Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Orwell that ends well

with 6 comments

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“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

No, Eric Blair took that one a long time ago. Try again.

“It was a partly cloudy morning in February, and the thermometer was registering sixty-ten.”

Yes, that’s a much better way to describe the end of my photo foray along the west side of Mopac on the first day of this month. (If thirteen is a quaint way for a clock to chime one in the afternoon, sixty-ten is the curious way that the French say seventy, which was indeed the temperature when I returned to my car around 10:30. That afternoon the high was four-twenties-two, another charming French expression for the record-setting 82°.)

The last thing I photographed as I walked back to my car that morning was the first one I noticed after I’d parked: a yaupon with lots of fruit on it. This type of shrub or small tree, which has the great scientific name Ilex vomitoria, is close kin to the possumhaw, Ilex decidua, that you saw most recently playing host to a mockingbird. While the possumhaw loses its leaves in the winter, the yaupon retains them; the tiny red fruits of the two look the same, though it can be harder to see them on the yaupon because the tree’s leaves block parts of the view.

For more information about yaupons, and to see the many places in the Southeast where they grow, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 10, 2012 at 5:44 AM

6 Responses

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  1. Steve, I am assuming from the scientific name that these berries are not commonly on the menu for people in your area? ~Kyle


    February 10, 2012 at 6:26 AM

    • The species name comes from the supposed tradition of native peoples of using a strong tea made from the leaves as an emetic. Various species of birds and other animals eat the fruit, but it’s not edible for people.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 10, 2012 at 6:51 AM

  2. Steve, leaves or no leaves your photo makes an impressive presentation. I like the lime and yellow cast in their coloration. Is this because it is new growth? ~ Lynda


    February 10, 2012 at 7:24 AM

    • I wondered about the lime and yellow coloration too. Yaupons are evergreens, so I don’t believe that these were new leaves like the ones that the possumhaws should be getting toward the end of this month. In short, I’m just not sure. (You can add that to the gazillions of other things I’m not sure about.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 10, 2012 at 7:39 AM

  3. This is striking!!! Love the sky as a background!!!


    February 11, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    • Yes, that clear sky really enhanced the red of the fruit. I’m glad you found this so luscious.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 11, 2012 at 2:15 PM

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