Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Greens and orange

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Green Algae 4704

Adjacent to the property with the pond that you saw last time playing host to pickerelweed is a low-lying area accessible from Naruna Way. On June 2, thanks to the heavy spring rains, parts of the land lay covered in shallow water, and with that lingering water came the algae you see here. Of interest to this photographer (see how he third-persons himself) were the froth, the varying shades of green, the dark little funnel, the streaming strands of algae, and the orange color of the underlying earth.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 2, 2015 at 5:33 AM

Pickerelweed inflorescence

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Pickerelweed Flower Spike 4133

That purplish haze you saw behind the curved smartweed flower stalk last time came from another water-loving plant, Pontederia cordata, known as pickerelweed (and there’s another “weed” for you). Now have a look at some pickerelweed flowers in their own right, in a view that’s likewise from June 2nd at the pond behind the truck depot on E. Howard Ln.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 1, 2015 at 5:09 AM

A different take on smartweed

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Curved Smartweed Inflorescence by Pickerelweed 4202

The raceme on which smartweed (Polygonum spp.) flowers grow is normally straight, as you saw yesterday, but on June 2nd I found this strongly curved one at a pond behind a truck depot along E. Howard Ln. on the Blackland Prairie in far northeast Austin.


Update: Three people have given solutions to the math problem posed in the recent post about the Aztec dancer: you can check out the comments there by Aggie, kabeiser, and shoreacres (in that order).

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 31, 2015 at 5:38 AM

A closer look at smartweed

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Two Smartweed Flower Spikes 4704

Here’s a closer, subdued-color look at some flowers and buds of smartweed (Polygonum spp.), this time in isolation against the grey of a pond so you can see the details better. Each flower has sepals but no petals.

This photograph comes from August 22, 2014, in the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183. In spite of the land’s location adjacent to two freeways, it’s fortunately low and often too sodden to allow for development, so I look forward to being able to keep photographing there.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 30, 2015 at 5:26 AM

A smartweed colony looking smart

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Smartweed Colony Flowering by Sesbania 9666

From last October 21st at Southeast Metropolitan Park, here’s perhaps the most densely flowering colony of smartweed, Polygonum spp., I’ve ever seen. The plant is common enough on the shores of ponds and creeks in central Texas and I encounter it fairly often, yet after more than four years of posts today marks the first appearance of smartweed in these pages. The taller stalks farther back in the photograph are slenderpod sesbania, Sesbania herbacea, and beyond them at the left you can make out a bit of the pond whose water supports both types of plants.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 29, 2015 at 5:27 AM

Crossing flower stalks of Verbena xutha

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Verbena xutha Flower Stalks Crossing 9791

Click for larger size and better quality.

Here’s a photograph from a year ago today in Pflugerville’s Northeast Metro Park showing two crossing flower stalks of Verbena xutha, known as gulf vervain.

If you’re interested in photography as a craft, you’ll find that points 1, 2, 4, 6 and 18 in About My Techniques apply to this photograph.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 28, 2015 at 4:59 AM

Aztec dancer and ant

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Aztec Dancer Damselfly with Ant 9632

I took this photograph close to a waterfall off Harrogate Dr. in northwest Austin last year on 7/24. Whether the ant ran any risk of getting eaten by the Aztec dancer damselfly, Argia nahuana, I don’t know, but the date reminds me of something I do know, namely that 7 and 24 are the perpendicular sides of a 7-24-25 right triangle because 7 squared plus 24 squared equals 25 squared. Other right triangles with the shortest side an odd number are  5-12-13,  9-40-41,  11-60-61,  13-84-85,  and the familiar 3-4-5. Can you figure out how to get the two longer sides of each right triangle of this type if you know only the shortest side?

(Speaking of math, did anyone notice that the number 63 that played a role in yesterday’s post can be written in base 2 as 111111?)

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 27, 2015 at 5:32 AM


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