Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

More about bluebells

with 19 comments

Bluebells, Eustoma exaltatum.

So I’m bouncing around between bluebells and mountain pinks, with bluebells again this morning. Here’s how they look from above, where you can see their “good mouths”—that’s what Eustoma means—wide open. Today marks three years to the day since I took this picture on the prairie in northeast Austin.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

(The website of The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has more information about bluebells, also called bluebell gentians and prairie gentians.)


Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 20, 2011 at 7:03 AM

19 Responses

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  1. Wonderful. Here in Ft Stockton we have a small native garden behind the house where the Pecos County Historical Committee meets which is very neglected but this year the Eustoma exaltatum, from seeds from a dying creek system north of Ft Stockton, are spectacular…..a leak in one of the pipes has made them a small cienega and we don’t plan to hurry to get it fixed since we always wanted to put in a small cienega in that general area.

    John Mac Carpenter

    June 20, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    • Let’s give thanks for your fortuitous ciénega. All three places where I’ve found bluebells in Austin this year are sumps; even though they’re dry now, there must have been enough moisture to nurture the plants.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 20, 2011 at 1:00 PM

  2. they look very COOL, like a drink of water.

    susie fowler

    June 20, 2011 at 12:30 PM

  3. Nice contrast between the petals and interiors- and between the numerous flowers as well. Nicely composed!

    Watching Seasons

    June 20, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    • Thanks for your complimentary comment. With the continuing drought, this year’s bluebells don’t look as lush.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 20, 2011 at 8:46 PM

  4. That’s a great photo! They are very beautiful flowers. A drought of ten years duration just ended here and the good news is that the wildflowers are having a banner season!


    June 21, 2011 at 12:48 AM

    • Thanks. They are indeed beautiful flowers, and among the largest that grow here. We can’t help noticing, and perhaps envying, the profusion of wildflowers you’re still able to photograph in Montana, and now we know why. It’s scary to hear of a drought lasting ten years.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 21, 2011 at 2:55 AM

  5. These are gorgeous! I love how they’re clustered.

    Texas Susan

    June 21, 2011 at 11:58 AM

  6. […] I haven’t been back to any of the three bluebell colonies I recently found on the prairie in northeast Austin, but I’ll take you back to something I saw when I visited the third of them. As the bud shown here began unfolding, it revealed a portion of the flower’s bright yellow, fuzzy-looking, two-lobed stigma. The two patches of orange below it are anthers. Each of the five elongated purple tubes surrounding and towering over the yellow and the orange would soon unfurl into a broad petal. For an earlier stage in the process, see last week’s photograph of a bluebell bud; for a later stage, see the recently posted photograph of fully open flowers. […]

  7. These are gorgeous. Here on Vancouver Island, we can sometimes buy bouquets of the cut flowers of Eustoma Grandiflorum (Lisianthus), but it isn’t warm enough to grow them outside of greenhouses.


    June 27, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    • Maybe you can come to Texas next spring and see the bluebells in their (hot) native habitat. At least you’ve got rain up there!

      By the way, when I visited Vancouver a decade ago, even though I was there for only a week, I bought Plants of Coastal British Columbia, by Pojar and MacKinnon. It was such a wonderful-looking guide that I couldn’t resist it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 27, 2011 at 8:45 PM

  8. Yes, we do have rain here, especially this year. We are having a very cool, wet spring and early summer. I don’t think a trip to Texas is in the books for me next year, but I did visit my aunt in Weatherford, TX in 2006. At that time, she was very concerned about the reservoir there, as it was in danger of running dry for the first time in its existence.


    June 29, 2011 at 10:51 AM

  9. Hi, Steve,

    Gorgeous blog! Saw it on NPSOT-NPAT listserv and then Scott L. sent it to me. Love to Eve.

    Diane Sherrill

    July 4, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying it, Diane. Eve is always encouraging me to do more with my many nature photographs, so this column seemed like a good thing to do. It’s a lot of work, but fun at the same time, and it helps the native plant cause.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 4, 2011 at 3:05 PM

  10. heaven sent blue!


    October 28, 2016 at 8:41 AM

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