I had the good fortune to be in the Lower Pecos near Langtry, Texas (population 18), in the desert west of Del Rio and right on the Rio Grande, recently. When I walked out of the house just as the sun was coming over the horizon, I heard the most astonishing thing: a purple sage bush was buzzing, humming, vibrating with unmistakable energy.
When I went to inspect it closer, I discovered hundreds, nay thousands, of bees diving into the purple flowers sucking up nectar as fast as they could. There were two kinds of bees feasting on the plant: one a large black one, and the other much smaller and more golden color. I really don’t know much about bees at all, so cannot tell you the official names of these lively creatures. But I thought it was significant that there were TWO different kinds dining at the same time on the same flowers.
If there are any bee people out there, can you help me out? I looked at the plant again towards sunset. The
bees were gone, and the plant was quiet once again.
That evening we had dinner with rancher Jack Skiles, who has lived in Langtry most of his life. He commented on my blog about toothaches, and said he knew of another plant besides leatherstem that was good for aching teeth. That plant is tickle tongue, also called prickly ash or Texas Hercules’ club. He said if you chew the leaves, the mouth will go completely numb. He said he did not have one on his property, but knew where one was nearby. No doubt tickle tongue would have been a great addition to the Archaic Lower Pecos medicine kit I have written about in past posts.
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