Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Dense bluebonnets

with 25 comments

Click for greater size and clarity.

In the picture that you saw two days ago of colorful wildflowers on an embankment of the expressway called Mopac, bluebonnets played the smallest role. But bluebonnets, Lupinus texensis, are also known to form dense colonies, and to prove it here’s a photograph of a group of them I found on Burnet Rd. outside the J.J. Pickle Research Campus shortly after I left the Mopac site on March 26.

When it comes to the blue in bluebonnets, the rods and cones in my eyes have always seen the color as more violet or purple than blue. I talked about the same color discrepancy last year when I showed pictures of bluebells. Of course colors fall along a continuum, and different people draw different dividing lines between adjacent colors in the spectrum. I’ll add that no matter what you call the color of these flowers, when they occur in large numbers they give off a distinctive and heady scent: you can even buy bluebonnet perfume, bluebonnet eau de toilette, etc.; just do an Internet search and you’ll see.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 29, 2012 at 5:37 AM

25 Responses

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  1. I think you and my daughter are tag teaming me. You are both luring me to Austin!

    Bonnie Michelle

    March 29, 2012 at 6:56 AM

  2. Beautiful picture Steve! They do look purplish. 🙂


    March 29, 2012 at 7:42 AM

  3. My family lived in Round Rock, Texas for 7 years, and I think the thing that I miss most are the wildflowers of spring. The thing that I miss least is cedar fever. 😉

    Deb Platt

    March 29, 2012 at 8:07 AM

    • Round Rock has continued to grow rapidly. When I moved to Austin in 1976, the population of Round Rock was about 10,000. It’s now about 10 times that! Last year in this blog I showed a bunch of pictures from there: if you use the search box in the upper right and look for “Round Rock” you can see them.

      I can understand why you don’t miss cedar fever. I suspect you don’t miss chiggers, either, unless you’re still in a place that has them too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2012 at 8:57 AM

  4. Such a spectacular picture that I tweeted this article and also shared it w/my LinkedIn connections!


    March 29, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    • Thanks for your enthusiasm, Wanda. Since you’re in the Austin area and since I almost always say where I took each picture, you may get to see some of these sites in person.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2012 at 9:57 AM

      • I have not peered at all your pix yet. I just now happened to go to http://www.greathillspark.org/plantphotos/ to view the great pix that you had taken in this park. Was not aware there were so many subjects to look closer at. (Initially received link to your blog from ML.)


        March 29, 2012 at 10:27 AM

      • Ah, so that’s how you made the connection. Yes, there are many native plants in Great Hills Park. I just used this blog’s search box and found that so far I’ve posted 11 pictures taken in the park, none of which are duplicates of any at the website you gave the link to. I’m glad you found the images at the Great Hills Park website to be “great pix.”

        Steve Schwartzman

        March 29, 2012 at 12:04 PM

  5. I think bluebonnets are bluish-purple (or maybe purple-bluish?). Love our state flower . . . just wish the bees weren’t so fond of them, too!

    Texas Susan

    March 29, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    • Bluish-purple and purplish-blue are happy compromises. I’m fortunate that I’ve never had trouble with the many bees on bluebonnets and other flowers. I go about my business and they go about theirs, so you could say there’s peaceful coexistence.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2012 at 12:11 PM

  6. Hi Steve .. another friend loves her blue bonnets – our bluebells are just starting to come out, while the hyacinths have been just gorgeous … I love blue … I can understand your shifting along the colour scale – it always fascinates me – now I’m aware I’m not always right in others’ eyes – they see green, I see purple!!

    Cheers Hilary


    March 29, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    • From green to purple is quite a jump, unless other people are looking at the leaves and you’re looking at the flowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2012 at 12:13 PM

  7. […] a three-day seminar at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus, the place outside of which I photographed a bluebonnet colony on March 26. When I went to pick her up there yesterday at 5 PM, I took a picture of an even larger […]

  8. Your pic makes you just want to frolic in the sea of purple – ha!


    March 29, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    • A fair number of people do that. It’s common to see people putting their kids and even their pets into little hollows among the bluebonnets so they can take pictures of them surrounded by flowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2012 at 4:15 PM

  9. Beautiful picture Steve! This would make a great print on the wall. I would love to see a field of flowers in person!

    Michael Glover

    March 29, 2012 at 9:23 PM

  10. Magnifique. J’ai du mal à imaginer un tapis si dense de fleurs aussi intenses. Que cela doit être beau à voir dans la réalité.
    Merci pour ce partage.


    March 30, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    • L’ancolie bleue [the blue columbine] writes:
      “Magnificent. I have trouble imagining such a dense carpet of flowers so intense. How beautiful it must be to see that for real. Thanks for sharing.”

      J’ai fait ce partage avec plaisir. Demain tu verras un tapis encore plus dense d’un autre genre de fleur.
      I was glad to share. Tomorrow you’ll see an even denser carpet of a different kind of flower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 30, 2012 at 7:15 AM

  11. Those are really gorgeous!


    March 30, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    • The bluebonnets are at their peak here now. I suspect you have one or more species of Lupinus in Montana.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 31, 2012 at 12:48 AM

  12. […] photographs taken on March 26 and March 29 you saw dense colonies of bluebonnets, Lupinus texensis. Now, from northeast Austin on […]

  13. […] By now you probably recognize the Indian paintbrushes, firewheels (also called Indian blankets), bluebonnets, and phlox mixed in among the coreopsis. This is yet another picture from our almost-300-mile grand […]

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