September 04, 2020

What to Look for in the Park – Fall Foliage

Blue bug on flowerAfter a long, hot summer, we are all ready for cooler weather. Fall bird migration is underway with many species stopping at the park to fuel up as they make the journey to their wintering grounds in Central and South America.

Purple flowers in Cullinan Park

The Fall months are a great time for hiking at Cullinan. The shady forest trails are marked by Pecan, Sycamore, Shagbark Hickory, and Bur, Water and Shumard Oaks. Cullinan’s meadows and marshes contain Bush Bluestem, Wildrye, Cherokee Sedge, Emory Sedge, Beebalm, Blackberry, Buttercup and more. Click here to see Cullinan’s Park Plant checklist which was recently updated by botanist Susie Doe with new additions from recent iNaturalist observations. The list includes an incredible 373 species of plants.

If you love seeing the beautiful native plants that attract pollinators, birds and other wildlife to the park, you may want to consider planting natives in your own back yard. As development and habitat destruction accelerate, there are increasing pressures on wildlife populations. In his popular book Bringing Nature Home, Douglas W. Tallamy reveals the unbreakable link between native plant species and native wildlife—native insects cannot, or will not, eat alien plants. When native plants disappear, the insects disappear, impoverishing the food source for birds and other animals.

But there is an important and simple step we can all take to help reverse this alarming trend: everyone with access to a patch of earth can make a significant contribution toward sustaining biodiversity by simply choosing native plants. You may even want to join the growing trend of planting a pocket prairie either on your own property or in a community greenspace. Check out these local resources if you want to learn more:

Native Plant Society of Houston

Texas Master Naturalist Coastal Prairie Chapter

Katy Prairie Conservancy’s Pocket Prairie Information

field of flowersnative prairie plants sign

 butterfly on flower