An Obscure Texan Succulent's Journey Across The U.S.

Last year, on June 21, 2020 I found a strange, short plant embedded amongst old water oak roots. After several identifications, and searching, the consensus was that it was
Lenophyllum texanum: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/50475950

This was strange, as it had not been planted in the 50+ years my family has lived here. We probably mowed down the population hundreds of times, and it always sprang back up. So, this plant's native range is Northern Mexico to Southeastern Texas. How did it get to Mississippi? Well, this is where the story begins.

1960s-70s. My grandfather grew watermelons and trucks from South Texas came to pick them up every summer. My thinking here is that a plant section, or seed must have come in on one of these trucks, and embedded itself into the soil while the oak tree was small. Fast forward 50 years, the oak tree has encapsulated the entire clonal population before I discovered it.

You would think the story would end here, but with further developments, it expands.

A user brought the attention of this blog to me: https://thebelmontrooster.com/families-of-familiar-plants/crassulaceae-family/lenophyllum-acutifolium/

May be unrelated, but they mention how the original starter clipping was found on a walk. This makes me think the plant was wild. Now, how would it have gotten to Leland, MS as well as Simpson County?

1980's. My grandfather hauled cotton from the Delta, but often hauled things TO there as well. I believe that the Delta population could have originated from my population through the same way they originally arrived to my property.

There also appears to be an established population in Austin, Texas as well, but from what I've read it appears to be escapees from cultivation.

All in all, this plant has shown to be very tolerable of colder climates, up to 8a, at least.
It began it's journey on accident, and ended up somewhere completely away from where it originally evolved. New climate zone, new habitat, more humidity, and it survived. Harsh weather, heavy treading, completely being cut down, and being engulfed by another plant, it survived. It started a new journey, and has clones growing even more northward, finding another bipedal creature that appreciated it's company. This little, unassuming friend of Crassula, is an adventurer in itself. May it's adventures continue, I'm sure there will be more to this story at a later date.

Posted on October 12, 2021 02:43 AM by safron safron

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Coastal Stonecrop (Lenophyllum texanum)

Observer

safron

Date

June 2020

Comments

That's a really neat story!

Posted by natev over 2 years ago

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