Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 8 comments

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Comments in the post two days ago about Proboscidea louisianica alluded to the seed capsules of this plant, which is known colloquially as devil’s claw. Now you get to see what prompted that name: you’re looking at the main section of a seed capsule, which has dried out and split longitudinally into two halves. At the lower right you see portions of the pod’s two long and curving “claws,” the closer one in focus, the other not. The patterns on the husk are intriguing, don’t you think?

This picture is from the (Southwest) Williamson County Regional Park on October 29, 2010 (I haven’t photographed any of these capsules in 2012, so I had to turn to my archives).

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 17, 2012 at 6:13 AM

8 Responses

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  1. Another great instance of the similarities in nature’s patterns. Turn the husk 90 degrees counter-clockwise, and you could be looking at the Mississippi Delta, with a few oxboxs for good measure “up north”.


    September 17, 2012 at 7:49 AM

    • That’s a keen observation, one I never would have made. It even happily accords with the species name louisianica. Coincidentally, when I was in New York in early July I saw, for the first time in decades, Thomas Cole’s famous painting called “The Oxbow.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 17, 2012 at 8:04 AM

  2. I think the pattern would have inspired Gaudi.


    September 17, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    • I spent six weeks in Barcelona in 1985 and I made a point of visiting various Gaudi sites, so I’ll agree with you. He’s long gone, but perhaps a modern architect or designer could turn this into something.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 17, 2012 at 1:08 PM

  3. The amazing power of desiccation! How big is the seed pod?

    Finn Holding

    September 19, 2012 at 2:23 PM

  4. A friend just found one of these, and emailed a photo to me, asking what it was. I’d forgotten this series of posts until I saw your reference to them in Lori’s blog, and now I’ve sent the links on to my friend. They are amazing plants. It’s a little amazing to realize six years have passed since your posting, too.


    November 8, 2018 at 4:42 PM

    • I’ve gotten to the point where a period of two years often seems like one year, so that the 2016 trip to the southwestern states that has been appearing in recent posts seems like it was last year.

      Since I posted these devil’s claw photographs in 2012, I don’t think I’ve photographed any more of the claws, though I have found and photographed an occasional flower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 8, 2018 at 6:16 PM

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