Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Weed of Cortez

Caddo Parish parks are crawling with people – and I mean ALL of Caddo Parish’s parks are crawling with people! Noah Tyson Park in Rodessa is so far from the urban center that most people haven’t even heard of Rodessa, let alone Noah Tyson Park. Robert Nance Park in Hosston is usually the same way – usually.

But twice a year the parks get a boost from the treasure hunters. The Holiday in Dixie treasure in the spring, and the Holiday Booty in, well, you know how that goes “Christmas starts earlier every year…” The clues always seem to suggest one of our parks is the treasure site: The treasure is always hidden on public property; it’s always NOT on a busy highway; it’s often away from the hustle and bustle; there are children playing and a proximity to a body of water.

This year there are old coots and the Weed of Cortez.

“Not far off
The weed of Cortez
Knowing where to find it
Would be for the best.”

At first, we scoured the native plant databases and field guides and vascular flora books looking for a native plant named after, for, or by someone named Cortez. Then we realized something: The people who wrote those clues aren’t botanists or horticulturists. They probably have no science background whatsoever, and they are hinting at something more mundane…

So who was Cortez and what is his weed? This naturalist thinks the clue writers were referencing the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez, and “Cortez = Spanish” and “Weed = Moss.” My apologies in advance to everyone who knows better and wants to tell me that Cortez had nothing to do with Spanish moss and Spanish moss isn’t even moss, it’s a bromeliad, hardly a weed.

And where does Spanish moss grow? On cypress trees in the bayous and lakes of South Eastern/Gulf States, of course!

Well, it doesn't grow anywhere in Walter B. Jacobs Memorial Nature Park that I know of, but I know you can find it at Noah Tyson Park, Robert L. Nance Park, and Earl G. Williamson Park. You might also check out Horace M. Downs Park, Milton "Hookie" Cameron Memorial Park, the Historic Caddo Lake Drawbridge, and Norris Ferry Boat Launch. Check out for more information, or call the parks office 318-929-2806 for driving directions.

Happy Hunting!

1 comment:

Rachel Demascal said...

Benji House, park manager at Earl Williamson Park wanted to be sure we know that there is no Spanish Moss at his park.

There probably isn't any at Richard Fleming Park, either, but the clues were pointing to a park off the beaten path with exceptions to the 'park closes at 9 pm' rule, with a playground, open water, a place where scored games could be played, and had something to do with the direction "west."

The treasure was found taped to the underside of a picnic table at Richard Fleming Park on Monday, November 16th.

How fun was that!