Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Conjoined rain-lilies beginning to shrivel

with 8 comments

Twin rain-lilies, Cooperia pedunculata.

Among our most ephemeral wildflowers, rain-lilies last only a couple of days. As the tepals wither, they become more and more tinged with a color that ranges from pink to magenta, as shown here. Photographed in mid-May by the side of the Mopac expressway, these are the only conjoined rain-lilies I recall ever seeing. The swelling at the base of the twins’ shared stalk is the plant’s ripening ovary.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman (who sometimes likes pictures that are unusually elongated, whether horizontally or, like this one, vertically; and whose mind, tuned as it is to word associations, woke up at 5:30 in the morning a few days after this post with the thought running through his head that this photograph could be titled Withering Heights).

(For more information about this species, including a clickable map showing where it grows, you can visit the USDA website.)

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 30, 2011 at 5:16 PM

8 Responses

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  1. OK, I’ve learned a new word – I thought at first it was a typo, but three posts in a row…”tepal”. Learn something new every day.


    June 30, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    • I was pretty sure some readers would take tepal for a typo, so I’m glad you looked it up. I thought about including a footnote or adding an explanatory link but I didn’t; now I’ve gone back and done it. The language person who shares a brain with the nature photographer would also like to point out that tepal is an anagram of petal.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 30, 2011 at 8:06 PM

  2. “I was pretty sure some readers would take tepal for a typo”. Well, yes, I did, when I saw the word for the first time. But the second time I figured you are too much of a perfectionist to make such a mistake twice, so I looked it up too and ended up studying blossom anatomy.


    July 2, 2011 at 7:57 AM

    • Happy blossom anatomy to us all!

      I’ve learned a few words from your blog, too, though they’re all in German. For example, throughout my life I’ve seen American books published by the well-known publisher Alfred A. Knopf, and now I know that Knopf means ‘button.’ It must be cognate to English knob.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2011 at 8:20 AM

  3. this photo really caught my eye, the colors all together are so lovely. such a unique flower, to me that is.


    July 3, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    • Thanks, Tammie. I agree with you that all the colors work well together. Rain-lilies are among my favorite wildflowers to photograph.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 3, 2011 at 2:40 PM

  4. I love looking at the beauty of flowers as they fade away. Perfect! Thanks so much for sharing your photos with me, and also visiting my blog!


    September 21, 2011 at 2:56 PM

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