Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for January 11th, 2012

Rattan: a clarification and a complexification

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Click for greater clarity.

In the first post about Berchemia scandens, commonly called rattan, I talked about the way this vine can strangle the trunk of a tree but I didn’t convey the density and complexity with which rattan vines can also entwine themselves in and cover a tree. With that in mind, have a look at the type of scene I often come upon in the woods in Austin. Toward the left you see some young rattan vines, with their typical smooth exterior that can be tan or later a yellowish green. Toward the right you see a lot of older rattan vines that have dried out but remain hanging. The orange leaves, as you saw more closely two posts ago, are from the rattan, while the red ones are from a greenbrier vine that had joined the tangle. I found this network of vines and year-end color on December 17 in the “panhandle” of St. Edward’s Park in my northwestern part of Austin.

To learn more about rattan, and to see a state-clickable map showing where in the southeastern United States it grows, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 11, 2012 at 3:00 PM

Rattan fruit

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Rattan vine fruit and colorful leaves; click for more detail.

Berchemia scandens, the woody rattan vine that can strangle a tree, has surprisingly small fruits: each is only about a quarter to a third of an inch long and looks like a tiny grape. Behind the little cluster of them shown here you see two of the plant’s leaves illuminated by a shaft of late-afternoon sun that made its way through the darkling woods.

To learn more about the formidable rattan vine, and to see a map showing where in the southeastern United States it thrives, you can visit the USDA website. For those of you interested in photography as a craft, points 1, 4, 5, 8, and 12 in About My Techniques apply to today’s photograph.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 11, 2012 at 5:04 AM

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