Texas skeletonplant, Texas skeleton weed, Skeleton-plant, Purple dandelion
We found this little beauty near the seep spring on our daily walk down the old Orient railroad line north out of Alpine. We were on a futile search for a couple of croaking frogs that we could hear but could not locate. I figure this bloom was prettier than any West Texas frog we might have found!
Texas skeleton weed grows 12–15 inches tall, with smooth, almost leafless stems. Its few leaves are at the base of the plant and are narrow, gray-green, with short lobes. The bare stems, growing at odd angles, suggest its common name. The flower heads, rose to lavender and 2 inches across, grow individually at the end of flower stems. Only 1 flower head blooms at a time on each slender, forking stem. The bracts form a tube about 1 inch long, and the flower head extending from it opens out almost flat. It has 12 ray flowers and orchid-colored disc flowers that curl toward the center. Each ray has 5 minute teeth at the tip. When the stems are broken, they exude sap which coagulates into a gum.
Always accept a bloom while you are looking for frogs on your journey††nada te turbe††††jim