Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Spring’s here

with 15 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Click for greater clarity.

In contrast to yesterday’s yesteryear pictures of snow, today’s photograph wants to tell you that spring is making its way into Austin. The temperature here got up to around 82°F (28°C) on February 7, which is when I photographed these buds on an agarita bush, Berberis trifoliolata. For several years I’ve been aware of this shrub’s location on some undeveloped land in my neighborhood, so I went to check it out and wasn’t disappointed.

Agarita is one of those species that botanists like to describe as “well defended.” Imagine a world where people’s knees, elbows, fingers, toes, chins, and noses were as sharp as an agarita’s leaflet tips. Or maybe don’t.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 10, 2013 at 6:00 AM

15 Responses

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  1. Beautiful image! And now I know what those bushes are, thanks! It does seem that spring is indeed here.

    Alex Autin

    February 10, 2013 at 6:49 AM

    • Thanks. I’m glad to have given you a name to attach to this species of bush, which it’s clear you’ve seen around San Antonio.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 10, 2013 at 7:12 AM

  2. The beautiful old (at least 30 years old and probably much older) Agarita at the corner of my property succumbed to the machetes/saws/ whatever of the Williamson County Surveyors looking for a property pin this past fall. I wish I knew what they were planning on doing. I could have told them where the pin was. There is a bit left on the property to the south of mine so I’m hoping it will survive and perhaps even resprout on my side again. Only time will tell…


    February 10, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    • Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, Agnes. First mowers and then surveyors. Let’s hope the part surviving on your neighbor’s land flourishes. And it wouldn’t hurt for you to gather some fruit from the wild to reseed your property.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 10, 2013 at 7:57 AM

  3. Oh, yum! That agarita’s not so well-defended that it can dissuade a few intrepid women I know from gathering its fruit to make jelly. No, not me – I’ll leave the berry-picking to others. My job is to work in the kitchen and make appreciative noises when the sampling starts. 😉


    February 10, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    • A few years ago a must-have-been-intrepid friend of ours in Mason gave us a jar of agarita jelly she’d made. It was indeed yummy. Like you, when it comes to agarita I’d rather be on the receiving end of the jelly-making process, but my skin has paid the agarita price for some of my close-up photos of it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 10, 2013 at 8:56 AM

  4. Changement d’atmosphère, superbe macro. J’aime beaucoup les berberis ils sont beaux en toute saison.
    bonne dimanche Steve


    February 10, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    • It’s definitely a change from the last two posts. And the weather here has changed, too: yesterday and today we’ve had gray skies and occasional drizzle, but we’re grateful for any rain we can get. The coming wildflowers will be, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 10, 2013 at 8:53 AM

  5. Beatiful photo of the agarita. Love this plant and I still have not found one in a nursery. Quite a few in western part of my county.


    February 10, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    • Good luck in finding one at a nursery. Or maybe you can persuade someone in the western part of your county to let you transplant a small one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 10, 2013 at 10:12 PM

      • You can order them online from Yucca Do Nursery, Inc., a great source of drought and heat-tolerant plants. Yuccado.com. They’re in south Texas somewhere.


        February 11, 2013 at 12:10 PM

  6. Spring has sprung and what better way to delight us than with this striking photo. Think of us here in the Southern Hemisphere bringing out the colder weather clothes to prepare for winter’s arrival in late May.

    Mary Mageau

    February 11, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    • Yes, we live in upside-down worlds from one another. I’m relieved that, whatever your perspective, you found this photo to your liking.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 11, 2013 at 6:16 PM

  7. […] to make its presence felt in Austin, as you saw from the last two posts and earlier ones of agarita buds and elbowbush flowers, the dried-out remains of last year’s plants still predominate. […]

  8. […] on February 7 when I’d almost left the undeveloped property where I’d found a budding agarita. The prickly pear was in a hard place to photograph and was partly shaded by a tree, but I found a […]

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