South Texas in March 2018

The Peyote Gardens

Some cacti that we encountered in March while we were in South Texas (images and data of the study group will be coming soon.)

Coryphantha (Escobaria) emskoetteriana in Starr County
Coryphantha (Escobaria) emskoetteriana in Starr County
Coryphantha (Escobaria) emskoetteriana in Starr County
Coryphantha (Escobaria) emskoetteriana in Starr County
Coryphantha (Escobaria) emskoetteriana in Starr County
Coryphantha (Escobaria) emskoetteriana in Starr County
Coryphantha (Escobaria) emskoetteriana in Starr County
Coryphantha (Escobaria) emskoetteriana in Starr County
Coryphantha (Escobaria) emskoetteriana in Starr County
Coryphantha (Escobaria) emskoetteriana in Starr County

 

Echinocactus texensis in Starr County
Echinocactus texensis in Starr County

 

Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County
Lophophora williamsii in Jim Hogg County

 

Mammillaria heyderi in Starr County
Mammillaria heyderi in Starr County
Mammillaria heyderi in Starr County
Mammillaria heyderi in Starr County
Mammillaria heyderi in Starr County
Mammillaria heyderi in Starr County
Mammillaria heyderi in Starr County
Mammillaria heyderi in Starr County
Mammillaria heyderi in Starr County
Mammillaria heyderi in Starr County
Mammillaria heyderi in Starr County
Mammillaria heyderi in Starr County

 

Sclerocactus scheeri in Starr County
Sclerocactus scheeri in Starr County
Sclerocactus scheeri in Starr County
Sclerocactus scheeri in Starr County
Sclerocactus scheeri in Starr County
Sclerocactus scheeri in Starr County
Sclerocactus scheeri in Starr County
Sclerocactus scheeri in Starr County
Sclerocactus scheeri in Starr County
Sclerocactus scheeri in Starr County
Sclerocactus scheeri in Starr County
Sclerocactus scheeri in Starr County

Early article on peyote

This is the earliest mention of peyote use that we have found appearing in the English language (a couple of centuries after the Spanish accounts).

 

From the The Times Picayune (New Orleans, LA), 1857, 30 September, page 1.

Letter from “The Colonel”
—-
Whiskey Root—-Southern Product—-Drying Whiskey—-A Dram’s a Drachm — A “Buckload” and “A Passel of Whiskey”—-Dealers and Consumers—-One of the Benefits of the Kansas and Nebraska Bill.
—-

[Correspondence of the Picayune.]
Rancho, Near Corpus Christi, Texas,
September 19, 1857.

My Dear Pic.—  Some time ago I wrote you that where was such a thing in this country as a “whiskey root;” you disbelieved; I now take my revenge by sending you the specimen. It is what the Indians call “Pie-o ke.” (as near as I can spell the pronunciation). It grows in Southern Texas on the range of sand hills bordering on the Rio Grande river, and in gravel, sandy soil. The Indians eat it for its exhilarating effect on the system, producing precisely the same as alcoholic drinks. It is sliced as you would a cucumber, and these small pieces chewed, the juice swallowed, and in about the same time as comfortably tight cock tails would “stir the divinity” within you, this indicates itself; only its effects are what I might term a little more k-a v o r-t i n-g, giving rather a wilder scope to the imaginations and actions. It can be sliced and dried, and in this way the Indians preserve it, then parch and serve it up as coffee or tea. It is evidently of cactus species, and it resembles that more than any other plant. I have never seen this particular root mentioned in any work, and believe these—and specimens I sent to the editor of the Southern Cultivator—to be the first specimens sent from the State. I wish you would have these analyzed, and publish the result. I would do this myself but for two reasons—1st, I have no crucibles, chemicals tests, or conveniences for accurately making the analysis; and 2d, even if I had, I don’t know how to do it. If, therefore, under these disadvantageous circumstances, I were to make the experiment, the result could not be relied upon as a chemical certainty.
This plant is suggestive of much reflection to the Southern man; it is a Southern product, and as such I am disposed to patronize it.
From its growing only among the rocky hills, its life is a hard one, and as such, I’m disposed to sympathize with it.
It being of home manufacture, we can supply ourselves cheaper than sending to the North, or elsewhere.
And just think of the advantage of a fellow hanging out his whiskey to dry!—a most decided improvement.
Think of the convenience of calling for a bushel of whiskey! for it’s a going to knock wet measure into dry, thus—say a bushel is 56 pounds, 16 ounces in a pound, and 16 drachms in an ounce. This would give 15,333 drachms to the bushel; or a bushel would give one man 15,333 drams, or give 15,333 men one dram each. And you can thus conveniently calculate from a single private individual up to a whole family, or to a—“general muster.”
It is going to benefit the dealer; for it settles definitely the question—what a dram is. But now, some men say—“just pour me out very little;” another will say—“give me a Buck Load”—which means five fingers on a tumbler—as that is the measure on his ramrod for a “buck load;” and yet will say—“I’ll take a passel of whiskey.” Under this new “Southern Institute,” a dram’s a drachm; and if one dram is not sufficient to line all the coats of his stomach, he can just say—“duplicate,” or—“cut me off another peck,” or “half bushel,” according to the size of the stomach.
It will be a great convenience to the consumer; for he can send a wallet and a tape string measure of how much he belts around the stomach, and the dealer consults his “table of measures.” and fills the order. Suppose for instance, a party of three gentlemen wish to go fishing, and want whiskey; their order would read thus:
“Mr. Whiskey-Straight”
“Sir—-Please send whiskey for party; two days; 3 men; measuring 36, 47, and 83 —tight. Yours, in spirit and in truth.
“Rum One.”
“N.B. See it well tied up in the bag, and don’t throw it loose on Jo’s saddle, as he is apt to drop some on the road.”
The discovery of this valuable product, totally refutes the Northern fanatics’ assertion that “the South cannot subsist without the North.” It never grew, in luxuriance, until after the passage of the Kansas and Nebraska bill—which leaves to the people the right to form their domestic institutions in their own way.
But I send it to you as a botanical novelty, and shall remain in a state of excitement—I have some of it dried—until I hear the result of the chemical analysis. Your, &c,
The Colonel

