Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Separate but equal – reposted from this morning

with 14 comments

Click for greater size and clarity.

On March 31, Eve and I drove close to a 300-mile circuit south of Austin to see what wildflowers we could see. And see them we did, stopping repeatedly to appreciate the profusion along the roadsides and in adjacent fields in this spring of normal rain after a year of drought. The first stop was along US 183 south of Luling, and it produced today’s picture.

The red, as you saw a couple of days ago in the median of Loop 360, comes from Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa. The yellow wildflowers in the background make their first appearance in this blog: they’re Texas dandelions, Pyrrhopappus pauciflorus. These are native here, as opposed to the dandelions from Europe that have spread across much of North America, including the lawns of the New York suburb I grew up in.

It’s common in Texas to find dense mixtures of wildflowers—again as you saw a couple of posts back—but sometimes two species colonize the same terrain mostly separately, as on this plot of ground, where there were only a few dandelions among the Indian paintbrushes and vice versa.

NOTE: Because of a problem this morning in which some subscription e-mails didn’t go out, I’m following the advice of a WordPress “Happiness Engineer” and reposting this. If you received the original e-mail, I’m sorry for the duplication.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 4, 2012 at 4:49 PM

14 Responses

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  1. It doesn’t get more Easter-like than this—you almost expect to see coloured eggs hidden around


    April 4, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    • I can’t vouch for any eggs, but we saw wildflowers of many colors and mixtures of colors. You’ll be seeing some of those in the days ahead.

      While it was still eight days before Easter, we did leave from the east side of Austin and stayed east of Interstate 35. The etymologist in me can’t resist pointing out that east and Easter are closely related English words.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 4, 2012 at 5:03 PM

  2. So yummy looking! The pic makes me think of peppermint disks and buttercream or lemon nibbles.


    April 4, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    • In the previous comment Lance thought about Easter eggs, and now you’re following up with peppermint disks and buttercream or lemon nibbles. This is proving to be a yummy scene indeed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 4, 2012 at 5:28 PM

  3. Once again those two colours look amazing next to each other. Very pretty. Have not heard of the Texas dandelion before. Does it have wonderful seedheads like the common (Taraxacum) dandelion?


    April 4, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    • The combinations of colors among the spring wildflowers are always impressive here. More of those combinations will be coming your way in the days ahead, as well as closer views of the native dandelion so you can see how it differs from Taraxacum officinale. You’re correct that the Texan species also has wonderful puffball seed heads.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 4, 2012 at 5:42 PM

  4. I’ve never known what the yellow were – they’ve just exploded around here in the past few days, and everyone is asking one another, “What ARE those things?” They’re always around, but this year they’re so profuse they’re really attracting attention.

    The other combination I’ve been noting is the pink evening primrose and a very deep purple something – low growing and dense. I’m beginning here to catch up, so you may have some posted, or you may have them in the future.

    My favorite combination is bluebonnets and red paintbrush. If the ratio’s just right, they turn the fields purple.


    April 4, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    • Tomorrow I’ll have closer views of Texas dandelions, which, like so many species, are having a good spring. I wonder if the low-growing purple flowers you mentioned are Texas stork’s bill, Erodium texanum, which have been coming out here in large numbers the past couple of weeks. I’ve taken but not yet posted pictures of them; in the meantime, you can see what the flowers looks like at


      Bluebonnets and paintbrushes are indeed a classic combination. There again I’ve taken pictures but not yet posted any. Too many things to show!

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 4, 2012 at 8:10 PM

  5. Being a former Hill Country Texan, the gorgeous season of wildflowers this year makes me want to get on a plane. Thanks for bringing them a little closer sharing your photos!


    April 5, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    • You’re welcome. You know from experience how gorgeous our wildflower meadows can be at this time of year. I expect the airlines would be happy if you did hop on a plane this week and come visit.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 5, 2012 at 5:57 AM

  6. I’ve never seen red Indian paintbrushes! The ones I’ve photographed in Gonzales are definitely orange.


    No matter what shade of red, they’re gorgeous wildflowers!

    Texas Susan

    April 6, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    • They are. I’ve noticed that the shade of red can vary quite a bit. There are also occasional individuals that are a creamy pale yellow.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 6, 2012 at 3:55 PM

  7. Sweet. You are so fortunate to have these huge fields of flowers, Steve. We occasionally get some wide growths but not like this.

    Steve Gingold

    April 7, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    • Its great to see these huge floral fields in person. Failing that, you’ll get to see more of them in these pages.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 7, 2012 at 3:03 PM

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