Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Like the torch the Statue of Liberty holds aloft

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Soft goldenaster, Chrysopsis pilosa, in Bastrop State Park on June 6th.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 20, 2019 at 4:43 AM

Whorled milkweed

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How convenient for a photographer: growing right at the edge of the path we walked on in Bastrop State Park on June 6th were some flowers whose structure yelled out “Milkweed!” Not recognizing the species, I later looked in Michael Eason’s Wildflowers of Texas, which led me to conclude the plant was whorled milkweed, Asclepias verticillata. Below is a closeup showing a developing seed pod, beyond which you can again make out the characteristic color of the iron-rich earth in Bastrop.

While preparing this post I realized that five years ago I showed a picture of a milkweed in New Mexico with a slightly different scientific name, Asclepias subverticillata.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 18, 2019 at 4:49 PM

Colorful Bastrop

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Of permanent appeal in the Bastrop area is the iron-rich earth.


The first two photos show varied shades of it along the path we trod in the state park on June 6th.

I also found a few prematurely colorful leaflets on a winged sumac bush,
Rhus copallinum. You’re looking at two of them.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 17, 2019 at 4:44 AM

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Back to Bastrop

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June 6th this year was both D-Day and B-Day. No, not a birthday, but a trip back to Bastrop after not having visited the state park there for several years. Go around as we would, in no place were we not reminded of the devastating 2011 fire that burned for weeks and destroyed 90% of the pine trees.

Still, there was plenty of life. Look at all the greenery around that strangely burned tree trunk.
And look at this little orb-weaver spider in the genus Argiope:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 15, 2019 at 4:50 PM

A pristine basket-flower

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A couple of weeks ago you saw a colony of basket-flowers (Plectocephalus americanus).
Now from May 26th along Burnet Rd. here’s a much closer view of a fresh one.
The ghosts in the background were horsemints (Monarda citriodora).
The traces of yellow-orange were coreopsis (Coreopsis sp.).

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 14, 2019 at 4:45 AM

Just your run-of-the-mill fabulous Texas wildflowers

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Meister Lane cul-de-sac on the Blackland Prairie along the border between Austin and Round Rock on May 26.

Red = firewheels (Gaillardia pulchella)

Yellow = sundrops (Oenothera berlandieri)

Yellow-green = prairie parsley (Polytaenia nuttallii)

Purple = prairie verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida)

Pale violet = horsemints (Monarda citriodora)

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 13, 2019 at 4:43 AM

Dark and light

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On June 12, 2018, at Garden in the Woods in Framingham, Massachusetts, I photographed the buds of black cohosh (Actaea racemosa). The only other place I’d ever seen black cohosh was in Arkansas in 2016.

The dense pentagonal flowers of mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) remain a highlight of my visit to Garden in the Woods. They’re quite different from those of the similarly named but botanically unrelated Texas mountain laurel that you’ve seen in these pages several times.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 12, 2019 at 4:34 AM

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