Lake Como Park is a jewel –– originally set up around a beautiful little lake at the north end of a elongated, basin-like drainage that eventually opens into the Trinity River floodplain. Lake Como Park map. It now also includes a long, undeveloped, southern section of the drainage. Overflow from the lake and local area runoff flow toward the river through the park in a long, wooded course that emerges along the back side of Ed Collett Park, which is nearly adjacent to Lake Como Park. The lake itself apparently is fed mostly from a creek entering at the north end and through a wooded catchment area on the north.
In the smaller, developed, northern section of the park, Lake Como is formed by a dam with a spillway leading into the larger and undeveloped southern section. On the west edge of the lake, there is a large, open pavilion, and a large deck goes out over the water. There are picnic areas on the east and west sides of the lake. A basketball court and tennis court are at the southwest corner of the park.
The north side of the Lake Como-Ed Collett complex begins near the intersection of Hwy I-30 and Camp Bowie Blvd. and runs southward to W. Vickery Blvd. just west of the Hulen Street bridge over the Trinity River and railroad yard.
From the top of the Lake Como dam, one can look across the southern section of the park, south toward Collett Park. From the dam to the southern end of Lake Como park, it’s about 2400 feet –– and another 1500 feet from the southern boundary through Collett Park to Vickery Blvd. –– about 3/4 of a mile in all. Add the distance from the upper part of Lake Como south to the dam, and the whole park complex stretches more than 1 mile. At its widest point, just below the dam, Lake Como Park is almost 1/4 mile wide.
Easily the most common tree in the park is cedar elm. The paved trail from the pavilion northward passes through a beautiful grove of young cedar elms, mixed with a few individuals of bois d’arc and bumelia. Look up and see mistletoe very common in these trees -- easiest to see in winter when the branches are otherwise bare.
Around the edge of the lake, the common trees are cedar elm, American elm, cottonwood, green ash, and hackberry. Between the pavilion and the dam, three individuals of cypress have been planted and are thriving.
In the main entrance area (including the basketball and tennis courts and the playscape), Shumard oaks and Chinese pistacios have been planted, but intermixed among those are a number of mesquites, bumelias, and bois d’arcs from the natural upland vegetation. The numerous mesquites suggest that the whole area probably was cleared at some point.
In the picnic area on the east side of the lake, large mesquites with bumelia, cedar elm, and hackberry provide the shade. Close beside the long set of steps leading down from Merrick Street, a large colony of prickly pear cactus grows underneath one of the mesquites.
The dense evergreen thickets that are pervasive along the edge of the trees are mostly of two non-native species of privet –– glossy privet and quihoui privet. Common vines in the thickets are non-native Japanese honeysuckle and sweet autumn clematis and the native species of catbrier.
Acer negundo Ash-leaf maple, box elder Native here, naturally occurring
Bumelia lanuginosa Chittamwood, gum bumelia Native here, naturally occurring
Catalpa speciosa Northern catalpa Native mostly to n USA, naturalized here
Celtis laevigata Hackberry Native here, naturally occurring
Fraxinus pennsylvanica Green ash Native here, naturally occurring
Juniperus virginiana Red cedar, juniper Native here, naturally occurring
Maclura pomifera Bois d’arc Native here, naturally occurring
Melia azederach Chinaberry Non-native, naturalized
Morus alba White mulberry Non-native, naturalized
Pistacia chinensis Chinese pistacio Non-native, planted here
Populus deltoides Cottonwood Native here, naturally occurring
Prosopis glandulosa Mesquite Native here, naturally occurring
Prunus caroliniana Cherry laurel Native to south Texas, naturalized here
Quercus shumardii Shumard oak Native here, planted in Lake Como Park
Salix nigra Black willow Native here, naturally occurring
Sapindus drummondii Soapberry Native here, naturally occurring
Taxodium distichum Cypress Native to east Texas, planted here
Ulmus americana American elm Native here, naturally occurring
Ulmus crassifolia Cedar elm Native here, naturally occurring
Ulmus rubra Slippery elm Native here, naturally occurring
Abelia floribunda Abelia Non-native, planted here
Baccharis neglecta Roosevelt weed Native here, naturally occurring
Cornus drummondii Rough dogwood Native here, naturally occurring
Ligustrum lucidum Glossy privet Non-native, naturalized
Ligustrum quihoui Quihoui privet Non-native, naturalized
Lonicera maackii Amur honeysuckle Non-native, naturalized
Nandina domestica Nandina Non-native, planted here
Opuntia sp. Prickly pear cactus Native here, naturally occurring
Parkinsonia aculeata Palo verde Native to s Texas, naturalized here
Ampelopsis cordata Racoon grape Native here, naturally occurring
Campsis radicans Trumpet creeper Native here, naturally occurring
Clematis ternifolia Sweet autumn clematis Non-native, naturalized
Lonicera japonica Japanese honeysuckle Non-native, naturalized
Smilax bona-nox Catbrier Native here, naturally occurring
Smilax rotundifolia Catbrier Native here, naturally occurring
Toxicodendron radicans Poison ivy Native here, naturally occurring
Updated 10 Dec 2009