Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Texas Wildflower in the Ozarks
Texas Native Wildflower Takes Root in the Ozarks
By Jennifer Ailor, MN
Several years ago I spotted a new wildflower along my heavily shaded driveway. It was spindly, growing right at the base of an oak. But it was loaded with heavy, bright yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers that bowed it almost to the ground.
I couldn't find anything close to it in various books on Missouri wildflowers. Then, in 2012, a friend near Stockton sent me a photo of the exact same flower growing in a fringe area of a pasture that her husband couldn't brush hog. It was the same flower except hers was bigger and clearly loving the sun. Each bloom lasts only about a day.
With the help of Greene County Extension's Patrick Byers, who had never seen the flower before, we determined it was Esperanza Tecoma Stans, more commonly known as Gold Star or Yellow Bells. It's a native of central and western Texas, does very well in dry and drought conditions, is deer resistant, can grow to 15 or 20 feet and in the right conditions blooms May to frost. The sources I checked said Zone 8a is about the northern reach of its territory, but I'm in 6a, and my friend is even further north.
Right now (early September) my plants are blooming, after a hiatus of several years. I'm going to collect some seed and plant them in a sunnier location where, more true to type, they should bloom all summer. Or I may just order a plant from a nursery, such as davesgarden.com. Either way, I'm adding Esperanza Tecoma Stans to my flower garden.
The natives of Texas and Mexico have used T. Stans for making bows, bee fodder, and even made a type of beer from its roots. It was also used as a medicinal herb in treating diabetes, stomach cramps, and for intestinal worms. Native to Texas, there are now several cultivars developed for the commercial market so it is unknown if they have migrated northward with the warming climate or were planted here and escaped. Texas A&M Extension.