Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Purple bindweed flower

with 13 comments

Those of you who were reading this blog a couple of months ago may remember the pictures of a purple bindweed vine and scarlet spiderling, in both of which purple bindweed flowers played featureless but bright supporting roles in the background. Today you’ll get a better look at that flower, Ipomoea cordatotriloba, because I found a bunch of them on the same noisy embankment of the US 183 freeway that yielded the photographs of the buffalo gourd in the last few posts. What you see here is the typical puckered look that a purple bindweed flower takes on when it begins to close and is on its way to shriveling.

Of the many wildflowers in central Texas, purple bindweed has one of the longest blooming periods, beginning in the spring and lasting into December. Not only that, but this species seemed immune to 2011’s record drought, and I saw purple bindweed flowering all over town just about every time I went out photographing. For more information about this hardy species, including a state-clickable map showing where it grows, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 5, 2011 at 5:05 AM

13 Responses

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  1. Reminds me of an O’Keeffe print.

    Bonnie Michelle

    December 5, 2011 at 6:59 AM

  2. Lovely strong image. reminds me of what is yet to be, Sally

    Sally W. Donatello

    December 5, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    • Thanks, Sally. Your comment reminds me of the ending of Yeats’ poem “Sailing to Byzantium”:

      “… to sing

      Of what is past, or passing, or to come.”

      For the purple bindweed flower shown here, what was soon to come was its demise, though other flowers of its kind would and will replace it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 5, 2011 at 3:15 PM

  3. Great shots!!SUPERB..

    Salut, Francesc


    December 5, 2011 at 4:34 PM

  4. I’ve meant to mention how much I appreciate a technical detail of your blog – the ability to open links in a new page. It makes it very convenient to compare and contrast, or go back to details you’ve highlighted.

    In this case, a linked page answered my question – yes, purple bindweed is related to morning glories! I’d thought it must be, by its appearance and by the nature of its closing.

    Here’s another question. Do plants with very short-lived flowers tend to have more abundant blossoms? It makes sense to me they’d need to compensate for the short bloom cycle – but things that make sense to me aren’t always so!


    December 6, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    • I’ve sometimes wondered whether to make links open in separate pages, which is what I usually do, so thanks for letting me know that you find it helpful.

      It’s also good to hear that your intuition was right in guessing that Ipomoea is in the morning glory family. One vernacular name for another Texan species in the genus, Ipomoea lindheimeri, is Lindheimer’s morning glory.

      As for your speculative last question, I wish I were more of a botanist so I could answer with some confidence. One widely planted species here, Leucophyllum frutescens, known as cenizo and Texas sage (even though it’s not a sage), produces lots and lots of flowers that last only a couple of days. How widespread that pattern is I just don’t know, and I suspect a botanist could come up with counterexamples. As you said (and as we’ve both probably internalized from experience), things that make sense aren’t always so.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 6, 2011 at 9:45 PM

  5. […] in Austin on December 1 taking the pictures of the buffalo gourd flower and tendrils and the purple bindweed flower you’ve seen in the last few posts, I also photographed this white prickly poppy, Argemone […]

  6. […] October posts highlighting the prairie restoration at the Elisabet Ney Museum. This species, like purple bindweed, is one of the hardiest and most widely distributed wildflowers in Austin and similarly has a bloom […]

  7. Beautiful, so beautiful. Thank you Steve, it is so nice to meet with your camera. Fascinated me. With my love, nia


    December 15, 2011 at 11:48 AM

  8. […] and lets them wither in the heat of the afternoon. The puckering shown here, a version of which you saw from the side late last year, is typical of that fading away. This view goes back to June 21 of 2011, a year in […]

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