Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Spiderwort flower center

with 26 comments

Okay, let’s make a clean sweep of it: here’s a picture showing the center of a fully open spiderwort flower I found outside the Austin Nature Center on February 22. Notice the masculine vanity in this member of the genus Tradescantia: six feathery purple stamens, each capped with a bright yellow anther. It isn’t only in the world of birds that the males show off.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 3, 2012 at 5:42 AM

26 Responses

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  1. Incredible photo. I had no idea there were male plants either.



    March 3, 2012 at 6:50 AM

    • As my friend Roy Barkley once said, referring to the berries on an Ashe juniper: “Meet Mrs. Tree.” Yes, some plants have separate male and female individuals, while other plants have both sexes together. In the case of the spiderwort, although I commented on the stamens, which are the male parts, there is a pistil as well, which I take to be the stalk in the picture that doesn’t have a fancy yellow anther at its tip.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 3, 2012 at 7:16 AM

  2. Oh yeah, birds and insects are the matchmakers pollinators. Nature is so cool! Great macro Steve! 🙂


    March 3, 2012 at 8:11 AM

  3. This I like – a lot! The natural composition, the complementary colours and contrasting textures combine to make an excellent picture.


    March 3, 2012 at 8:23 AM

  4. Looks like a Mardi Gras headpiece!

    Bonnie Michelle

    March 3, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    • You can be the first to fashion a Mardi Gras headpiece in the form of a spiderwort. We look forward to seeing a picture of you wearing it in New Orleans next year.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 3, 2012 at 8:39 AM

  5. One of the most beautiful “weeds” that grow here in New Hampshire.

    • Thanks for putting quotation marks around the word “weeds.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 3, 2012 at 10:22 AM

      • “Any plant is a weed if it insists on growing where the husbandman wants another plant to grow.” So says Edwin Rollin Spencer in his book “Just Weeds.” As he points out, many plants we have been taught to think of as weeds are actually very beautiful.The book was published in 1940 and 1957 by Charles Scribner’s Sons, NY. It makes for a worthy quest for those who like both plants and used book stores.

        New Hampshire Gardener

        March 3, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      • When I was doing research a few years ago I looked through this book in the library of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. His comments about beauty seem to be back-handed compliments. For example, he says: “The goldenrods are truly weeds of the wayside, with emphasis on the ‘weeds.’ Aside from the beauty of some of the species, which has caused them to be adopted as State flowers in several States, the goldenrods have not a single commendable character…” Hmmm.

        Steve Schwartzman

        March 3, 2012 at 11:49 AM

  6. And speaking of birds, well OK, poultry then… did you see the two pollen-roosters on the left? 😉
    Simply gorgeous color and a great photograph, Steve! ~ Lynda


    March 3, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    • Now that you mention the roosters I do see them, but I didn’t before. Good imagination, Lynda.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 3, 2012 at 2:34 PM

      • Hey, I don’t have much, but I certainly got the double portion on imagination, Steve. 😉


        March 3, 2012 at 6:43 PM

      • My wife Eve has a double portion too: she looked at those two anthers and immediately said roosters.

        Steve Schwartzman

        March 3, 2012 at 7:00 PM

  7. This is simply a tremendous close-up image. I don’t know what else to say.


    March 3, 2012 at 12:38 PM

  8. Beautiful, for the colors alone, but there is so much more here, too.

    Susan Scheid

    March 3, 2012 at 1:44 PM

  9. LOVE IT!!!


    March 3, 2012 at 2:28 PM

  10. Super close-up…the detail is amazing!!!


    March 4, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    • As always, I’ll give a lot of the credit to my Canon 100mm macro lens. Why the stamens should grow with plumes I don’t know, but I’m glad they do.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 4, 2012 at 1:28 PM

  11. […] along a trail in McKinney Falls State Park in southeast Austin, I got down low to photograph some spiderworts. It was only then that I noticed these double-decker syrphid flies, which were at most a third of […]

  12. […] Oh yes it does! […]

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