Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Cedar sage when there shouldn’t have been any

with 16 comments

Click for greater size and clarity.

On October 27th, as Eve and I were walking in the Bull Creek Preserve, she pointed out some fresh leaves of cedar sage, Salvia roemeriana. In Austin this perennial normally blooms in the spring, or occasionally into the early summer, but as we kept walking we saw more and more plants, and soon even some that were putting out flowers. I’ve never seen cedar sage flowers at the end of October, which is supposed to be at least three months too late, but there they were. How many times have I reported that 2012 has been a strange year? Now I’m saying it again. While I’m at it, I might as well point out that today’s post marks yet another species début for this blog, which has had many in 2012.

In the United States this species is found only in Texas, and then only in a band of counties stretching from Brewster in the Trans-Pecos to Bell at the eastern edge of central Texas.

For those of you who are interested in photography as a craft, points 1, 2 and 4 in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph. In particular, the dark background is due to the shaded portions of some Ashe juniper trees, known locally as cedars, beneath or close to which the appropriately named cedar sage likes to grow.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 16, 2012 at 6:15 AM

16 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I’m in east Texas and some of my Cedar Sage surprised me with blooms as well. I have a few in bloom right now in fact. Very unusual.

    Cindy Hoyt

    November 16, 2012 at 6:49 AM

    • It certainly is. Thanks for your report from east Texas. Your cedar sages and mine seem to have coordinated their fall blooming even though they’re a couple of hundred miles apart.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 16, 2012 at 7:27 AM

  2. Beautiful photograph with black background which makes the plant and its blooms stand out.


    November 16, 2012 at 7:29 AM

    • Thanks, Yvonne. I often move about to line up my subject against a dark background for the reason you mentioned, to isolate that subject. I’ll agree that it worked well here, producing a picture of rich red and green against the black.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 16, 2012 at 7:38 AM

  3. I enjoy your blog very much. I learn something new all the time. Keep up the good work!!!

    Agnes Plutino

    November 16, 2012 at 8:28 AM

  4. Deine Naturfotos faszinieren mich immer wieder!!


    November 16, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    • Mathilda says that my nature photos fascinate her more and more. I’ll take fascination as a good thing, so thanks.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 16, 2012 at 11:04 AM

  5. Slowly, I’m coming to realize something about these Texas-only flowers – they’re wonderful entry points to Texas history. Salvia roemeriana?. Meet Ferdinand Roemer, geologist, botanist and generally curious guy.

    Has anyone ever published a book of Texas-only wildflowers, combined with a history of Texas and the people who originally categorized them? That seems like a good idea….


    November 16, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    • Thanks for the link describing Roemer’s book. You’re right that some of these species names refer to people who did much of the early botanizing in Texas. The next time you visit New Braunfels, you can visit the house of Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer, for whom various species are named. A lot of these early plant collectors were German; in addition to Roemer and Lindheimer, there was Georg[e] Englemann.

      I don’t know if anyone has published a book showing only Texas endemics. I like the idea, and I’m fascinated by the connection between history and botany that you mentioned, but I’m afraid that today’s climate in the publishing world would make it difficult for the prospective author of that book to find a publisher. On the other hand, if the would-be author could dig up enough scandals involving some of those historical figures, a publisher might jump at it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 16, 2012 at 1:14 PM

  6. How pretty and unexpected this time of year!


    November 16, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    • I’d planned to show a picture of this wildflower back in the spring, but I kept postponing it, and then the normal season passed. This was a second (and unexpected) chance.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 17, 2012 at 6:14 AM

  7. Steve, you have shared another superb photo with the world. Well done!!!


    November 17, 2012 at 2:24 PM

  8. […] prodigy in Great Hills Park, was either half a year late or two months early. Last fall I reported another out-of-whack occurrence of these flowers, so maybe cedar sage is more of an all-season opportunist than people thought. Or maybe this is a […]

  9. […] Many of his observations are memorialized in the scientific names of Texas wildflowers, such as cedar sage (Salvia roemeriana), sensitive briar (Mimosa roemeriana), and two-leafed senna (Senna […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: