Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for September 25th, 2011

Silverleaf nightshade flower

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Click for greater clarity.


Yesterday’s post featured the bud of a silverleaf nightshade, Solanum elaeagnifolium, one of the most common wildflowers in central Texas. The plant’s buds open into flowers with five petal-like lobes that tend to fold back, and from the center of that folded-back purple cowl protrude five richly yellow, banana-like stamens that surround a lone pistil that protrudes even farther than they do. From the base of each stamen there’s a line of yellow that arcs out into the adjacent purple; you can see three of those radiating yellow arcs without much trouble, and with a little effort you can make out a fourth to the left of and slightly behind the column of stamens.

This photograph is one of twelve that as of today are on display at the Elisabet Ney Museum in Austin. That exhibition came about after the museum’s director saw the two photographs of turk’s caps that I took on the grounds there in June and that I posted in this blog on August 5 and August 6. She invited me to display them at the museum as part of Austin Museum Day, and I accepted. To have enough for a small show, I made two more trips to the property, which is currently being restored to a native prairie, and took more photographs. It’s encouraging to see how many local species can reappear on a piece of ground when given the chance.

For those not familiar with Elisabet Ney, a German artist who settled in Texas in the 1800s and specialized in sculpture, I encourage you to take a look at the museum’s website and Wikipedia.

Readers in central Texas are welcome to stop by the museum at 304 E. 44th St. today between noon and five o’clock to take in the art and say hello. (Anyone who wants to jet in from farther afield is welcome too.)

For more information about Solanum elaeagnifolium, including a clickable map showing the many places in the United States where this species grows, you can visit the USDA websiste.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 25, 2011 at 4:50 AM

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