Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

An edge-on look at pearl milkweed

with 25 comments

Click for greater size and clarity.

The usual view from above of a flower of the pearl milkweed vine, Matelea reticulata, gives barely a hint of the orange concealed beneath the little pearly covering, nor of the fact that the “pearl” doesn’t have much depth. This photograph, a get-down-on-the-ground edge-on follow-up, reveals those features (no extra charge for all the hyphens). Whether the orange attracts pollinators or serves some other purpose, I don’t know.

If you’re interested in photography as a craft, you’ll find that points 1, 22, and the newly added 23 in About My Techniques are relevant to this image.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 17, 2012 at 1:45 PM

25 Responses

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  1. From this perspective they look like flying saucers, and I can also now imagine what it feels like to be an insect…
    Thanks for this new look on life! 🙂


    April 17, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    • Now that you say it, I can see flying saucers. What I’ve imagined is that each is a tiny metallic cap that gets clamped onto the top of a container. So our imaginations meet at the center of each flower.

      Although these flowers obviously manage to get pollinated, I don’t recall ever photographing an insect on one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 17, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    • I just figured out what I’d been trying to think of: the cap on a car’s radiator.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 17, 2012 at 3:04 PM

  2. Truly, I find that this view gives the flower its due: eloquence and (yes) sassiness. And I’m green with envy that you have this gem available to you, Sally


    April 17, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    • I’m pleased that you find the flower getting its due here, even if it makes you (appropriately) green with envy. Pearl milkweed is a gem indeed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 17, 2012 at 4:41 PM

  3. I love the view that you took taking this photograph. Really, very cool.


    April 17, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    • I don’t remember ever observing the orange till I got down on the side of the flower like this just five days ago.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 17, 2012 at 5:22 PM

  4. I love that you think to look from so many different angles and perspectives! Very pretty shape and color from this point of view!

    Just A Smidgen

    April 17, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    • I definitely enjoy looking at things from different perspectives, both literally and figuratively. I’ve seen lots of new (to me) features of plants that way.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 17, 2012 at 9:23 PM

  5. I thought of flying saucers, too. I love that you posted the photo today. April 17, 1897, was the day the UFO crashed in Aurora, Texas. The pilot of the craft is buried there, actually. Reportedly. You can find a story from the Dallas Morning News here.


    April 17, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    • Thanks for that information about Aurora and its mysterious event, which I’d never heard of. The account you linked to raises many questions, some of which I’m wondering if you raised in a post on your blog.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 17, 2012 at 9:36 PM

      • Not yet, but I’ve got a draft cooling its heels in my files.


        April 17, 2012 at 9:39 PM

      • Oh, and I forgot to comment on the synchronicity of posting this picture on the 100th anniversary of that occurrence; it was unintentional, of course, given that I’d never heard of the Aurora event. Maybe I’m psychic.

        Steve Schwartzman

        April 17, 2012 at 9:53 PM

  6. Flying saucers?
    Nay! I say lovely parasols to keep the wood nymphs dry when the dew comes to rest at the dawn.

    A very unusual point of view. Beautiful! ~ Lynda


    April 17, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    • Another idea for fabrication: pearl milkweed parasols. What imaginations you readers have.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 18, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    • Lynda – your point of view is unusual, too. I love the idea of the fairies taking shelter under the milkweed!


      April 18, 2012 at 8:55 AM

  7. Great angle to photograph these flowers – they look so interesting.


    April 18, 2012 at 3:04 AM

  8. Indeed this is a very interesting view…I like it !!!


    April 18, 2012 at 10:15 AM

  9. That is an awesome angle for some unique plants. Great presentation, with the panorama size.


    April 18, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    • Although I’ve been photographing this species for years, i can’t recall ever looking at it from the side till now. In this case it makes quite a difference. The panoramic format is one that appeals to me and that I’ve used from time to time in this blog, especially for dense displays of wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 18, 2012 at 8:22 PM

  10. Very neat perspective. I can imagine these little flowers spinning through the air. The angle from above gives a very different image. Lovely flower, like a human-made brooch. Jane

    jane tims

    April 22, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    • Other commenters have thought about jewelry, but you’re the first whose imagination has seen these flowers spinning through the air. Good on both counts.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 22, 2012 at 9:29 AM

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