A Walk in Fern Bluff Park
March 10-11, 2001

Page 3

Archives of previous walks in the park: 12 May 2007 05 May 2007; 28 April 2007, 21 April 2007, 14 April 2007,  1 April 2007 Easter Egg Hunt; 24 March 2007,  17 March 2007; Nov. 03, 2001; April 04, 2001; March 25, 15, 10-11, 04, 2001; February 2418, 10, 2001

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Grapevines in the park continue to green up, as the weather trends in the direction of added warmth. The Grape Family (Vitaceae) contains 11-12 genera and at least 700 species. This part of the Round Rock area may be home to as many as 39 of these. Identification to species is relatively simple, once the leaf shape and the characteristics of the flowers and fruit are known. We will watch the grape vines in Fern Bluff Park carefully in the next few weeks to gather as much of this information as possible. Hopefully, that will make it possible to identify most of the members of the Grape Family present here. Monique Reed points out that this is almost certainly the Mustang Grape (Vitis mustangensis) because the undersides of the leaves are densely white-hairy. Notice this obvious feature of the lower leaf, half of whose underside is showing in the photo.

 

The twig section at right, sporting a thorn and wooly leaves is the Woolybucket Bumelia (now Sideroxylon lanuginosum; prev. Bumelia lanuginosa), also called Chittamwood, Gum Bully, or Gum Bumelia. It is a common shrub in this area, though we are on the western edge of the favored habitat for its classic form. This is one of the first shrubs I was able to identify, in 1978, when first attempting to become familiar with the botanicals in the woods around our home in northeastern Travis County. . 

Remember the oak bud from the past two weeks? Today one of its buds (below) has partially opened. The unfolding structure issuing forth from this bud appears to be what? A leaf? Or a flower? In many oaks the flowers appear with the leaves, beginning in the month of March and continuing through May. We will watch the buds develop on this tree and others, to record the unfolding process that takes place from flower to fruit. 

 

 

 

There are also many other trees, shrubs and woody vines in Fern Bluff Park, and practically all of them have names that are reported in the common reference texts. Most (but not all) are already beginning to open their buds. As they do this, we will notice subtle, and in some cases dramatic changes in the shapes of the plant's leaves and flowers as they spring from the bud and mature. These changes sometimes make it difficult to accurately identify the species before the mature forms can be observed. . 

Oaks grow slowly. They are members of the Beech Family (Fagaceae), a large Family of 9 genera and more than 1000 species. Over 500 species of oaks (of the genus Quercus) are known. Some 60 species are native to the U.S., and  Round Rock is home to many of them.

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Archives of previous walks in the park: 12 May 2007 05 May 2007; 28 April 2007, 21 April 2007, 14 April 2007,  1 April 2007 Easter Egg Hunt; 24 March 2007,  17 March 2007; Nov. 03, 2001; April 04, 2001; March 25, 15, 10-11, 04, 2001; February 2418, 10, 2001

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