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Rare Plants of Williamson County with Bill Carr – Williamson County Chapter Meeting, Nov 9

November 9 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

November 9, 2023 @ 7:00 pm 8:30 pm

–Calendar entry updated 10/20/2023, with a new title and an updated topic description from our speaker.

Join NPSOT-Williamson County on Thursday, November 9, 2023, when our featured topic will be “Rare Plants of Williamson County” with Bill Carr.  Free and open to the public. The meeting begins at 7:00 PM.  Our guest speaker’s presentation begins after a short business meeting.

This month’s presentation will NOT be recorded for YouTube.

About our topic: Although every plant is interesting in its own way, this talk will focus on some of the rare species known from Williamson County, including some that were reported from the area within the past few years, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Art Gibson* and others. This information will be provided within the natural regions framework in the hope that it will help others appreciate the botanical diversity in their neighborhoods.

* Note from NPSOT-Wilco => Dr. Art Gibson is a long-time chapter member!

About our speaker: Bill Carr received a B. S. in botany from The Ohio State University in December 1978 and wasted no time moving to Texas, settling in Alpine in January 1979 before eventually relocating to Austin. He spent 35 years doing field work for Texas plant conservation programs, first with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and later with The Nature Conservancy of Texas. After leaving TNCT in 2011, he formed his own company, Acme Botanical Services, to continue to help private landowners with plant conservation efforts. Bill is now working part-time as a file clerk at the Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center at the University of Texas at Austin, the herbarium to which he contributed about 25,000 specimens during his field career.

NOTE: this month’s in-person location is the Round Rock Public Library, 200 E Liberty Ave, Round Rock, TX 78664

The original meeting announcement is here on the Williamson County Chapter’s blog page.

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About the Region

New Braunfels, the location of our Fall 2024 Symposium, straddles both the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion and the Blackland Prairie ecoregion. Interstate 35 divides the city of New Braunfels; its path through the city closely parallels the boundary of these two ecoregions, with the Edwards Plateau on the west side and the Blackland Prairies region to the east. The Edwards Plateau area is also called the Hill Country; however, this general term covers a much larger area extending farther north. Spring-fed creeks are found throughout the region; deep limestone canyons, rivers, and lakes (reservoirs) are common. Ashe juniper is perhaps the most common woody species found throughout the region. Additional woody species include various species of oak, with live oak (Quercus fusiformis) being the most common. Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) border waterways. This area is well known for its spring wildflower displays, though they may be viewed in spring, late summer, and fall, as well. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, average annual rainfall in the Edwards Plateau ranges from 15 to 34 inches.

The Blackland Prairie extends from the Red River south to San Antonio, bordered on the west by the Edwards Plateau and the Cross Timbers, and on the east by the Post Oak Savannah. Annual rainfall averages 30 to 40 inches, with higher averages to the east. This region is dominated by prairie species. The most common grass species include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) in the uplands and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the riparian areas and drainages. Common herbaceous flowering plants include salvias, penstemons, and silphiums. This area has suffered greatly from overgrazing and agricultural use. Few intact areas remain, though many of the plants can be found along county roadsides throughout the region.

Our four host chapters (New Braunfels, Lindheimer, Guadalupe, and the Hill Country chapters) are located in one or both of the ecoregions above. However, the eastern portion of Guadalupe County also falls within the Post Oak Savanna ecoregion. Annual rainfall averages 35 to 45 inches, with higher averages to the east. A wide variety of hardwood trees are found, including several species of oaks, elms, and in the Bastrop area, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Grasses and forbs dominate in the open savannas, with most common grass being little bluestem. Ranching, agriculture, and fire suppression have allowed woody species to encroach on the once-open savannas.

Source: Wildflowers of Texas by Michael Eason