Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

The resurgence continues

with 17 comments

Black-Eyed Susans Amid Burned Bastrop Forest 6089

Today is the official birthday of the United States of America, which now enters its 240th year as a nation. The country has its share of problems—which country doesn’t?—but let’s hope for a resurgence. On that theme, some of you will recall, and others of you will now learn, that in September of 2011 a huge fire burned for days and destroyed most of the pine forest in Bastrop State Park, along with over 1600 nearby homes.

In the first spring after the devastating fire I posted some early evidence of recovery in the form of a prominent white prickly poppy flower whose pristine brightness contrasted with the burned pines beyond it. One month ago today I went back for my first visit to the area in 2015, and the colorful views that I saw in many places encouraged me. Here’s one showing how densely the brown-eyed (or black-eyed) susans, Rudbeckia hirta, were flowering.

In order of prominence, this photograph offers you blue, white, and at the bottom a bit of red, so a happy reversed red, white, and blue to you on this Independence Day.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 4, 2015 at 5:25 AM

Anemone seed core remains

with 9 comments

Anemone Seed Core Remains by Bluebonnet 9840

When I was looking through my archive to select pictures for the retrospective miniseries you saw early last month, I came across some images from March 27, 2012, at McKinney Falls State Park in southeast Austin that I’d forgotten about. This portrait from that group, which employs the technique of limited focus, shows a single seed that was still clinging to the downy remains of a ten-petal anemone, Anemone berlandieri. (If you don’t recall what one of these anemones looks like when it’s fresh, you can have a look back at that stage.) The formless purple in the background was all that remained, photographically, of a bluebonnet, Lupinus texensis.

 

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 3, 2015 at 5:18 AM

Twistleaf yucca flowers with clouds

with 22 comments

Twistleaf Yucca Flowers with Clouds 3938

In April you saw a landscape view of some yucca plants flowering above a roadside cliff, but I feel I owe you a closer look at blossoms in this genus. Here, then, is a twistleaf yucca, Yucca rupicola, that I photographed in Leander on June 1st. In a post from 2012 I offered up a visual confirmation of the name twistleaf, but today is the first time you’re getting a detailed look at the flowers of that species, which happens to be endemic to central Texas.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 2, 2015 at 3:33 AM

Spittlebug spittle

with 28 comments

Spittlebug Spittle 3631

Here’s a picturesque mass of spittlebug spittle at Tejas Camp in Williamson County on June 1 (though I don’t know how many other people would call it picturesque). This has been a common sight around central Texas in the month since then.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 1, 2015 at 5:38 AM

A small white snail that climbed onto a drying basket-flower

with 15 comments

Small White Snail on Dry Basket-Flower 2998

This is from May 29th on the Pflugerville-Round Rock border. I can tell you that the basket-flower is Centaurea americana, but for me the snail remains Molluscus unknownus.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 30, 2015 at 5:37 AM

Cardinal flower

with 23 comments

Cardinal Flower Flowers Close 6634

In a comment a couple of days ago, Lavinia Ross noted that the rich red standing cypress flowers in that morning’s post reminded her of those of the cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis. In my reply I mentioned that that species has a large range, in fact one that includes climates both cold and hot, and that we have cardinal flowers in Austin, too, just as the Northeast of the United States does. I was going to point to a previous post for a comparison between the two red flowers, but I discovered that after four years I’d still never shown a picture of a cardinal flower. Today’s post fills the lacuna, and that’s an appropriate word, because the cardinal flower thrives close to, at the edge of, or even in a body of water (if it’s not too deep).

I took this moody and rather abstract picture on the bank of a creek in my hilly northwestern part of Austin on October 13, 2014.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 29, 2015 at 5:16 AM

Antelope horns milkweed fluff and a cast-off spider exoskeleton

with 21 comments

Antelope Horns Milkweed Fluff with Molted Spider Exoskeleton 3491

Near the end of our nature walk at David and Jolyn’s place in Dripping Springs on May 30th, I knelt to photograph the first split-open pod I’d seen this year of an antelope horns milkweed, Asclepias asperula, and in the fluff I noticed a spider’s cast-off exoskeleton. Color aside, it does look something like one of the milkweed’s silk-bearing seeds, don’t you think?

To see the many places in the southwestern United States where this species of milkweed grows, you can check out the USDA map.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 28, 2015 at 4:48 AM

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,394 other followers

%d bloggers like this: