Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Blue curls

with 25 comments

Click for greater sharpness.

Just like little girls,
These had many curls,
Right in the middle of the forest.

Okay, in spite of the dark brown background this wasn’t exactly the middle of the forest—it was the roadside edge of a wooded lot adjacent to a hotel and across from the Gateway shopping center in northwest Austin—but what is poetic license for if I can’t drive with it now? And what I’m driving at in this post is Phacelia congesta, known colloquially as blue curls. At the budding stage shown here you see the curls but not yet the blue. It’s coming. (And what’s already come from this location is the picture of the white anemone and the one of the agarita flowers.)

In the United States, Phacelia congesta is found primarily in Texas, with a little spillover into New Mexico and Oklahoma; you can see that at the USDA website, where the Texas map implies a presence in Mexico as well.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 16, 2012 at 5:47 AM

25 Responses

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  1. i’m enjoying your wild flowers

    dianne - life as i see it

    February 16, 2012 at 6:00 AM

  2. Very cool!


    February 16, 2012 at 6:39 AM

    • As obviously attractive as most flowers are, I look for chances to show earlier and later stages as well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 16, 2012 at 7:00 AM

  3. Lovely image! 🙂

    Nicole Ftacnik Photography

    February 16, 2012 at 8:43 AM

  4. Ahh, used to quote this poem to my daughter when she was little … “and when she was bad, she was horrid” Nothing horrid here!! Just beautiful curls:) Morning!!

    Just A Smidgen

    February 16, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    • Good for you and your daughter. I didn’t know how many people would catch the allusion to the original nursery rhyme—or at least I thought it was a traditional (i.e. anonymous) nursery rhyme: the Poetry Foundation website that I just consulted attributes it to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

      There was a little girl,
      Who had a little curl,
      Right in the middle of her forehead.
      When she was good,
      She was very good indeed,
      But when she was bad she was horrid.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 16, 2012 at 9:51 AM

  5. I can’t wait!

    Bonnie Michelle

    February 16, 2012 at 9:44 AM

  6. Great capture Steve!!!


    February 16, 2012 at 10:41 AM

  7. Steve, I, too, like views of the buds and seeds as well as the blossoms. This is a beautiful shot! And I naturally “got” the verse reference, as I frequently heard it directed at me, at least the first half of it ;-), when I was “a little girl who had a little curl.” ~Kyle


    February 16, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    • I’m glad that you, too, enjoy the less-than-most-beautiful stages, which are the ones the plants spend the greatest amount of time in and that we therefore see the most often. And it’s good to know that you recognized the verse, and even better because it’s from personal experience.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 16, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    • The curl part, that is, and not, I hope, the horrid part.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 16, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      • Rarely the horrid part, though I knew it was there, lurking at the end of the verse!


        February 16, 2012 at 4:52 PM

  8. You keep coming up with wonderful finds in what would usually be considered unlikely places. They are wonderful to see, and you make a great point!


    February 16, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    • Thank goodness for unlikely places. That’s where I find some of my best things, as long as the people with mowers, trimmers, and bulldozers don’t get there first.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 17, 2012 at 6:31 AM

  9. I know that poem. My mother used to read it to me from a book when I was very little. I can still remember the picture, and my wonderment at how cross the little girl appeared. Old book, old rhyme, old memory…
    Thank you. ~ L

    (Waiting for the big reveal)


    February 17, 2012 at 5:45 AM

    • You’re a welcome number 3 (plus me), Lynda, who’s mentioned knowing this. I think it’s probably a function of age, and my guess is that few young people would know it.

      I’m a big fan of old books, too; the oldest I have is a set that goes back to the 1700s.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 17, 2012 at 6:42 AM

      • There are a few young ones who would know it if they heard it again. I used to share many poems with my students when I taught. From time to time this one was among them. 😉
        ~ L
        NOTE: I went looking for this poem because I remembered, vaguely, that there was more to it. I found many references, and was surprised to learn that it wasn’t a product of Mother Goose, but actually of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow! Some pages mentioned that a line in the original actually reads: “…and when she was good, she was very good indeed!” The complete poem and a recording can be found here: http://www.mamalisa.com/?t=hes&p=1365&l=T


        February 17, 2012 at 7:37 AM

      • LOL! I should read your other comments more closely, because if I had I would have seen that you already told me it was Longfellow. 😛


        February 17, 2012 at 7:42 AM

      • It’s easy to overlook a comment, especially if there are a lot of them. You and I had the same surprise of finding that this was Longfellow rather than Mother Goose. One little difference: the way I learned the fifth line was “She was very, very good.”

        Steve Schwartzman

        February 17, 2012 at 8:01 AM

  10. […] you saw the still-white buds of Phacelia congesta, colloquially called blue curls, as I photographed them on February 9 at the edge of a lot in an […]

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