Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Bluebell bud opening into a flower

with 11 comments

Unfolding of a bluebell bud, Eustoma exaltatum

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.

© 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 24, 2011 at 6:50 AM

11 Responses

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  1. Stunning vivid colours and textures. To be honest, I never had much interest in flower photography, but your work has changed my mind…

    The Central Scrutinizer

    June 24, 2011 at 7:51 AM

  2. I have mixed feelings about your pictures. On the one hand, they are drop-dead gorgeous, and make me glad to be alive on this planet, and in possession of eyeballs. And on the other, you are rapidly making me dissatisfied with my Surprisingly Good point-and-shoot camera (a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS5, as it happens). Because that’s what the budget will allow, for now. Grrrr. =)

    sarah

    June 24, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    • Ah, happy eyeballs!
      As for SLR cameras, the the longer you wait, the more features you get for your money. The time will come.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 24, 2011 at 1:59 PM

  3. Have you found the white-flowered form yet? There was one at Granger – the below-dam prairie reconstruction area – years back, following a fire.

    Scott

    June 24, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    • I’ve seen only a few white ones this year but haven’t photographed any. Three years ago there was a large colony on the east side of I-35 north of Howard Lane, adjacent to the funeral home on that big swathe of Pflugerville prairie; the colony included a good number of white ones and I took lots of pictures of both colors. I went back last year and couldn’t find a single plant! I have no idea what happened. I found nothing there again this year, so I’m particularly grateful to have come across the three smaller colonies I’ve reported in recent posts. I remember going to the Granger site with you maybe four years ago and photographing a purple bluebell there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 24, 2011 at 9:25 PM

      • Oh yes – now I remember seeing your photos of the Pflu site. It would be interesting to see a photo layout of color variations for all the plants that have these different forms – Castilleja alone would require an entire art gallery!

        Scott

        June 25, 2011 at 9:12 PM

  4. It looks like a yellow flower from a huisache is trapped inside the bluebell. The contrasting colors are very pretty.

    Eve Suico Diaz

    June 24, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    • You have a good imagination! The huisache trees didn’t seem to blossom this year: maybe all their flowers were trapped inside bluebells.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 24, 2011 at 9:27 PM

  5. That’s a very cool and different photo! I like it!

    montucky

    June 24, 2011 at 11:59 PM

    • Thanks. It’s different from anything I’d noticed before, too, even though I’ve seen and photographed bluebells for years.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2011 at 7:31 AM


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