Society

Once ‘yaupon’ a time in the autumn

County ‘colors up’ just in time for holidays


Lucky residents of County Road 300, just north of Rockdale, get to drive down this country lane, accented by brilliant oaks. 
Reporter/Mike Brown Lucky residents of County Road 300, just north of Rockdale, get to drive down this country lane, accented by brilliant oaks. Reporter/Mike Brown Busy putting out your holiday decorat ions over the Thanksgiving holidays?

So was Mother Nature.

After a prolonged fall, punctuated by warm temperatures and an occasional rain shower, Milam County’s autumn coloring has burst onto the scene in the last couple of weeks.

The count y’s plenti ful oaks have turned somewhere between a muddy brown and delicate dark red, with many shades of gold and amber in between.

Milam’s flowers and blooming bushes have followed suit, especially wild yaupon which sports the reddest berries, and most unfortunate Latin (scientific) name.

It’s still called ilex vomitoria.

Why would such a beautiful plant get such an ugly name.

Blame it on history.


Blazing scarlet yaupon berries led to unfortunate Latin name and reputation (see story), bad puns in newspaper headlines. Blazing scarlet yaupon berries led to unfortunate Latin name and reputation (see story), bad puns in newspaper headlines. Early European set tlers observed Native Americans brewing a concoction called asi which was used for purification rituals. Its sole purpose was to make the drinker throw up.

Botanists believed it was made from yaupon plant leaves and christened the shrub ilex vomitoria.

There seems to be some debate as to whether asi was actually made from the yaupon or some other concoction of roots and leaves.

But you still shouldn’t eat it.

Yaupon is classified as a holly—“ ilex” means “holly”— and hollies are toxic (poisonous) to humans.

Besides, it’s too pretty to eat, anyway.



Above, ‘red and yellow; kill a fellow?” Not when they’re gorgeous cross-pollinated roses growing nicely from the same bush. At right, patriotic landscape ner Rockdale with red (oak tree), white (wispy cirrocumulus clouds) and blue (sky). Above, ‘red and yellow; kill a fellow?” Not when they’re gorgeous cross-pollinated roses growing nicely from the same bush. At right, patriotic landscape ner Rockdale with red (oak tree), white (wispy cirrocumulus clouds) and blue (sky).

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2012-11-29 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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