Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

So much going on here

with 15 comments

Click for greater size, clarity, and wonderment.

Yes, yes, there’s so much going on in this August 17th view of the Blackland Prairie in southern Round Rock. Most prominent, of course, is the eryngo, Eryngium leavenworthii, about three feet tall, flowering away in its rich purple in front of all the tan and brown that fills most of the rest of the picture, and contributing some tan of its own in the dying, drying leaves on the lower portion of its stalk. In the background is a dried-out colony of basket-flowers, Centaurea americana. The equally dry seed stalks two-thirds of the way down the left edge of the photograph and in the lower right corner are horsemints, Monarda citriodora. The branching brown plant near the right edge of the picture, likewise spent and dried out, is prairie parsley, Polytaenia nuttallii. You can follow those three links if you’d like to be reminded of the way the flowers of those species looked when they were fresh, yet the plants persist in these desiccated forms much longer than the time they spent in their green and flowering earlier lives.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 28, 2012 at 6:10 AM

15 Responses

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  1. It’s a lovely contrast….


    August 28, 2012 at 6:17 AM

  2. What interesting flowers.They look like tiny purple pineapples!


    August 28, 2012 at 6:36 AM

  3. This is one of the nicest photos I’ve seen posted in a long time. Great work.


    August 28, 2012 at 8:00 AM

    • Thanks, Ken. I was excited when I found this property with large stands of dried-out basket-flowers and other plants. The eryngo was the right bit of living color to set it all off.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 28, 2012 at 9:04 AM

  4. Je suis surprise par l’intensité de la couleur. C’est superbe.


    August 28, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    • Merci, Val. C’est justement ce pourpre intense contre tous les tons bruns que je trouve étonnant.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 28, 2012 at 9:10 AM

  5. I like to see how plants look when not in flower, and though the eryngo clearly takes centre stage here, my eye is drawn to the dried flowers and seed heads – especially the basket flowers. Lovely!


    August 28, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    • Thanks, Cathy. You’ve seen how fond I am, too, of dried-out plants and seed heads. The basket-flowers were my original attraction to this piece of prairie (so much so that I went there three times in one week), but then I kept discovering fresh plants and other things mixed in that were worthy of photographing in their own right or that, as here, made for a good contrast with the abundant colonies of dried forms.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 28, 2012 at 4:21 PM

  6. Is it a kind of thistle? The color is so vibrant!


    August 28, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    • I’m glad you found the earlier post explaining that this is surprisingly a member of the same family as carrots. That reminds me that carrots can also be purple.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 28, 2012 at 8:18 PM

  7. What a lovely reminder that, despite it all, autumn is on its way. It was utterly strange today to have strong northerlies, low water and lowering humidities thanks to Isaac, but no cooler temperatures. But the plants are ending their cycle and the light is changing already – it won’t be so very long until the frostweed “blooms”.


    August 29, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    • I’ve been thinking that next week will be September already. In Austin the first perceptible bit of cooling has typically come in the middle of September. Whether that turning point will gradually get pushed farther into the month remains to be seen. The sun certainly sets earlier now.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 30, 2012 at 5:01 AM

  8. […] Portrait of flowers, august August example. […]

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