Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Turk’s cap in our yard

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Turk's Cap Flower and Leaf 1562

We have a few Turk’s cap plants (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii) in our front yard, including the one that displayed this flower and others on May 31.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 26, 2016 at 4:58 AM

Sunflowers started coming out early this year

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Sunflower Flower Head in Colony 6062

Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) started coming out in April this year, but I didn’t spend any time with a group of them till May 29th. The colony shown here on that date was in the same place on the west side of Capital of Texas Highway that I’d found it the year before, adjacent to a seasonal stand selling peaches from Fredericksburg.

Sunflowers are always so cheery.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 25, 2016 at 5:00 AM

Not yet lost

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Clasping-Leaf Coneflower Colony with Trees 5487

Diagonally across Heatherwilde Blvd. from the piece of prairie I mentioned last time in Pflugerville that recently became a construction site is the still natural piece you see here. How long it will keep looking like this I don’t know, because signs indicate that the land is the future home of a high school.

In the meantime, gaze upon the splendor of this dense colony of clasping-leaf coneflowers, Dracopis amplexicaulis, as it looked on May 20. It was the best stand of this species I’d seen since I began documenting native plants in 1999, and there were other substantial parts of the colony outside the frame of this image. Thank you, Blackland Prairie.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 23, 2016 at 5:08 AM


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When I got close to the intersection of Heatherwilde Blvd. and Wells Branch Parkway along the Pflugerville-Austin border on May 20, I was saddened to see that the inevitable had come to pass. The land on the northeast corner of that intersection, where I’d been photographing nature over the years since 1999, had become a construction zone. A visit to that site on May 13, 2013, produced the abstract Texas thistle photo you saw in these pages shortly afterwards. Here are four pictures of other things that were there on that day three years ago; all, and all their descendants, are gone from that place now. Requiescant in prato.

Annual Pennyroyal and Firewheels by Bluets 6139

Firewheels (Gaillardia pulchella), annual pennyroyal (Hedeoma acinoides), bluets (Hedyotis nigricans).


Texas Bindweed Flower by Firewheel 6110

Texas bindweed (Convolvulus equitans).


Metallic Beetle on Square-Bud Primrose Flower 6078

Metallic beetle on square-bud primrose (Calylophus berlandieri).


Firewheel Against Blue Sky 6164

A firewheel (Gallardia pulchella) as an emblem in its own right.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 22, 2016 at 5:15 AM

Gray but not blue

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Gray Hairstreak Butterfly on Bluets 3491

The butterfly (Strymon melinus) is called a gray hairstreak because it’s gray. The flowers (Hedyotis nigricans) are called bluets because they aren’t blue. Notice how the little hairs on the flowers harmonize with the fringes and overall fuzziness of the butterfly.

This photograph is from May 5th along Loop 360 near the Arboretum.

Note: I’m away from home and will be for a while. Please understand if I’m late replying to your comments.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 20, 2016 at 5:09 AM

Another verbena

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Gray Vervain Flower by Prairie Fleabane Daisy 0298

Over the past five years here you’ve seen two native verbenas that are common in central Texas, prairie verbena and slender vervain, as well as one that I only occasionally come across. Making its debut here today is yet another: gray vervain, Verbena canescens. While it’s fairly common, it’s also diminutive and somewhat nondescript, so I expect not many people pay attention to it.

The background halo in this view from April 4 along Bluegrass Dr. was a prairie fleabane daisy, Erigeron modestus, a species you last saw acting as a perch for a katydid nymph.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 19, 2016 at 4:53 AM

A rain-soaked rain-lily

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Rain-Soaked Rain-Lily 1545

The raindrops on this rain-lily (Cooperia pedunculata) on April 18 hadn’t caused the flower to appear. No, that was the work of rain the previous week, and yet there’s a happy symbolism in rain on a rain-lily. Or maybe not so happy: the downward-looking view below shows how a pelting rain had bedraggled an already fully open rain-lily and turned parts of some sepals transparent.

Rain-Soaked Rain-Lily 1518

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 18, 2016 at 5:11 AM


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