RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – Bountiful rainfall has transformed the arid ranch country of deep South Texas into a cornucopia of colorful flowering.
The week following Hurricane Hanna’s downpours of some 10 inches and more initially brought forth an astounding assortment of ebony blooms. When viewed from the air, the extent of the flowering ebony forest is breathtaking.
Ebonies are hardy native trees that respond readily throughout the spring and summer to timely rainfall donning creamy white blooms that soon mature to yellow-gold powder puffs before vanishing in a matter of days.
The wonderfully fragrant flowers begin as bright spiky spheres resembling glistening snowflakes, but their captivating aroma fades quickly making their fleeting appearance all the more intriguing.
Within days of the vibrant ebony forest bloom receding into mixed hues of greenery, the cenizo or purple sage takes center stage.
Once again, an overview is required to fully appreciate the extensive flowering of this prolific denizen of arid brush country.
During dry periods this delicate silvery-gray leafed shrub inconspicuously blends in with surrounding drabness, but rainfall triggers a profusion of flowering announcing the abundance of this hardy native.
Depending on time of day, the way light plays and individual plant… cenizo celebrates a potpourri of color from intense lavender, to varying hues of pink.
While not as intoxicating as ebony, the subtle scent of cenizo exudes an enchantingly alluring aroma as it drifts delicately thru chaparral.
Almost lost amidst this profusion of color, a rare cenizo albino, or white cenizo offers its soft and subtly hued flowers to morning sun.
Rain is the magic elixir, awakening potential of arid landscape as nature transitions native flowering in primordial cadence that can only make one wonder what follows as cenizo falls like purple snow.