Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Not named for Beethoven

with 10 comments

Water-primrose flower; click to enlarge.

Dawned drizzly and damp, did the day of November 8: no pictures for me that morning. But by afternoon, with dark clouds still looming in skies that had managed to shake loose only some brief scatterings of drops that hardly qualified as rain, eastward I turned, to Mimi’s restaurant on Mopac, not to eat there but to wander, boots on, haltingly down the wet embankment at the southern edge of the property to Arbor Walk Pond, around which pleasingly many species of wildflowers were still managing to flower. Northerners, let me add that the temperature was in the mid to upper 70s.

A couple of springtimes ago I lay pressed against that embankment and looked upward in a line that cleared the top of the restaurant, in order to take pictures of some pink evening-primrose flowers against a bright blue sky. On this gray autumn afternoon, though, I looked the other way, and when I did, my attention fell first on a group of water-primroses, relatives of that other plant. Of all that I saw, these were the plants rising highest with flowers, propelled upward by the water they can never live away from. Several similar species of Ludwigia inhabit central Texas, and I can’t tell you for sure which one this was. I can tell you that the genus was named not for Beethoven, the composer of the Pastoral Symphony, but for another German, Christian Gottlieb Ludwig, an eighteenth-century botanist.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 14, 2011 at 5:09 AM

10 Responses

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  1. Enjoyed the commentary too!

    Bonnie Michelle

    November 14, 2011 at 7:22 AM

  2. Beautiful shot. And i love the symphony of colors in the background.

    Gracie

    November 14, 2011 at 11:54 AM

  3. That’s really a pretty little thing! Any flowers here that we may have had left just turned white.

    montucky

    November 14, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    • Thanks, Terry. When you say that the remaining flowers in your area have turned white white, I’m assuming you mean from frost, ice, or snow. If so, we have quite a contrast: I looked at my outdoor thermometer this afternoon and saw that the temperature was 80°. We still have individual flowers here and there, and sometimes even small colonies.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 14, 2011 at 5:31 PM

  4. […] species that I found flowering at the Arbor Walk Pond on the still-cloudy afternoon of November 8 was Ratibida columnifera, commonly known in Texas as […]

  5. […] That’s Ludwig von Beethoven, famous composer. I assure you that when I photographed a wildflower in the genus Ludwigia last year it wasn’t humming the Fifth Symphony or the Ode to Joy. My post was whimsically titled Not Named for Beethoven. […]

  6. There’s a botanist Beethoven? Who knew?

    Shannon

    January 1, 2013 at 8:35 AM


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