Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A rain-called lily called rain-lily

with 18 comments

Click for greater clarity.

In addition to the Habranthus tubispathus of the the last two posts, another small lily called forth on July 13 by the rain, and even named for that behavior, is the rain-lily, Cooperia pedunculata. As opposed to the copper lily, its flowers are white rather than yellow, and this one was blowing a bit in the breeze, as you can see from the blurred tips of a few of its tepals. (You’re familiar with petals, and you may be aware that as they develop they’re surrounded by outer segments called sepals; when a species has petals and sepals that are practically identical, botanists refer to them both as tepals.)

I took this photograph in the same place as the last two pictures, the right-of way beneath the large power lines crossing a portion of my Great Hills section of northwestern Austin.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 24, 2012 at 6:02 AM

18 Responses

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  1. Fabulous!


    July 24, 2012 at 6:19 AM

  2. Beautiful, and thank you for the vocabulary lesson. I love words! Ellen

    Ellen Grace Olinger

    July 24, 2012 at 6:42 AM

    • Photographs and words are two of my “things.” Last year I used the word tepal and at least one person thought it was a typo for petal, so this year I thought I’d give a preemptive explanation.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 24, 2012 at 8:07 AM

  3. A new word! I see the consensus is that it was created in the mid-19th century. What were tepals called before then? Or had they simply been ignored, or plunked into the “sepal” category?

    I assumed I’d never seen a rain lily, until I did a search. They’re all over the place! For some reason I thought they were a wild garlic or onion. I regularly pass a couple of vacant lots that were covered with them this year.


    July 24, 2012 at 6:51 AM

    • Your conjectures are reasonable about what tepals were called before they were called tepals, but I don’t happen to know. Some research in old botany books could probably ferret out the answer.

      I’m glad that you un-onioned and un-garlicked your rain-lilies, and that you had plenty of them. The recent ones here were scattered, not nearly as dense as I’ve occasionally seen them. Last year the greatest density here was in the fall, after we finally got some rain and the rain-lilies made up for lost time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 24, 2012 at 8:16 AM

  4. I see that you’ve added a copyright note to your pics. Good plan. Do you sell prints of your pictures?


    July 24, 2012 at 7:06 AM

    • As we all know, some people on the Internet have no qualms about copying anything they want to copy and passing it around to others. From time to time I get e-mailed one of those circulating collections of photographs that many of you have probably also received, and I’m saddened to see that for most of the images the photographer isn’t identified. I’m under no illusions that the copyright notice I’ve been putting on my photographs since this blog began will prevent someone from copying a picture without asking permission, but at least my name will go along with the photograph—unless someone removes it, of course. To prevent that, some photographers put a large watermark right through the main part of the picture, but to my mind that keeps viewers from enjoying the image. My discreet copyright notice is a middle ground.

      As for selling photographs, I’ve occasionally done that in Austin, but I haven’t set up an online store.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 24, 2012 at 10:47 AM

  5. Very pretty!!!


    July 24, 2012 at 8:26 AM

  6. A painterly photograph–very nice, Sally


    July 24, 2012 at 8:44 AM

  7. Was für eine makellose Blüte !!!


    July 24, 2012 at 10:20 AM

  8. What a beauty that is!


    July 25, 2012 at 1:00 AM

  9. I really like the contrast of the white against the blue sky. Awesome photograph!

    Brian Comeau

    July 25, 2012 at 7:17 PM

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