Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Still more red and green

with 17 comments

It’s been over a year since I posted a new picture of a Turk’s cap, Malvaviscus aroboreus, but that wildflower’s rich red against the bright green of its stalk and the duller green of the surrounding woods in Great Hills Park seems like an appropriate color combination for a post-December-25th post (though the picture is from October 15th*).

Note the slender insect at the left edge of the flower. Notice also the tiny granules near the tip of the staminate column, which remind me of caviar or minuscule pearls. It’s hard to see those granules, but you can click the icon below for a magnified view. You’ll also be able to get a better look at the little red “sea anemones” at the tip of the column.

Turk's Cap Flower 0215A

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman


* I wasn’t aware of October 15th having any significance, but the historyorb website lists things that happened on that date in various years. Some October 15th events are:

533  —  Byzantine general Belisarius formally enters Carthage, having conquered it from the Vandals.
1520 — King Henry VIII of England orders bowling lanes at Whitehall.
1582 — Many Catholic countries switch to Gregorian calendar, skip 10 days.
1860 — 11-year-old Grace Bedell writes to Lincoln, tells him to grow a beard.
1880 — Köln cathedral is completed, 633 years after it had begun.
1905 — Claude Debussy’s “La Mer” premieres.
1924 — Pres. Calvin Coolidge declares the Statue of Liberty a national monument.
2012 — Steve Schwartzman photographs a Turk’s cap flower in Great Hills Park in Austin, Texas.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 27, 2012 at 6:14 AM

17 Responses

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  1. I’m so glad you included the closeup of the staminate column. The detail in the photo is amazing!


    December 27, 2012 at 7:17 AM

    • I was pleased with my lens’s ability to resolve all that fine detail. Thanks for letting me know you appreciated it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 27, 2012 at 7:57 AM

  2. Am I laughing? Oh yes! That list of important historical events is great. All are significant, of course, but I think I’d put your Turk’s Cap photo above Whitehall bowling, Belisarius’ triumphal entry and Miss Bedell’s letter to Lincoln.

    I’ve not given much thought to New Year’s resolutions yet, but the minute I saw this photo one came to mind: “Look more carefully”. This is an amazing photo. I can’t get over all the things going on at the end of that column. I’ve learned to recognize Turk’s Cap, and I look at it when I come across it – but I’ve never seen all that. I remember old engravings of explorers and scientists out in the field with hand-held magnifying glasses. Now it makes sense.


    December 27, 2012 at 7:45 AM

    • Happy laughter to you. I was going to add that Belisarius committed his own act of vandalism by entering Carthage and displacing the Vandals, but I figured enough was already enough without the extra wordplay.

      My macro lens has allowed me to see lots of things I wouldn’t have known were there, so much so that I’ve fantasized photographing through a microscope. As you mentioned (but I’ll move into the present time), some of the native plant people I know carry a pocket lens with them so they can appreciate fine details when they’re out in the field. Sometimes those fine details are the only things that distinguish one species from a similar one. In Austin, however, there’s no other flower that looks like Turk’s cap, so identification is immediate; it sounds like the same is true for you near the coast.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 27, 2012 at 8:16 AM

      • I’ve just come across a tidbit related to your timeline. As it turns out, many in the Orthodox churches still use the Julian calendar to calculate ecclesiastical dates. I had no idea. Not only that – I just had another wonderful laugh at the possibilities available to the modern sort on sites like this. Need a Julian google gadget? iPhone or android app? They’ve got you covered! Amazing.


        December 27, 2012 at 10:48 PM

        • More laughter as ancient meets modern in the world of the smart phone: what’ll they think of next?

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 27, 2012 at 11:53 PM

  3. Wow! amazing pictures, details are so fine and I love tiny pearls. Thanks for sharing Steve


    December 27, 2012 at 2:47 PM

  4. Turks cap is a great flower to attract hummingbirds. And once it is established, the birds will move it around. You should photograph the fruit next if you have not done so previously.


    December 27, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    • I have photographed the fruit (and even tasted it) but haven’t yet shown a picture. One of these days.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 27, 2012 at 11:46 PM

  5. Gorgeous!


    December 27, 2012 at 10:43 PM

  6. Congralutations ! Your photo is magnificent !


    January 10, 2013 at 1:43 PM

  7. That’s more like a sculpture than a flower! How amazing.


    July 31, 2017 at 9:57 AM

    • Think of the extent to which nature has inspired artists, especially in Art Nouveau. We have a couple of Turk’s cap bushes planted in our yard, and many more grow wild in the neighborhood nature park where I photographed the flower in this post.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 31, 2017 at 10:13 AM

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