Medicine Conference in New Mexico a few days ago gave me a rare opportunity to see the fall roadside blooms of Hill Country. We have had an unusually wet year(thank goodness) and it has allowed a nice array of blooms in September. It is a rare occcurance for me to be driving across hill country at this time so I was happy to get a chance to do do some roadside botanizing.
In particular I noticed the Eryngium leavenworthii in the Apiaceae Family dotting fields by the roadside with its purplish blooms. I have grown this in my garden but it was the first time for me to see it covering fields. Eryngium is also known as Rattlsesnake master, ethnobotanical sources say it was used to treat rattlesnake bites and I was taught it as a potential treatment for bladder cancer. I noticed standing next to it in the dried out fall grasses that there is definitely a bit of a sound like a rattle snake shaking its rattle as the grass hits against it(dont ask how I know this)I am still getting to know our various native species in Central Texas. This one would be an excellent addition to Fall gardens for both color and experimentation purposes.
I also noticed that our native Liatris sp. (didnt get to key)in the Asteraceae Family was prolific from about Lubbock down into Abilene–where Eryngium tended to take over. The Liatris, or Blazing Gayfeather(I love that name) is pink and tends to grow in clumps along the roadside. Liatris has mainly ethnobotanical uses as an antiinflammatory but I need to gather some seed because WOW it looks great and again would be great native Fall color in a wildscape. If anyone is using it as medicine please let me know!