This, my friends, is a Prickly poppy (Argemone chisosensis), not yet bloomed. It is seriously spiny. When the flowers open, they will be a delicate pink with a yellow center. I checked on this plant right before I left town, and it was still not ready to go. I hope it does not bloom until I get back to Austin!
I have scoured my wildflower book for this one, but I can't identify it. None of the entries in Texas Wildflowers shows a purple flower with soft, "frosted" leaves like this one. This one lives in an area of the Park that is not often mowed, on the east side, off the beaten track. I'll keep looking for its name. I almost always stumble across the photo that matches when I am looking up a completely different flower.
This specimen I do know. It's a Horse Nettle. Its flowers may be white but Dog Park hosts only the purple version. All Horse Nettles feature the bright yellow stamens that hang down like fangs. The plants grow everywhere in the Park. Apparently, the leaves have both hairs and nettle-like prickers, but I have never been stung by any—or at least did not know it. These plants, when mature, grow tiny yellow fruits that may be poisonous. As a member of the Solanaceae, or Nightshade, family, this plant is related to tomatoes, potatoes, tobacco, petunias, and belladonna, according to my Texas Wildflowers book.
Finally--not a very good picture, but this plant is showing up everywhere at Dog Park this year. I spent an entire spring one year trying to figure out what it is. I am pretty sure it is Wild Honeysuckle, or Bee Blossom. My guidebook calls it a "weedy plant" because it is mostly stem and leaf and only a little flower. It's not showy! It is called Bee Blossom because its scent attracts bees, but its fragrance is not noticeable to me.
PS: Observant readers of this blog may have noticed that a different post for May 3 published itself earlier this week. Yet another technical difficulty, folks. And, as any regular viewer of Dr. Who knows, once you disrupt the time line, the consequences can't be undone. I had to delete that entry and post this one instead. Thanks for your patience. --z