Hymenocallis and the freeway

Joe Shaw jshaw@opuntiads.com
Sun, 25 Mar 2007 10:46:13 PDT
Hi Gang,

Some years ago (not sure when), the Texas Department of Transportation built 
a bridge over the Trinity River, near the Gulf of Mexico.  This Interstate 
10 bridge is much traveled and is being widened.

When the original bridge was built the DOT created a wonderful habitat for 
Hymenocallis liriosme as they prepared land for the bridge and foundations. 
The soil is deep and rich from the adjacent river, and the location is 
frequently wet or partially submerged in winter.  There are many acres of H. 
liriosme that bloom each April and May; adjacent areas are rich with Crinum 
americanum.  The H. liriosme plants near the bridge are the largest I've 
ever observed and have the largest flowers too.  Perhaps it is just because 
the soil is so rich and deep, or perhaps the local race is truly large. 
However, when I grow the river plants in my garden they are typically twice 
the height of locally obtained plants (Conroe, TX).  The river flowers 
spread to 8 inches (sometimes a bit more), whereas the Conroe flowers are 
typically 5-6 inches from spidery tip to spidery tip.

Anyway, the DOT created a wonderful habitat, but they are now they are 
widening the freeway.  I passed by recently and great chunks of land have 
been churned up as a new bridge is being put into place, parallel to the old 

I never really calculated the area involved, but I suppose there were about 
10 acres of H. liriosme plants in bloom in May 2005 and May 2006.  I'm sure 
that many Hymenocallis will survive, but the large expanse of flowers will 
be a thing of the past.  Perhaps half the area will be lost to the new 
bridge, perhaps more.  I guess it is possible that the current construction 
will inadvertently create a new expanse of H. liriosme habitat.

LINK:  Image, H. liriosme below I-10 bridge, Trinity River, TX


LINK:  Close-up Image, H. liriosme, large-flowered type below bridge




Conroe TX

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