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.)

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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.

    sarah

    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.

    sanetes

    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.

    Tammie

    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!

    KatiesCameraBlog

    September 21, 2011 at 2:56 PM


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