Master naturalists’ plant field tours begin Saturday

HARLINGEN — A free introduction to native species in the Rio Grande Valley begins Saturday with the first of the fall and winter guided plant walks led by Texas Master Naturalists.

The nature walks at Hugh Ramsey Nature Park are a chance to explore and identify some of the 250 species of native plants growing in the city park.

Participants will learn to identify snake eyes, Mexican caesalpinia, also known as Mexican poinciana, which remains showy even in winter with its bright yellow flowers, as well as other native plants.

Runyon’s esenbeckia, the rarest tree in Texas, is one of the showcase attractions in a garden named for the Brownsville botanist Robert Runyon.

Many Valley species of plants, shrubs and trees bloom after rain. With the rains this week, it may provide a chance to see these plants at their brightest.

Members of the Rio Grande Valley Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists maintain Ebony Loop’s specialty gardens, working every Thursday morning from 9 to 11 a.m. Many Winter Texans and local residents work alongside the naturalists, who strive to make volunteers welcome.

In addition to the Thursday morning volunteer opportunities, Texas Master Naturalists offer free guided native plant tours on the first Friday and third Saturday of each month through May 2020.

Hugh Ramsey Nature Park is located at 1000 South 499, just two miles south of Harlingen’s Valley International Airport and just north of the Arroyo Colorado River Bridge on Ed Carey Drive.

For the guided plant tours, participants should meet the guides in the parking lot where the two-hour tour begins at 9 a.m.

Guided plant walk schedule

Nov. 16

Dec. 6, 21

Jan. 13, 18

Feb. 7, 15

March 6, 21

April 3, 18

May 1, 16

Note: Tours begin at 9 a.m. Meet in Hugh Ramsey Nature Park parking lot.