Cutting the Mustard

Every March, Nashville Mustard shines from old lawns at a handful of Metro Parks. The plant is a true Nashville native: an endemic wildflower that only happens in a few counties. And when it happens in blankets of bright yellow, it is glorious. It’s a Nashville Superbloom.

And then every March, the mowers come.
I worry if the plants had time to set enough seeds to make a blanket the next year, and the next.

[flattened, hairy, round seedpods/silicles]

Nashville Mustard (Paysonia lescurii) is sort of a secret. Who’s heard of it? And why should we care? You can’t even buy it, because no nursery anywhere sells the plants or the seeds.

I vote we make it a Thing. A Good Nashville Thing. It could be nonpartisan PR that anyone could celebrate.
At the very least, it could be an annual Social Media Superbloom Photo-op. And a reason to learn why “native matters.” Nashville Mustard is a piece of old Nashville: really old, like when the buffalo roamed.

Much of our part of Tennessee was grassland, where “the combination of grazing, browsing, and trampling by large herbivores maintained short stature grasslands in which endemic plants such as … Paysonia … evolved.”*

Buffalo were the first mowers of Nashville Mustard, but our lawnmowers may the be last.

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