Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for March 16th, 2012

A visitor to Mexican buckeye

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Click for greater clarity.

On March 5, as I was photographing the Mexican buckeye blossom that appeared in this morning’s picture, an olive hairstreak butterfly, Callophrys grynea, landed on it. I focused on the butterfly and was later surprised that so many of the lower parts of the flower came out in focus as well. Notice how shiny the red appendage of the flower was as sunlight fell on it. A hairstreak butterfly, by the way, has a tail end that mimics its head, even to pseudo-antennae that move up and down as the butterfly is gathering nectar. A predator may see the movement and chomp a piece out of that end, thinking it’s the head; the butterfly can survive with a chunk of wing missing, but obviously couldn’t with its head missing.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 16, 2012 at 1:41 PM

A hairy bulbous thing with a long red snout

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Here’s a native tree with unusual blossoms: if you were going to design a flower, would you include a hairy bulbous thing with a long red snout on it? I’m sure I wouldn’t, but every spring I’m happy to see the strange blossoms of the Mexican buckeye tree, Ungnadia speciosa, which grows natively not only in Mexico but also in Texas and southern New Mexico. I photographed this one on the property of native plant cheerleaders Pat and Dale Bulla in northwest Austin on March 5.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 16, 2012 at 5:48 AM

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