This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Amongst the representatives of the underbrush along the Guadeloupe we find one from the tropics, Yucca filamentosa, ten to fifteen feet high, straight sword-like leaves of four to five feet in length all around the top of the stem out of which there shoots the colossal flower-stalk with its hundreds of white bells. Some Yuccas are found with two and three of such flower stalks.
The nearer you approach the rivers or its tributaries the more sombre the vegetation gets to be. Here you find in great quantities the small fan palm, Sabel minor, Cannas with their splendid red and yellow blossoms studding thickly the shores, and finally Caladium esculentum which covers for miles and miles with its gigantic leaves the waters of the Comal and the San Pedro, and in the Guadeloupe and San Antonio, covers every little island and every open place along their water courses. Of grapes we find Vitis bipinnata, V. cordifolia, and V. ma-crocarpa.
The flora of the mountains is but little different from that of the uplands, and some shrubs and trees of even the valleys appear there, although in rather reduced proportions, such as Sophora, Cercis, Ungnadia, Yucca. The last named is, in solitary instances, found on naked rocks along the Sabine River. Standing in thick groups along the creeks, on the rock and on the high mountains, we see Prunus rivularis, three to six feet high; fruit round, light red, size of a cherry, pleasant acid taste, called in Texas the Taw-akony Plum, because that tribe of Indians used to preserve it in honey. Further we find the mountain side covered with a creeping grape vine, Vitis rupestris; fruit light red, small, very aromatic, sweet of taste. Further the wild Persimmon, ten to twelve feet high; evergreen, blue green foliage, fruit large, but of nauseating sweetness. Further divers kinds of sumac, Rhus verruscosa and R. copallina, the American Pepper Tree, Xanthoxylum Carolinianum and the Texas myrtle, Oreophylla myrtifolia.
These cover hill and dale all along from the Medusa to the Colorado River.
Rhus copallina contains eighteen to twenty-one per cent, of tannin, is useful for tanning sheep and goat skins and for the coloring of glove leather. It is most abundant, and gets to be sixteen feet high.
Astonishingly rich and luxurious is the smaller world of plants. It is hardly possible to give the reader a bare idea of the copiousness and diversity of the flowers in this State. As I said at the beginning of the first article, you find here not only a good deal of the flora of other zones and other parts of our globe, but also a great many flowers which are natives of, and peculiar to the State. Some of them appear in such quantities that whole prairies and mountain sides seem clad in the particular color of their blossoms, and some of them appear in varied shapes and in different colors of bloom. For instance the CEnothera serrulata, capillifolia, longiflora, Drummondii, macrocarpa, alata. uncinata, sinuata, Roehmeriana and speciosa show so many varieties and such diversities that you are tempted to see a new species.
In this middle zone we also meet now for the first time with Cacti. Opuntiae, mammallariae and Echdrinocacti, also several Yuccas of the habitus of Aloes. Amongst them a red flowering one, the knowledge of which has reached botanists only a year ago.