Category Archives: Texas Bluebonnets

Texas Wildflowers Assemble Against Invasive Species at the “Lights Camera Help” Film Festival

Commander Ben leads Texas bluebonnet, Indian Paintbrush, and Bitterweed against Invasive Species in Native Plant Avengers

Just a quick reminder that the 4th Annual “Lights. Camera. Help.” Focus on Good Film Festival begins tonight!  As I shared with you in my post last month, my Native Plant Avengers – Ecosystem’s Mightiest Heroes video was selected to be part of the film festival.  My video, along with other videos focusing on good causes, will be shown on the Big Screen(!) to a live audience tonight beginning at 7:00pm in the Spirit of Texas Theater at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum.

The winner of the film festival will be announced at 7:30pm on Friday, September 14, 2012, at their awards party at the Scottish Rite Theater.  If I win, I’ve asked to donate my proceeds to one of my favorite organizations whose hard work fighting invasive species everyday keeps native plants going strong in central Texas…The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center!

For more information about the film festival, check out my recent post where I share about my interview by Robert Sims on his radio show Lights, Camera, Austin aired on  KOOP, 97.1 FM.

If you’d like to join me at the “Lights. Camera. Help.” Focus on Good Film Festival, you can view the three day schedule and buy tickets here.  Hope you’ll come out and support a great cause!

Your friend,
Ben

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Filed under Bitterweed, Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, Indian Paintbrush, Invasive Species, Lights Camera Help Annual Nonprofit Film Festival, Lights. Camera. Help., Native Plant Avengers, Texas Bluebonnets, Texas Wildflowers

The Amazing Invasive Hunter Man

An accidental encounter with a plant grafting experiment transforms a geeky biology student into the Invasive Hunter, a hero to the ecosystem’s native species.

The Invasive Hunter returns to battle King Ranch Bluestem (KR Bluestem), an invasive species overrunning roadsides and fields and stealing lunch money. His powers, however, do not go unnoticed by his cranky professor.

This video is part of Commander Ben’s “Battles with Invasive Species” video series.

Learn more about the plants talked about in this video:

And don’t miss seeing your friendly neighborhood spider-man at the movies too!

Your friend,
Ben

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Filed under Battles with Invasive Species, Giant Reed, Grafting, Invasive Hunter, Invasive Species, King Ranch Bluestem, KR Bluestem, Spider-man, Texas Bluebonnets, Texas Live Oak, Texas Mountain Laurel

Behind the Scenes of the Native Plant Avengers Movie Trailer

The Avenger’s movie opened this weekend, and it was great! I saw it in IMAX 3D and can’t wait to see it again!

I’ve been looking forward to this movie for many months. I like action movies, and this movie had plenty of action, as do my Battles with Invasive Species video series.

After I watched their second movie trailer earlier this year, I thought, why don’t I bring together a group of native plants to fight the battles that we never could against invasives. And thus was born the Native Plant Avengers.

Here’s my movie cast and how they relate to Marvel’s Avengers movie trailer:

  • Texas bluebonnet as Captain America. Both Texas’ state flower and our great American hero wear blue.
  • Bitterweed as the Hulk. The Hulk was a challenge to me. He’s green, but I couldn’t find native plants in my area that have green flowers. I picked Bitterweed because I thought the plant name suited the Hulk so well.
  • Indian Paintbrush as Thor. Both this colorful plant and this Norse god don themselves in red.
  • Bastard Cabbage as Loki (and the alien army invading Texas roadsides and fields). I picked this invasive plant because it was causing a lot of problems with native Texas wildflowers this spring. Bastard Cabbage also has yellow flowers like Loki’s headgear.

Originally, I wanted to include a native plant for Iron Man, but I was already using a red flowering plant for Thor, and I wanted to adapt some of Iron Man’s (and Nick Fury’s) lines from their trailer.

If you haven’t seen my Native Plant Avengers video yet, I hope you enjoy it. And if you’re a Star Wars fan too, don’t miss my In an Ecesis Far, Far Away… video.

Your friend,
Commander Ben

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Filed under Avengers, Bastard Cabbage, Battles with Invasive Species, Bitterweed, Indian Paintbrush, Texas Bluebonnets, Texas Invasives, Texas Wildflowers

Native Plant Avengers – Ecosystem’s Mightiest Heroes

Although hopelessly outnumbered by the invasive species Bastard Cabbage, Texas wildflowers assemble their combined strength to battle against the choking monoculture invading their ecosystem.

The loyal heroics of Texas Bluebonnet, the hulking presence of Bitterweed, and the lighting power of Indian Paintbrush bring their native plant diversity together in a desperate fight against their invasive foe.

Learn more about the vile invader Bastard Cabbage with these recent blog posts:

Your friend,
Commander Ben

P.S. Looking for more Avengers action? Don’t miss Marvel’s Avengers movie coming out in May!

Update: Learn more about the Texas wildflowers cast in Behind the Scenes of the Native Plant Avengers Movie Trailer

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Filed under Avengers, Bastard Cabbage, Battles with Invasive Species, Bitterweed, Indian Paintbrush, Monoculture, Texas Bluebonnets, Texas Invasives, Texas Wildflowers

Bastard Cabbage Fouls Texas Bluebonnets

Commander Ben beseiged by Bastard Cabbage

What a nice surprise to see Dr. Damon Waitt on TV last night! Dr. Waitt is the Senior Director and Botanist at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

He was talking about Bastard Cabbage (Rapistrum rugosum), also known as Mediterranean Mustard. It’s a terrible invasive species that is overrunning Texas wildflowers, especially our beloved Texas Bluebonnets.

I first learned about Bastard Cabbage from him last fall in my video interview with him at the 2011 Texas Invasive Plant and Pest Conference. He said that this plant was the invasive species that really worried him.

Seeing Dr. Waitt interviewed by Mr. Jim Swift on KXAN reminded me of that plant, and I had to go out today to learn more about it.

Invasive Species Create Terrible Monocultures

Bastard Cabbage crowds out the wonderful Texas bluebonnets and creates a terrible monoculture. It towers over the bluebonnets, and the rosette at the base of the plant and long tap root steal resources that could have gone to the native Texas wildflowers.

They have a long stem and small yellow flowers. When I saw it when I was younger, I thought it was a native Texas wildflower.

Fight Back Against this Invasive Plant

In the KXAN article, Dr. Waitt said that with enough seed, Indian Blanket wildflowers might be able to compete with this invasive plant, but that’s a hard fight to win.

Bastard Cabbage overruns Texas Bluebonnets along highway 360 in Austin, Texas

Dr. Waitt said it’s best to hand pull Bastard Cabbage. I did my part pulling some up on highway 360 in Austin, and I took some down with my moves from the Invasive Hunter Academy. I also took a plant sample for my herbarium.

He said that on a 10 point worry scale, he’s at a 9.5. If Dr. Waitt’s worried about our Texas Bluebonnets, we should all be worried too!

Thanks, Dr. Waitt, and the Texas Invasives website for teaching me about this terrible invasive!

Your friend,
Commander Ben

Update: Video: See Native Plant Avengers – Ecosystem’s Mightiest Heroes – battle Bastard Cabbage

Update: Bastard Cabbage Takes Over Texas Wildflowers

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Filed under 2011 Texas Invasive Plant Conference, Bastard Cabbage, Damon Waitt, Herbarium, Invasive Hunter Academy, Jim Swift, KXAN, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Texas Bluebonnets, Texas Invasives