Growing Up with the Wildflowers in Texas

The author of the following article enjoyed several weekends with a few of the young ladies in Livingston, Texas. She shared with them some photographs, and she visited with the mother of a baby girl in Livingston. The writer left Texas well before that baby had joined the other young girls in Livingston-well before the baby-turned-toddler had begun to take an interest in the wildflowers in Texas.

The young girls of Livingston, Texas enjoy traipsing through the countryside and collecting samples of the east Texas wildflowers. A good many of those girls have learned the names for dozens of the wildflowers in Texas. Some of them have also learned a good bit about the history of the Texas wildflowers, and about where those wildflowers grow in profusion.

For instance, those young girls know that when they walk close to a stream, then they stand a good chance of coming upon some red cardinal flowers. They know that if they see lots of butterflies, then they stand a good chance of coming upon some Butterfly weed. Those facts are common knowledge to anyone familiar with east Texas wildflowers.

As the young girls in Livingston mature, and as they become young adults, then they learn a good deal about wildflowers in regions beyond Livingston. They learn about all the wildflowers in Texas. They discover that some of the state's best recognized flowers can not be found among the pines of east Texas.

For example, Texas Bluebells can not be found among the flowers collected by the young Livingston ladies. In fact, Texas law prohibits anyone from picking a bluebell bud from off of a wild bluebell plant. That does not, however, eliminate the possibility for adding blue to a bouquet made from the wildflowers in Texas.

The Texas bluebonnets are the official state flower. The Texas bluebonnets are there for the picking. No doubt the Texas bluebonnets caught the eye of more than on of the first white settlers in Texas. Those same settlers learned to appreciate as well the characteristics of the less colorful wildflowers in Texas.

As the young girls in Livingston expand their knowledge of the wildflowers in Texas, they could very well discover the many different ways that the settlers made use of those wildflowers. They might learn, for example, that the orange Coreopsis was stuffed into mattresses. The settlers had discovered that it could help to drive-off the annoying ticks and fleas.

The young girls in Livingston might also learn about how the settlers made a tea from the parts of the Foxglove. The settlers had found that such Foxglove tea acted like a laxative. The Foxglove provided the ingredients for a most healthful drink-a drink far more healthful than the beverage made from the Agaves.

People acquainted with the wildflowers in Texas know that the tall stalks of the Agaves can be found in southwestern Texas. They also know that that desert plant provides the ingredients for Tequila. Anyone who has traveled to Mexico has undoubtedly seen evidence that the Agaves grows well in the soil south of the U.S. border.

The mothers in Livingston, Texas are in no great hurry to teach their daughters about the beverage made from the Agaves. In fact, those mothers are grateful that the Agaves is not one of the east Texas wildflowers. Yet those same mothers might not be displeased, if any of their daughters were to embark on an effort aimed at the reproduction of that traditional Foxglove tea.

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