Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 16 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Here’s something you haven’t seen in these pages till now: Leucophyllum frutescens, a shrub or small tree that’s native across portions of the southern third of Texas but is widely planted in many other places for its great displays of flowers. Those flowers are small and last only a few days before falling to the ground, but they often appear in large numbers, as you see here, and there are usually several rounds of blossoming each year, beginning once the temperature gets hot. One of the common names for this bush is cenizo, a Spanish word based on the ceniza that means ash, because the plant’s small leaves are an ash-gray shade of green. I photographed this cenizo on the front lawn of a house in my neighborhood on May 24.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 29, 2012 at 5:49 AM

16 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Wow what a beautiful shrub to add to the landscape!!


    May 29, 2012 at 7:48 AM

  2. Such a gorgeous “shrub” (that’s not a flattering name for this sort of delicious specimen, is it.. “shrub”) I wish this grew here, I’d plant it in my front garden!

    Just A Smidgen

    May 29, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    • Cenizo thrives under our hot summery sun, but I’m afraid it would stand no chance in your Albertan winter.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 29, 2012 at 8:52 AM

  3. Steve, we call this wild sage. I’ve never heard it called Cenizo befores. As I said, everybody calls them wild sage, but I’d say most of the ones I’ve seen are intentionally planted. There are some nice sized ones in town. Ours out by the chateau are blooming so wonderfully right now. One of the nice things about this is that the grasshoppers and deer do not bother it. And it survives Texas summers, always a plus.


    May 29, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    • I’ve heard it referred to as Texas sage and purple sage (though not wild sage), but I’ve chosen not to use those names because the plant isn’t a sage. As you say, most of the ones in Austin have been planted by people, but there are a few escapees. I haven’t noticed about the grasshoppers and deer, but I have noticed that cenizo sure loves the heat and sun, even to the point of flowering profusely in the worst of the summer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 29, 2012 at 1:07 PM

  4. Lovely colourful display.


    May 29, 2012 at 6:11 PM

  5. I just learned “cenizo” and Leucophyllum frutescens this past year. Since coming to rural Texas, I’ve always known this one as the Barometer Bush . If you grow weary of your local tv met, you always can consult your local shrubs for a forecast while you’re enjoying its color!


    May 29, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    • Thanks for the link to your article, which includes good pictures showing how grey the leaves can be. I was familiar with the name barometer bush, but I haven’t always found the term to be apt. The latest round of blooming here in Austin, which is now ending, has coincided with high humidity, but so far the weather forecast hasn’t called for rain. We’ll see who’s right, the weather folks or the cenizos.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 29, 2012 at 9:24 PM

  6. Just took a similar photo this morning. Swear. We have a sage bush (that’s what I always called it anyway) that’s trained to grow up and over my walkway, where the mockingbird nest was (posted today, RIP little babies). It is a most beautiful plant, and just the top part (over my head) is loaded with blooms and bees. The lone one on our property.


    May 29, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    • I believe you, and I’m glad the top part of yours is loaded with blooms and the attendant bees. We have a small one in front of our house, but it hasn’t produced many flowers in the eight years we’ve lived here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 29, 2012 at 9:28 PM

  7. How beautiful ! Unfortunately I’m sure this species is not hardy enough to where I live. So many flowers don’t last long, at least this one blooms more than once.
    A beautiful photo Steve !

    Inspired and pretty

    May 29, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    • Thank you. I’m afraid you’re right that cenizo couldn’t survive the cold where you are. And yes, we can look forward to several more bloom cycles now that we’re entering summer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 29, 2012 at 9:48 PM

  8. Your photo is not loading today. 😦


    May 31, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    • I’m sorry to hear that. Somebody in Austin had that problem a few days ago, but after she relaunched her browser the picture behaved normally. Does restarting your computer make any difference? The picture is showing up normally in my browser.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 31, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: