Saturday, March 9, 2013

Dear Herbie - Woe is me


Legislation Would Help Bring Native Plants Back to Texas

Woe is me, they probably won’t grow at my house either!
I have said to a number of people that I should try some invasive plants and they might grow. Well, now I know it isn’t true. While we were in Pt. Aransas at the birding center a couple of months ago I picked some berries from the dreaded Brazilian Pepper trees (bushes) that grow by the portapotty across from the entrance. I planted them in several spots including one where I could really keep an eye on them. They have not budged; have not sprouted; when found they look exactly as they did when I planted them. What have I done wrong?

I can’t even grow invasives.
PS should I try a tallow tree?
I'm joking, I'm joking.

But I really have a problem with my salt water, the leaf cutter ants, and gophers. Gophers have eaten a fig tree, three large vetiver grass mounds, an orchid tree and numerous other plants. We planted a lot of larger plants in chicken wire cages but eventually that rusts and the gophers have their way with my plants.  My husband is planting palm trees now and we will see how they like them.


OK Herbie here! 

Hey Ruth and all of your Herbies out there! Ruth is pretty funny!  Here she is trying to grow the invasive:

Brazilian pepper-tree
Schinus terebinthifolius
It is in the family Anacardiaceae which contains poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and Schinus terebinthifolius, or Brazilian pepper-tree. People sensitive to poison ivy, oak or sumac may also be allergic to Brazilian pepper tree because it also has the potential to cause dermatitis to those with sensitive skin. Some people have also expressed respiratory problems associated with the bloom period of pepper tree.

I can tell you that I think that the Brazilian pepper-tree is very pretty!  However, it needs nothing special to get it to grow down here in south Texas.  I had one, quite by mistake, in the ground for about five years.  Oh my, the seeds were spread by the birds, and it grew everywhere and still is growing everywhere even though I cut it down about three years ago.  The birds love those red pepper seeds and spread them any where they fly.  It is a very pretty, good smelling large bush that is native to Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.  It grows very, very well in Texas and Florida, but the problem, like most natives, is that it forms dense thickets, shading out native grasses, shrubs, and taking over native pine forests. Considered one of the greatest threats to native biodiversity for its dramatic affect on both plant and animal communities.

An interesting note is that the red-pink seeds are used as a culinary pepper. If you check the ingredients in some of the mixed whole peppercorn jars, you will see that Schinus terebinthifolius is one of the ingredients! 

The following information about the Schinus terebinthifolius berry is from website:

Pink peppercorns have an intensely sweet and aromatic flavor similar to juniper , though much stronger. Pink peppercorns usually show up in the mixed peppercorn blends. Too much pink pepper can irritate the intestines because of the cardinal it contains. Pink peppercorns flavor a variety of dishes. It is mostly recommended for fish or poultry, but goes well with other rich foods. Pink pepper flavors delicate sauces to accompany such varied ingredients as lobster, veal scallops, and pork.

So regardless of how pretty they might be, don't try to grow them because they will take over, . . .UNLESS YOU ARE RUTH AND TRYING TO GROW THEM!  Oh my, too funny Miss Ruth!



Herbie said...

You are pretty funny Ruth!

Herbiecott said...

I don't know about the Brazilian Pepper Tree. I've never tried to grow it. Maybe the seeds need some type of pre-treatment.

You must have the fattest gophers!! It's so discouraging. And, yes, chicken wire rusts quickly. For a little more $$ investment, you could use hardware cloth. It's much heavier than chicken wire and lasts much longer.

See you next week!