Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

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with 22 comments

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In some plant species, the buds in a spike open into flowers at the end of the spike first and proceed toward the base. For other species the reverse is true. In the previous post, which showed you some kidneywood flowers, you may have noticed that a few of the flowers near the base looked as if they were just beginning to turn yellow and wilt, while those above were fresh. The implication is that kidneywood buds begin opening at the base of the spike and proceed upwards, and this new picture that shows partly open buds above fully open flowers is evidence of it.

While making that point, I’ve given you the bonus of a Mitoura grynea, known as a juniper hairstreak or olive hairstreak butterfly. Notice how the false antennae at the butterfly’s rear act as a decoy: better to lose a chunk of hind wing to a predator and still be able to fly away than to have your head bitten off.

This photograph is from September 6 in the Bull Creek greenbelt.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 22, 2012 at 6:14 AM

22 Responses

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  1. Das Foto ist wunderschön!!


    October 22, 2012 at 6:18 AM

  2. Love how you captured the striping of the antenna as well as the legs!

    Bonnie Michelle

    October 22, 2012 at 7:05 AM

    • I was drawn to the antennae but hadn’t paid attention to the legs. In both cases, I wonder if the alternating colors serve any purpose. Now that I’m at it, I could ask the same thing about the patterns on the wings.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 22, 2012 at 7:18 AM

  3. It’s never occurred to me that flowers could begin to open at the end of a spike and work backwards. Yet another fun fact to enjoy. As for those false antennae – good for the butterfly. I’ve had my head bitten off a time or two, and I’d much rather have my rear end chewed. 😉


    October 22, 2012 at 7:33 AM

    • Now you’ve got me wondering if there are any flower spikes that begin opening in the middle and proceed in both directions simultaneously, or any spikes where all the flowers open at the same time.

      Your last sentence is a gem.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 22, 2012 at 7:42 AM

  4. A perfect pose, well captured.

    Journey Photographic

    October 22, 2012 at 8:10 AM

    • Thank you. The butterfly kept moving, so I took a bunch of pictures to increase the likelihood of having some that would turn out acceptably or well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 22, 2012 at 8:17 AM

  5. I like thie photo with the butterfly feeding. Do you know most of the butterflies or do you need a guide? And if so, what guide are you using- field or Internet? (name of site for the best one)?

    I am having difficulty identifying butterflies. I never learned them in the way that I learned birds which pretty much came easy for me. I posed lots of butterflies pics last year when I was blogging on my daughter’s web site and I labeled them as monarchs when in fact I think they are all queens. I have yet to correct them


    October 22, 2012 at 2:12 PM

  6. What a magnificent photo of the olive hairstreak butterfly. Even the tiny individual hairs on its wings are clearly visible.

    mary mageau

    October 22, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    • One of the joys of macro photography is all the small details it reveals. Glad you like it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 22, 2012 at 8:01 PM

  7. What a beautiful portrait in such subtle colors – thanks for sharing this, Steve.


    October 22, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    • You’re welcome, Lynn. The olive hairstreak butterfly was one of the first I became familiar with, back in 1999. I’ve found them to be less skittish than many other species, and therefore they’ve provided me with lots of picture opportunities over the years.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 22, 2012 at 9:41 PM

  8. gorgeous photograph


    October 29, 2012 at 10:46 AM

  9. High quality photograph. Thanks for posting. 🙂

    Margaret Lynette Sharp

    October 30, 2012 at 4:42 AM

  10. I only recently discovered a hairstreak butterfly myself and was able to identify it online. I’d never seen such a thing before. I thought it was a mutant of some sort at first. Fascinating nature.


    November 18, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    • The olive hairstreak was one of the first local butterflies I learned to recognize, and in the process of identification I found out about the false antennae that serve as a decoy. It’s fascinating, as you said.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 18, 2012 at 5:35 PM

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