Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Rain, rain, came our way

with 38 comments

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Late last week we had several rainy days that triggered the densest emergence of rain-lilies, Cooperia drummondii, since rain finally began to put an end to the drought of 2011 around this time last year. Two days ago, on the morning of September 18th, I stopped where Perry Lane meets Mopac at 45th St. and photographed the descendants of the colony that I portrayed on that site in 2011. This time no one called the police out of fear that I was a spy photographing Camp Mabry across the street. The only thing I spied on was this crowd of graceful flowers.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 20, 2012 at 6:10 AM

38 Responses

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  1. So wunderschön!!


    September 20, 2012 at 6:18 AM

  2. Wow!!! I spotted a stand at Hwy79 & N/S Mays St. in Round Rock the other day. Nice but not nearly as nice as this!!! There is some awesome flora in the Camp Mabry area. Beautiful Flame Leaf Sumac, Huisache, and Redbuds on post, located in the back forty. My favorite place to walk while employed out there.

    Agnes Plutino

    September 20, 2012 at 6:33 AM

    • Happy wow to you, too. Some of the lawns in the Perry Ln. neighborhood also had pretty good colonies of rain-lilies, but the one at the intersection by Mopac was still the best.

      I remember when you introduced me to “the back country” at Camp Mabry in 1999, and I went there several times in the spring to photograph the wildflowers near a pond back there. Since 9/11/2001, though, visitors have had a harder time. I drove up to the entry post last year to ask about getting permission to go back there again, but it seemed like it was going to be too difficult and I gave up on the idea.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2012 at 6:55 AM

  3. It looks like they are reaching their little arms up saying, “thank you, thank you for the rain” :).


    September 20, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    • That’s a good interpretation, and I have a close-up scheduled for Saturday that likewise made me think of upraised arms. More than any other wildflower I know, rain-lilies respond within days to a good soaking of the ground, and suddenly they’re there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2012 at 7:08 AM

  4. It is said that Bill Gates, when talking to Business Week, in 1984, uttered these words: “That’s not what the Mac does. I want Mac on the PC, I want Mac on the PC.” (If I recall, Windows was born right after that.)

    So, in a similar vein, “I want scratch and sniff on PC!” 😉


    September 20, 2012 at 7:22 AM

    • I’ve used a Macintosh since 1985, so my first thoughts as I read your comment were literal ones about computers. Not till the last line did I get the tie-in to the flowers. When I visited the predecessor of this rain-lily colony in 2011 a pleasant fragrance wafted over the whole site. This year, even though the rain-lilies were pretty dense, I was surprised not to smell anything at all. I don’t know how to account for the difference.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2012 at 7:30 AM

      • I remembered your mention of their scent, hence my comment. How strange they lack any scent this year.
        ~ L


        September 20, 2012 at 7:47 AM

        • What I don’t know is whether the rain-lilies are lacking in scent this year or whether my olfactory needs to be sent back to the factory for a tune-up.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 20, 2012 at 8:16 AM

          • 😀 Been feeling that one this summer and now into fall! Allergies are really bad this year! Sorry you are suffering too.


            September 20, 2012 at 3:04 PM

  5. These popped up in our pasture also, although never so profuse! It amazes me how quickly these grow after a rain. We call them rain lily or crow poison.


    September 20, 2012 at 7:26 AM

    • I’m glad some popped up in your pasture. Everyone should have some. And yes, it’s remarkable how quickly these flowers spring up after a good rain. As for crow-poison, people in your area may use that name, but it’s actually a different plant in the lily family, Nothoscordum bivalve, also known as false garlic. There’s certainly a similarity, as you can verify. Crow-poison is common in Austin, but somehow I’ve never shown it in this blog. It often has a second growth in the fall, so maybe I’ll still be able to show a picture of it this year.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2012 at 7:39 AM

  6. They are beautiful – truly graceful! And the group photo is fabulous too!


    September 20, 2012 at 7:43 AM

  7. I love these delicate, little flowers. We had rain as well on Sunday, but sadly I haven’t seen any rain lilies since the spring.

    Mind Margins/Run Nature

    September 20, 2012 at 8:00 AM

    • If it were a couple of days earlier I’d suggest making a quick trip down to Austin to see them, but by now the flowers are nearing the end of their life.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2012 at 8:19 AM

      • Ironically, I did see some this morning just down the street from my house. There was an entire front yard full of them! I guess they sprouted from the light rain we had this past Sunday.

        Mind Margins/Run Nature

        September 21, 2012 at 4:13 PM

  8. Wow what a sight to behold!!!


    September 20, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    • Until last fall, a decade had gone by without my seeing a really dense display of rain-lilies. Now I’m happy to have had good displays two years in a row.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2012 at 12:25 PM

  9. A couple of hours ago I saw a very nice stand of these just north of where you took your photo: in the median of the southbound MoPac access road between Far West and 2222 (closer to Far West).


    September 20, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    • I’ve seen those, too, as well as others in the main median of Mopac (which you’d risk your life to get to). I’m glad we’ve had so many this month in that north-central part of town.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2012 at 2:41 PM

  10. These are so pretty! Remind me a little of our flannel flowers which I also adore. Liked.


    September 21, 2012 at 2:07 AM

  11. C’est simplement BEAU!


    September 21, 2012 at 4:07 AM

  12. Lovely little flowers… Hoorah for the rain!


    September 21, 2012 at 9:07 AM

  13. It’s as if they’re opening their mouths to drink!

    Susan Scheid

    September 21, 2012 at 9:50 PM

  14. They are glorious! You have to love a beautiful flower which celebrates rain!


    September 21, 2012 at 10:18 PM

  15. I’m glad to see these here, because we’re still so lacking in rain I haven’t seen any in weeks. There were a few scattered about earlier, but nothing like this. They’re truly beautiful.


    September 22, 2012 at 6:59 AM

    • Until after we finally had three rainy days a week ago, the rain-lilies here had also been sporadic, but then they sprang up wonderfully. I hope it’s not too late for that kind of showing in east Texas—provided you get a cloudburst.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 22, 2012 at 7:10 AM

  16. This is a very beautiful shot Steve! It really pops off the screen!

    Michael Glover

    October 8, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    • Yes it does, and it was a great sight in person. This was the second year in a row that that site fielded a great display.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 9, 2012 at 12:41 PM

  17. […] the season and, until the untimely mowing, brightened the same plot of ground that had produced the dense rain-lilies you saw in September. I didn’t manage to photograph the latest colony before it got […]

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