Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Which grass? Switchgrass.

with 7 comments

Switchgrass; click for a lot more detail.

Yet another species that I found at the Arbor Walk Pond on the gray-clouded afternoon of November 8 was Panicum virgatum, commonly called switchgrass. Many of our native grasses take on warm hues in the fall, and that’s certainly true of this one, which looks good enough to eat. Okay, it’s not really edible, but let your eyes feast on its curves and colors.

For more information about switchgrass, you can visit the websites of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the USDA.

For those interested in the art and craft of photography, point 6 in About My Techniques is relevant to today’s picture.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 16, 2011 at 5:02 AM

7 Responses

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  1. This is one of my favorite grasses- I really like how you have captured it here. As an artist/botanical illustrator, I find the tall grasses a challenge.


    November 16, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    • Thanks, Melissa. I was attracted by the way the switchgrass was leaning. I ended up cropping this picture in such an elongated way to emphasize the undulating forms of the drying leaves.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 16, 2011 at 12:37 PM

  2. Hi Steve. Grasses have such variety and beauty, especially close-up. My first taxonomy project was to identify 20 species of grass. Your close-up shows all the angles associated with this species. Jane

    jane tims

    November 17, 2011 at 4:53 AM

    • Your early project would be a taxing one for me, Jane, as grasses can be difficult for the untrained to distinguish. But perhaps the math teacher still in me is drawn to all the angles you mention.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 17, 2011 at 6:06 AM

  3. I’ve walked through these grasses for years, not knowing what they were called. I just figured they were a humongous version of other grass that never was mowed (that’s how my mind worked out its height and stiff stem 🙂 ). I really like this picture of it. The long and narrow format helps to preserve and accentuate this grasses length. Beautiful photo!


    November 18, 2011 at 9:12 AM

    • I’m glad you like the picture and its format, Leslie. Have you ever painted anything that elongated?

      As for your conception of the grass as a humongous version of something else, I think many of us get conditioned to think of all grasses in terms of the low-growing ones that we grew up with in our lawns. But all grains are grasses, and think of how tall corn can get. And bamboo is a grass, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 18, 2011 at 9:56 AM

      • Yes. I like using an elongated format to accentuate something I wish to say. The crop of this accentuates this. I can see, in my mind’s eye, the other format.


        November 18, 2011 at 10:32 AM

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