Things to see at this stop:
A few feet from the trail, at the edge of the shallow ravine, is a small tree with strange little pyramid-shaped protuberances on its bark. This is a Prickly-ash (Zanthoxylum clavaherculis - a wonderfully evocative name that translates literally as "yellow-wood club of Hercules"). It is not an ash at all but is cousin to the citrus; it has a number of curious vernacular names including toothache tree and tickle tongue. It is said that the American Indians used this plant as a remedy for toothache, as chewing the leaves, berries, or bark creates a tingling sensation of the mouth and tongue that served as a counter-irritant.
The leaves of this plant are much favored by caterpillars of the Giant Swallowtail butterfly, and the berries are very popular with birds. Every barbed-wire fence between here and San Antonio is lined with young prickly-ash seedlings deposited there by perching birds. This efficient means of seed dispersal via the digestive system of birds is also used by cherry laurel, hackberries, mistletoe, green-briers, and many other varieties of plants.
Directions to the next stop: