To Waller Creek Sabal Census

Campus Texas Palmettos on Waller Creek

by Bob Harms ()

Larger Palmettos adjacent to Clark Field

Area trunks > 2' trunks 1'
or less
no trunks, 6'–12' no trunks, < 6' TOTAL
Speedway to
Dean Keeton
2 3 30 35
Dean Keeton
to 24th
2 3 5
24th to 21st 1 2 30 33
21st to MLK 2 10 69 81
MLK to
tennis courts
3 1 5 9
TOTAL 3 5 18 137 163

Click to enlarge.

Not quite half the Texas Palmettos (Sabal mexicana) on Waller are found on campus areas of the creek. Those between Speedway and MLK are noticeably smaller — i.e., younger — than those north of Speedway, and a few trunks have only recently begun to develop. Their distribution along the creek is uneven. Several spots — notably the more brushy area adjacent to Clark Field and the well groomed lawn across the street from the Art Building — have the largest concentrations of palms. These two areas both lie on an inner bend of the creek, areas less subject to erosion and more likely to collect debris from upstream, both seeds and the organic mulch to support germination.

Areas most subject to flood turbulence, especially where the NE Waller fork from Eastwoods Park enters campus, have few or no palms. Recent extreme landscaping just N of 24th, across from Texas Memorial Museum, appears to have taken its toll on all previous vegetation. Some smaller palms on the grassy bank across from the Art Building have survived frequent mowing.

The area S of MLK has 3 Texas Palmettos with well established trunks, clearly of different origin from those above MLK. I consider these to be descendants of the tall palm at the historic Arno Nowotny Building at MLK and I-35. The palmettos along the S side of the parking garage on MLK, one of which is about to form a trunk, are far up from the creek and may also be from fruits from the Nowotny area. They were too large to have resulted from palm fruits distributed by Doug Goldman in the late 1990s.