I absolutely love spring. Some years, spring never arrives. Sometimes spring goes missing and winter turns right into summer. But not this year. We have had beautiful weather and I have enjoyed being outdoors.
But, all good things must come to an end. Now don’t get me wrong. I do like the summer, but you will find me inside much more often then outside. Sometimes I wonder if some of my plants would rather be inside enjoying the air-conditioning.
Did you know that May and June are the most stressful months for plants in the desert southwest? Well, it is. Although the hot summer temperatures cool down in the evening, the daytime heat coupled with the extreme dryness of our climate is quite stressful for plants. When the monsoon season arrives in July, the increased humidity and rain bring relief to the plants.
So, what is a plant to do when it cannot escape indoors from the heat? Well, I would love to show you one example of what some shrubs do to deal with the dry heat.
To really see what I am talking about, look closely at the photo below…
Can you see it? Can you tell what helps to protect the flowers from the sun?
Hint: Look at the little hairs on the petals.
Texas Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) and all other Leucophyllum species have tiny hairs on their flowers, stems and their leaves, which help to deflect the sun’s rays and helps to reduce the amount of water lost to the air. It is these tiny hairs that give the leaves a gray-green color.
Drive down any street in the Desert Southwest and you will see these beautiful shrubs throughout the residential landscape.
Even though I have worked as a horticulturist for over 10 years, I am still amazed at how plants adapt to their environment.
By the way, you may be thinking that I took these close-up photos to show the tiny hairs covering the blossoms, but actually, my goal was to show how beautiful the flower was. It was only after I downloaded the pictures that I saw the tiny hairs.
It makes you wonder what else you may find just by taking close-up pictures of plants….