Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Drying out

with 6 comments

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This picture from May 21 in Burnet County, about 45 minutes northwest of Austin, shows two types of drying out. In the background are ashe juniper trees, Juniperus ashei, some of which were killed by last year’s drought. In the foreground you see a dense colony of basket-flowers, Centaurea americana, drying out in their usual way after flowering for several weeks. As fond as I am of fresh basket-flowers, for reasons that you understand from the last few posts, I also find the sepia tones of a dry colony appealing.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 3, 2012 at 5:13 AM

6 Responses

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  1. What I find remarkable is how living things have evolved to make use of the desiccation process to rupture the seedpods and dissipate the contents. Whatever the environmental conditions some organisms will adapt to exploit them.

    Finn Holding

    June 3, 2012 at 7:27 AM

    • Not only is that desiccation a practical way for the plants to send forth their seeds, but the drying causes structures to twist and bend and break in ways that can make for fascinating viewing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 3, 2012 at 8:03 AM

  2. I have come to appreciate all the phases of our native plants. Even the dried out seedheads have their own special beauty in winter fields and gardens.

    Jo Ann Abell

    June 3, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    • Yes, they do. And some of them not only look good in nature but also make for excellent dried plant arrangements indoors. A dried basket-flower keeps particularly well (I’ll have a closeup of one tomorrow).

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 3, 2012 at 9:44 AM

  3. One of the great joys of dried or desiccated flowers is their ability to “speak” with a new voice. Fresh, flexible flowers often are silent in the wind, but as they dry they begin to crack and rustle. It’s nice that we don’t have to wait until autumn to experience it.


    June 4, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    • I hadn’t thought about the pre-autumnal crackling and rustling, but I’ll add those that to my mental list of benefits. And of course in our half-year of summer as measured by the weather and not the calendar, true autumn is usually a good ways off.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2012 at 7:19 PM

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