Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for December 18th, 2011

Greenbrier in autumn, part 1

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One native plant that’s quite common in central Texas is greenbrier. Its genus name, Smilax, sometimes makes me, a promoter of native plants, want to do anything but smile; and as for its species name, bona-nox, which means ‘good night,’ anyone who has to walk around in the dark on ground where this plant is growing will not have a good night of it. Today’s picture makes clear why I’ve said what I’ve said. And yes, greenbrier is usually green, but here you see a piece of a plant that has dried out and turned tan by late autumn. This picture, taken December 12, comes from the lot on the east side of US 183 south of Braker Lane that has been mostly cleared in preparation for new construction. (This is the lot that has provided pictures for various posts this summer and fall, and along whose western edge the grackles gather at dusk.)

For more information, including a state-clickable map showing the places in the southeastern part of the United States where you can have this vine’s thorns tear into your clothing and skin, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 18, 2011 at 5:34 PM

Distinctly indistinct

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You’ve seen pictures in this column of bald cypresses and bulrushes, but not the two together. You’ve also never seen a picture in these pages of the kind of weather shown here now, so you’ll understand why I couldn’t pass up this first opportunity for blog fog. Because the mist on the morning of December 9 made everything look so indistinct, I’ll point out that you can find the bulrushes forming a dark green band across the bottom of the picture; in the upper left is the most prominent of the bald cypresses, whose “needles,” like those in the close-up of August 11, have turned warm colors.

Although fog is rare in Austin, in the first half of December we had several. I photographed this one at Laguna Gloria, once a private estate on a cove of the Colorado River, but for decades now a home to an art museum.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 18, 2011 at 5:08 AM

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