Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for August 4th, 2011

Two

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Clematis drummondii on Leucophyllum frutescens.

Given (as explained in the previous post) that August 4 marks two months and two dozen years, here’s picture number two for today, with two native species of plants in it. Taken like the previous photo on August 4, 2008, this picture shows a young Clematis drummondii vine some distance from the more mature one in the last post. This vine was climbing on a shrub called cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens), which, though truly native a little farther south and farther west in Texas, is widely planted in Austin because of the profuse and pretty flowers it puts forth several times each summer. In addition to the two plants, notice the small insect on one of the cenizo flowers at the right. To give you a sense of scale: each cenizo flower is about an inch across.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 4, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Seeds and fibers

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Seeds of Clematis drummondii coming undone; click for greater detail.

Today is the two-month anniversary* of this blog’s first post, so I had the idea, number-nurturer that I am, of looking back to see what I’d photographed on August 4 during the last two years and posting a picture from each of those dates. The only problem with that idea is that when I checked my archives I discovered that I hadn’t taken a single nature photograph on August 4 in 2010 or 2009. Undeterred, I went back a year further and found that on August 4, 2008, I’d gone to the prairie in northeast Austin and had photographed—hardly a surprise to recent readers of this column—some Clematis drummondii in its “old man’s beard” stage. The picture from this year that I posted on July 23 also showed approximately the same phase, but things weren’t as far along as in the image above from three years ago. In this advanced view, the seeds had begun coming undone from both of the cores visible in the picture, one at the left and one in the center. As a reminder of scale, everything in this image occupies perhaps a little more than one cubic inch. Notice that the seeds shown here were browner than in this year’s view, and the feathery strands attached to them are more copper-colored than silvery white. It doesn’t take much imagination to see a resemblance between these long-tailed seeds from the plant kingdom and spermatozoa from the animal kingdom, which though much tinier serve the same purpose.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

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* Today is coincidentally Eve’s and my 24th wedding anniversary.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 4, 2011 at 5:42 AM

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