Presidio County in March 2018

Acacia roemeriana with carpenter bee

A few images of some of the cacti that we encountered in Presidio County earlier this year.

Ariocarpus fissuratus
Ariocarpus fissuratus
Ariocarpus fissuratus
Ariocarpus fissuratus
Ariocarpus fissuratus
Ariocarpus fissuratus
Ariocarpus fissuratus
Ariocarpus fissuratus
Ariocarpus fissuratus
Ariocarpus fissuratus

Ariocarpus fissuratus
Ariocarpus fissuratus
Ariocarpus fissuratus
Ariocarpus fissuratus

Coryphantha echinus
Coryphantha echinus
Coryphantha echinus
Coryphantha echinus
Coryphantha tuberculosa
Coryphantha tuberculosa
Coryphantha tuberculosa
Coryphantha tuberculosa
Coryphantha tuberculosa
Coryphantha tuberculosa
Echinocactus horizonthalonius
Echinocactus horizonthalonius
Echinocactus horizonthalonius
Echinocactus horizonthalonius
Echinocactus horizonthalonius
Echinocactus horizonthalonius
Echinocactus horizonthalonius
Echinocereus dasyacanthus
Echinocereus dasyacanthus
Echinocereus dasyacanthus
Echinocereus dasyacanthus
Echinocereus dasyacanthus
Echinocereus dasyacanthus
Echinocereus stramineus
Echinocereus stramineus
Echinocereus stramineus
Echinocereus stramineus
Epithelantha micromeris
Epithelantha micromeris
Epithelantha micromeris
Epithelantha micromeris
Hamatocactus hamatocanthus
Hamatocactus hamatocanthus (now Ferocactus hamatocanthus)

Hamatocactus hamatocanthus

Hamatocactus hamatocanthus (now Ferocactus hamatocanthus)
Hamatocactus hamatocanthus (now Ferocactus hamatocanthus)
Jatropha dioica with Lophophora williamsii
Jatropha dioica with Lophophora williamsii
Lophophora williamsii
Lophophora williamsii
Lophophora williamsii
Lophophora williamsii
Lophophora williamsii
Lophophora williamsii
Opuntia phaeacantha
Opuntia phaeacantha
Opuntia rufida
Opuntia rufida
Sclerocactus uncinatus
Sclerocactus uncinatus AKA Glandulicactus uncinatus AKA Ancistrocactus uncinatus

Turnera diffusa

Turnera diffusa

Another plant that we encountered near the Rio Grande was damiana (Turnera diffusa AKA Turnera aphrodisiaca).

Turnera diffusa
Turnera diffusa
Turnera diffusa
Turnera diffusa
Turnera diffusa
Turnera diffusa
Turnera diffusa
Turnera diffusa
Turnera diffusa
Turnera diffusa

The Wall

7 mile long fence in Hudspeth County

Dr. Norma Fowler crafted a very nice letter concerning the impact of Trump’s Wall on wildlife and fauna in the border lands. We thank her for granting permission to post a downloadable PDF on our website.

Fowler et al 2018 Frontiers border wall letter

We recently had opportunity to see the 7 mile long fence in Hudspeth County that was built during the Bush administration.
The proposed Wall will be taller, much longer (the border is 1,989 miles long) and much more substantial.

7 mile long fence in Hudspeth County
7 mile long fence in Hudspeth County

 

Physaria thamnophila (Rollins & E.A. Shaw) O’Kane & Al-Shehbaz

Physaria thamnophila

This is our first blog post but it is not about a cactus.

In March of 2018, we were fortunate to have been permitted to see the rare and endangered Zapata bladderpod in habitat.  Its habitat is small but federally protected and off-limits to casual visitors. Despite that level of protection, it is threatened by the building of a wall between the US and Mexico as said wall has to be built far enough from the river so as to be on stable ground.

This was formerly known as Lesquerella thamnophila Rollins & E.A. Shaw.

Physaria thamnophila

Physaria thamnophila
Physaria thamnophila in habitat
Physaria thamnophila
Physaria thamnophila in habitat
Physaria thamnophila
Physaria thamnophila flower
Physaria thamnophila
Physaria thamnophila flower
Physaria thamnophila
Physaria thamnophila
Physaria thamnophila
Physaria thamnophila seedpods
Physaria thamnophila
Physaria thamnophila seedpod

Physaria thamnophila
Physaria thamnophila hairs
Physaria thamnophila
Physaria thamnophila hairs