Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

When the land gets overused

with 4 comments

Click for greater clarity and considerably larger size.

When people overuse their land, certain plants that are good colonizers tend to take over. That’s what I observed on August 15 as I drove on TX 95 near the tiny town of Coupland on the Blackland Prairie northeast of Austin, where I saw three opportunistic native species growing on the opposite side of the barbed-wire fence that lined the road. Today’s photograph shows that view, minus the fence.

The prominent plants with elongated white bracts and often reddish stalks are the picturesquely named snow-on-the-prairie, Euphorbia bicolor. The clustered yellow flowers are buffalo bur, Solanum rostratum. The green plants forming a fringe across the background are broomweed, Amphiachyris dracunculoides. While snow-on-the-prairie and broomweed are at their most prominent in late summer and fall, buffalo bur puts out flowers for much of the year and is therefore not the seasonal indicator that the other two are.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 30, 2012 at 6:03 AM

4 Responses

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  1. I do like snow-on-the-prairie, and enjoyed it long before I knew its name. This is a lovely photo of it with its friends. “Opportunistic” is such a nice euphemism for “pushy”. 😉


    August 30, 2012 at 7:33 AM

    • It’s easy to like snow-on-the-prairie, even without knowing its poetic name. I appreciate the way you refer to it as being with its friends here, and the way you redefine opportunistic.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 30, 2012 at 7:43 AM

  2. […] August 15, about an hour and twenty minutes before I took the picture that you saw yesterday, I took this one, which gives you a closer look at the plant picturesquely called […]

  3. […] person intended with “land bur,” but the search engine led to an image that included some buffalo bur plants as a minor element in a […]

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