Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Cedar sage flowering in January

with 13 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Click for greater clarity.

Yes, the title says it all: cedar sage flowering in January.

Well no, it doesn’t really say it all, because the rules of high botanical blogdom compel me to tell you that the scientific name for this wildflower is Salvia roemeriana, and what makes the picture unusual is that this species normally blooms from March through July. So yesterday, January 18, when I found this 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 mutant strain that’s about to take over the world. But before it does, let me quickly point out that in the background, out of focus, is another cedar sage whose flowers had already gone to seed, and that the blue came from small patches of sky that were visible through the trees as I lay on the ground and aimed partly upward to photograph this low-growing wildflower.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 19, 2013 at 6:23 AM

13 Responses

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  1. Wonderful color of the sage. Do you think that global warming is having an effect on the plants?


    January 19, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    • I’ve read that some species are extending their range northward, presumably because of warmer temperatures. As I reported in several posts a year ago, when we had what I’ve been calling a winter without winter, various native species that normally appear in the spring were coming up and flowering in January and February.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 19, 2013 at 10:14 AM

  2. Beautiful color!


    January 19, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    • Thank you. The colors definitely appealed to me, as did the non-traditional composition of the photograph (after cropping).

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 19, 2013 at 10:16 AM

  3. Contemplating a beautiful flower is rewarding any time of year. Considering the odd weather that produces such beauties out of sync is not so calming.

    This is a beautiful shot. I particularly like how the background softens the view.


    January 19, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    • One of the advantages of living in Austin is that even in the bleakest part of winter we still have at least some wildflowers. As is often true for me, the background is what appeals to me in this picture. My imagination keeps seeing the cedar sage in the background as a very slender green person reaching out with short tan arms. (And I can’t help thinking about those brooms carrying buckets of water in Walt Disney’s Fantasia.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 19, 2013 at 10:46 AM

  4. I adore your photos and this photo is magnificent !


    January 19, 2013 at 10:55 AM

  5. Great photo, especially the red against blue contrast.

    Marvin Smith

    January 19, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    • Thanks. When I saw small patches of sky through the trees I scrunched my head down low enough that I could aim upward and include some of that blue.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 19, 2013 at 12:34 PM

  6. Sure is nice color! Interesting time for it to bloom.


    January 19, 2013 at 9:39 PM

  7. […] I was in Great Hills Park two days ago, on January 18th, the cedar sage flowers I found were way out of their normal season. A bit late, but not much, was this leaf of a rattan vine, […]

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