The Texas tuberose is acaulescent, meaning the stem is extremely short. The fleshy silvery-green leaves are covered with purple spots and in low light situations may lay flat on the ground. In a drought, the leaves may wither, leaving little or nothing visible above ground. Sufficient precipitation yields an inflorescence 60 cm (24 in) tall in the period April-September. The new flower stalks (inflorescences) are fed on by small mammals, javelina, deer, and feral pigs, which can end the flowering effort for that season. The leaves are fed on by these as well, especially during droughts, weakening and killing the plants.
The flowers open and change colors over 3-4 days of life, from white to pink to dark red. The inferior ovaries turn from green to purple to black as they mature as seedpods.
Texas tuberose is the primary host plant for the caterpillars of the rare manfreda giant-skipper or aloe skipper (Stallingsia maculosus (= Stallingsia smithi)). A reduction in the M. maculosa population could threaten the existence of the butterflies.
- "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- Quinn, Mike (2008-12-05). "Manfreda Giant-Skipper Stallingsia maculosus (H. A. Freeman, 1955)". Texas Entomology. Retrieved 2007-08-26.
- Lehman, R.L., O'Brien, R., and T. White. 2005. Plants of the Texas coastal bend. Texas A&M Univ. Press. 352 pp.
- Scott, J.A. 1986. The butterflies of North America: a natural history and field guide. Stanford Univ. Press. 583 pp.
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Data related to Manfreda maculosa at Wikispecies