Hill Country Naturalist

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When most people think of the winter landscape, they tend to think of brown, dead-looking foliage. While a lot of our trees, shrubs and perennials do in fact lose their leaves in the winter, we in the Hill Country have greener winters than folks in many other parts of the country.

Most of the greenery we see in the winter is due to our two most common woody plants, juniper and live oaks, and since these two species make up so much of our landscape, our winters are not as dreary as some other places. Mexican white oak, which is not locally native but grows in Val Verde county and into Mexico, and is commonly planted in this area, has leaves that persist into the spring like live oaks.

But, those are not the only evergreens we have, so sprinkled among the junipers and live oaks are many other green shrubs. Here are some of them.

Texas Mountain Laurel, also called Mescal Bean, is an evergreen shrub usually 4 to 8' tall with compound, dark-green leaves with shiny leaflets 1 to 2" long. It has large showy purplish flowers in the early spring that smell like grape Kool-Aid. Deer will avoid this plant

 

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Our Hill Country Winters are Semi-Green