And now for the second day in a row here’s a wildflower you haven’t seen in these pages before: this time it’s Ipomopsis rubra, known as standing cypress and Texas plume. I imagine the cypress and the plume are both references to the plant’s feathery leaves, which you can see best at the bottom of the picture, while the standing clearly refers to the plant’s stiff stalk and erect posture. Isn’t it strange, though, that neither of those common names makes any mention of the prominent flowers? In any case, we can go back to the standing and say that these saturated red flowers do an especially good job of standing out against a clear blue sky like the one I worked under on the morning of May 22. (The scientific name for the plant, by the way, does get at the red, which is what rubra means in Latin; a third vernacular name, red Texas star, also makes the point.)
The location was the north side of RR 2222, a busy road that winds its way through the Hill Country on Austin’s west side. And speaking of location, I was surprised when I looked at the USDA map and found that this species grows across much of the eastern United States and even into Ontario. So much for the Texas in Texas plume and red Texas star.
© 2012 Steven Schwartzman