Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Fragrance where you don’t normally find it

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In my experience, daisy-type flowers almost never have a fragrance. Here’s one that does, and it also has a strange common name: nerve-ray. Botanists know it as Tetragonotheca texana. A tetragon is a four-angled figure: Greek tetra = four and gon = angle; theca = a place to put something, a receptacle, a case. In the first photograph, you have no trouble seeing the green tetragon behind the flower head’s yellow rays.

 

Before the flower heads of this species open, their buds justify the description of them as four-angled cases:

I took these photographs beneath the power lines west of Morado Circle on April 17th.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 25, 2018 at 4:55 AM

Clasping-leaf coneflower

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Many more people are familiar with Mexican hats, black-eyed susans, and coreopsis, than are familiar with this wildflower that closely resembles each of those others in one or more ways. It’s the clasping-leaf coneflower, Dracopis amplexicaulis. Here you see a flower head of one at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on May 6th. The pleasantly contrasting background color came from a colony of prairie brazoria, Warnockia scutellarioides. The picture below explains the “clasping leaf” part of the plant’s common name.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 23, 2018 at 4:55 AM

Yellow water-lily

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Nymphaea mexicana; Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; May 6th.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 21, 2018 at 4:43 AM

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Horsemints flowering with firewheels

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Eight years ago today I found this colony of horsemints (Monarda citriodora) flowering with some firewheels (Gaillardia pulchella) in Pflugerville.

If you’re interested in the craft of photography, point 18 in About My Techniques is relevant to today’s picture.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 19, 2018 at 5:09 AM

Two-leaf senna

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Here’s a native wildflower I’ve never shown you before. That’s surprising, given that it grows in my neighborhood and that on several occasions I’ve shown the other species of senna that grows here. This one is Senna roemeriana, known as two-leaf senna or two-leaved senna. The common name refers to the fact that each of the plant’s leaves is made up of two leaflets; you can see one leaflet and part of its symmetric twin at the lower left in the photograph.

I took this picture beneath the power lines west of Morado Circle one month ago today.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 17, 2018 at 4:52 AM

Blister beetle on Penstemon cobaea

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On April 8th in Round Rock I came across this blister beetle in the genus Pyrota, apparently P. lineata or P. bilineata. The flower is the kind of foxglove, Penstemon cobaea, that you saw from farther back in a post here last month. Thanks to bugguide.net for identifying the genus of the beetle.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 15, 2018 at 5:05 AM

Winecups

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Behold some winecups, Callirhoe involucrata, at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on May 6th. Below is a closeup of a standing winecup, Callirhoe pedata. In both species, the petals are about an inch long.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 13, 2018 at 4:56 AM

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