Hiking along a high oak rimmed bluff on a cool, crisp February morning, I caught scent of something deliciously sweet. My mind immediately conjured the image of a warm, honey-drizzled sopapilla as I whipped around to seek out the source of this decadent aroma.
Nearby, covered in spectacular yellow blossoms, was a bushy shrub with formidable silvery-green foliage. Stepping next to it, and careful to avoid the thorny leaves, I inhaled deeply and let the honey-scented flowers envelope me. The agarita is in bloom!
As a native species that is highly drought-resilient and suited for our soil types, as well as immensely attractive and wonderful for pollinators and fruit foragers alike, it surprises me to see so few agarita plants in residential landscapes.
Perhaps it’s the prickly leaves, but they’re actually an asset when trying to avoid the insistent munching of our urban deer populations. Plus, they provide ideal shelter and protection for many birds and other small animals.
By Seth Patterson, Conservation Consultant for San Antonio Water System