Non-Native Makes the Cut

Sometimes I get in hot water with native plant experts who graciously volunteer their time and knowledge of the vegetation that is found specifically in our neck of the Thicket.  This beautiful photograph puzzles me.  This passion vine (passiflora foetida?)  grows charmingly along our Frontera fence line winding back and forth from the old citrus orchard to the Payne’s beautifully manicured yard.  Michael Delesantro captured it for this year’s Valley Land Fund Photo Contest, but he concedes it “probably isn’t native.”  Fritillary butterflies love it, and so do I.



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3 responses to “Non-Native Makes the Cut

  1. Martin Hagne

    There are two varieties of Suberosa foetida… one that is native to the RGV and one that is not. The photo seems to show the one that is not. The native one has smaller flowers and leaves and the seed pods do not turn red… they stay small and green. So if these pods turn red you have the non-native growing.
    Best, Martin

  2. Cristian


    When people talk about Frontera they usually mention the Thicket and all of the creatures that can be found in there. It’s true that the Thicket is a big part of Frontera (literally) but sometimes it may overshadow a much smaller yet exciting habitat of Frontera, the Orchard.

    The citrus orchard that Frontera gained when it purchased the Skagg’s House makes a unique addition to Frontera. The Valley Nature Center doesn’t have one and none of the larger refuges do either and if so then they are off limits to the public.

    Recently there has been a Dragonfly craze at Frontera and the Orchard makes a great place to see some. Texas has the most Dragonfly species in the country with over 200 and the Valley alone is home to around 170. One group of Dragonflies called the Baskettails ( for the pattern of colors that look like a basket weave on their bodies) can be easily found while walking through the groves of citrus. There are many different variants in their color patterns and wing spots so be sure to look carefully.

    There’s also this really cool looking green and black one that reminds me of a drag racer.

    Along with the water feature the Orchard makes a great starter walk for anybody who’s interested in nature but may get overwhelmed walking the gauntlet of the Thicket. Plus, you can still get to it even on the days that Frontera is closed and make an always appreciated donation at our new donation box.

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