Federal and State Listed Species of Texas:
Terlingua Creek cat's-eye
Terlingua Creek cat's-eye only grows in a very small area of southern Brewster County in West Texas.
Terlingua Creek cat's-eye is a perennial with a woody stem base and grows to 30 cm tall. The plant has a light gray appearance due to the many hairs on its 3-6 cm long leaves, which are very narrow (2-7 mm wide) and spoon- to teardrop-shaped. Most of the leaves are located near the base of the stem, and those that are located on the upper stem are smaller. The flowers form dense clusters 2-8 cm long and 1-2.5 cm wide at the tips of stems or from where the upper leaves come out of the stem. Each individual flower has a tube 8-9 mm long topped with 5 white petals and a bumpy yellow center. The fruit is composed of a group of four small (2.8-3.8 mm long), oval- to triangular-shaped seeds, each of which is slightly bumpy on one side and smooth (or barely uneven) on the other side.
Palmer’s cat’s-eye (Cryptantha palmeri) bears its flowers more scattered along a central stem rather than the typically dense cluster of flowers capping Terlingua Creek cat’s-eye’s stem. The leaves along these floral stalks are also more abundant than the Terlingua Creek cat’s-eye. Payson’s cryptantha (Cryptantha paysonii) has a 12-14 mm long floral tube, 2.7-3 mm long seed, and a seed surface that is minutely wrinkled or warty on all sides. Furthermore, Payson’s cryptantha flowers form dense clusters at the end of the floral stalks, but also smaller secondary clusters below the main clusters. Although Havard's wild buckwheat (Eriogonum havardii) occurs in the same vicinity as Terlingua Creek cat's-eye, differentiating between the two species should not be problematic when flowers or fruit are present. When only leaves and stem are present, Havard’s wild buckwheat can be distinguished from Terlingua Creek cat’s-eye by its shorter, oval-shaped leaves (1-5 cm long, 2-10 mm wide) that grow only at the plant’s base.
Terlingua Creek cat’s-eye grows on almost seemingly barren, low hills of chalky limestone and gypsum-laced clays.
Life Cycle Events
Flowering occurs March to June, and subsequent fruits emerge in April to July.
Terlingua Creek cat's-eye is most easily visible while in flower March to June, but easily identifiable throughout the year.
- Rare Plants of Texas
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Center for Plant Conservation
- Correll, D.S. and M.C. Johnston. 1970. Manual of the vascular plants of Texas. Texas Research Foundation. Renner, TX.
- Cohen, J. 2016. Conservation genetics and genomics, pollination biology and phenology of Oreocarya crassipes I. M. Johnst., Terlingua Creek cat's-eye. Section 6 final report. Austin: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
- McKinney, B.R. 2000. Rare plants, birds, mammals in the Trans-Pecos ecoregion of western Texas. Section 6 final report. Austin: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.
- Cohen’s Lab: Oreocarya (Cryptantha) crassipes research