Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Back to my first stop on the Possumhaw Trail

with 6 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Click for better color and greater clarity.

I don’t want you to get all possumhawed out, so although I took plenty of pictures of Ilex decidua on January 19 along Texas Highway 29 between the towns of Bertram and Burnet (and in various other places since then, including as recently as yesterday), I’ll add only one more to the view you saw a month ago. The pale green leaves in the lower left aren’t those of the possumhaw, which by then had lived up to its species name, but of a greenbrier vine, Smilax bona-nox, that had climbed into the tree.

This picture is from the first of my three stops along the highway that afternoon. While I was walking back to my car, a man who lived in the nearby house and who’d seen me taking pictures came up to me and said hello. It turned out that he didn’t know what kind of tree it was that had caught my attention at the fence separating his property from a railroad right-of-way, so I told him it was a possumhaw. That’s a strange word—I hardly needed to tell you that again—and the man had trouble understanding what I said. I repeated the word a couple of times but I could tell that he still didn’t get it. Then I tried to help him out by saying that the haw is the same haw that’s in hawthorn, which unfortunately led him to think that the tree is a possumhawth. I said the name slowly one more time as I left, but I’m not sure he ever got it. I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t have to try to get nonagonal and drupe across to him, too.

If you’re interested in photography as a craft, you’ll find that points 1, 3, 9 and especially 18 in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 2, 2013 at 6:20 AM

6 Responses

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  1. I do love possumhaw, but I love your story even more. It sounds to me like “gee and haw” might have been a better approach. Either that, or a suggestion of a response to a really funny oppossum – “Possum! Ha!”

    Happy Texas Independence Day!


    March 2, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    • If I could go back in my time machine I’d try your suggestions.
      I’d forgotten that it ‘s Texas Independence Day. Even today, though, I don’t think we’re independent of our blogs.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 2, 2013 at 9:04 AM

  2. C’est vraiment un arbre magnifique et il est si lumineux. Je suis allée voir tes conseils photographiques et de temps en temps j’irai m’y référer. Merci Steve.
    J’ai essayé d’imaginer ce qui courait dans la tête de la personne à qui tu expliquais que tu photographiais un Possumhaw… et j’ai bien ri!
    bon dimanche


    March 2, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    • J’adore cette espèce d’arbre et je continue à la photographier. Je suis content que l’histoire de l’homme et le possumhaw t’ait fair rire. Bon weekend: ici il fait du soleil.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 2, 2013 at 1:12 PM

  3. I have always loved the possumhaw and regret that we have nothing like it up here on the Arctic Circle.


    March 3, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    • I imagine there are lots of colorful things that don’t make it as far north as the Arctic Circle, but one colorful thing you do have that’s lacking in Texas is the Aurora Borealis.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 3, 2013 at 11:32 PM

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