Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A different B & B

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Bluebonnet Colony by Butterweed Colony 7908

This time the B & B of the title are bluebonnets, Lupinus texensis, and butterweed, Packera tampicana. On the afternoon of April 4th, when I was driving northbound on US 183 and nearing the southernmost reaches of Austin, I saw these two adjacent colonies in a field at the intersection with Von Quintus Rd. (the street sign said Von Qunitus Rd.). The violet-colored flowers that you can make out in a few places among the bluebonnets are prairie verbenas, Glandularia bipinnatifida.

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I’m out of town for a few days. Feel free to leave comments, but it may take me a while to answer them.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 16, 2014 at 6:00 AM

More loops

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Mustang Grape Tendrils Dry and Looped 3885

Another looping subject I found at McKinney Falls State Park on March 13th was this dry tendril from a mustang grape vine, Vitis mustangensis. This specimen was only a few inches long, but a mustang grape vine can grow to the height of a tree, with a girth to match.

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I’m out of town for a few days. Feel free to leave comments, but it may take me a while to answer them.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 15, 2014 at 5:55 AM

Old plainsman, phlox, and other wildflowers

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Old Plainsman, Phlox, and Other Wildflowers 7832

On April 4th along FM 467 southwest of Seguin I saw some old plainsman (Hymenopappus spp.) coming up and towering over the other wildflowers. The magenta flowers are phlox (Phlox spp.). Mixed in are some Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa) and bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis).

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I’m out of town for a few days. Feel free to leave comments, but it may take me a while to answer them.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 14, 2014 at 6:01 AM

Displaced prickly pear

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Prickly Pear Cactus Stranded in Tree 3791

When I visited McKinney Falls State Park in southeast Austin on March 13th, Onion Creek, which passes through the park, was tame, but the adjacent vegetation gave a different message, one of the creek having recently flowed through more rapidly, and tangles of debris in various trees bespoke a much higher level of water. Whether this ailing prickly pear cactus, Opuntia engelmannii, was already growing in the tree before the deluge—yes, such things are possible—or whether the flood uprooted it from elsewhere and deposited it in these bare branches, I can’t say.

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I’m out of town for a few days. Feel free to leave comments, but it may take me a while to answer them.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 13, 2014 at 6:03 AM

The real and the non-real

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Wildflowers Surrounding Fake Flowers on Tombstone 7803

No, this isn’t my tombstone (have you ever seen a copyright notice on one?). If it were, though, I hope people would know I’d want only real wildflowers and not artificial ones. The actual flowers here are dominated by Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa. I don’t know what the fake flowers are supposed to be.

As with the picture from two posts back, this one comes from the grounds of the Christ Lutheran Church of Elm Creek on April 4th.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 12, 2014 at 5:57 AM

Red admiral butterfly on plum blossoms

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Red Admiral Butterfly on Plum Blossoms 3598

Click for greater clarity and size.

The first thing I checked out when I went to McKinney Falls State Park on March 13th was some Mexican plum trees, Prunus mexicana, that I remembered from last spring. I wasn’t disappointed: so many insects of various kinds were visiting the dense blossoms, especially bees, that the tree hummed. One of those insects was a red admiral butterflyVanessa atalanta.

You may say that I’m putting the metaphorical cart before the horse, but when I looked at the extended and slightly curved wings of this butterfly I couldn’t help thinking of a large jet plane gliding in for a landing. Would that all planes were as colorful.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 11, 2014 at 6:04 AM

Nueces coreopsis and other dense wildflowers

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Nueces Coreopsis and Other Wildflowers 7789

The Nueces coreopsis, Coreopsis nuecensis, doesn’t grow in Austin, but I began to see some about an hour and a quarter south of here on my April 4th foray. The magenta flowers are phlox; the red ones are Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa; and there are some bluebonnets, Lupinus texensis, mixed in. If you’d like a closer look at a Nueces coreopsis, which is the wildflower in this group that you’re least likely to be familiar with, you can check out a post from 2012.

The location of today’s picture was the grounds of the Christ Lutheran Church of Elm Creek, a property that hosted the largest display of wildflowers I saw anywhere on my trip.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 10, 2014 at 5:58 AM

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