Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Greenthread bud before (in both senses) a flower

with 26 comments

Greenthread Bud by Flower Head 9783

Click for greater clarity.

By mid-February I was already seeing increasing numbers of greenthreads, Thelesperma filifolium, flowering along Mopac and in other places around town. On February 26th I photographed this bud not too far in front of a flower head of the same species that had already opened. The plants were on a steep bank of Shoal Creek, and I had to reposition myself several times as gravity kept pulling me down the 45° slope I lay on. (And with that mention of gravity, there slid into my mind the question of whether any plants have been named after Isaac Newton. I did some searching and found that there is indeed a genus Newtonia in Africa, but I can’t tell if it was named after the same Newton.)

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 13, 2013 at 6:20 AM

26 Responses

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  1. Looks like an apparition floating behind the bud!

    Bonnie Michelle

    March 13, 2013 at 6:44 AM

  2. It looks like a cross between a spacecraft and a tomatillo. As for Newton – the flower can be found in Jasper, Texas, which happens to be in Newton county. But, it doesn’t reach quite so far north as Newton, Iowa, which happens to be in Jasper County. (I was born in Newton, Iowa, so when I discovered Jasper, Texas and realized the interesting reversal, I took note. Not far over the state line into Louisiana, there’s also the town of Iowa. I suspect I know where at least some settlers hailed from.)


    March 13, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    • From an apparition to a cross between a spacecraft and a tomatillo: great imagination. And that’s quite a reversal of Jaspers and Newtons you’ve pointed out. (I spent a little time near Jasper, Texas, a few springs ago and photographed some native Texas azaleas.) Now I have to wonder if Fig Newtons comes in a tomatillo variety. And it occurs to me that you can say: “I owe a lot to my home state.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 13, 2013 at 7:20 AM

  3. LOL!! The things we will do for a great photo right? What an incredible effect you captured there :).


    March 13, 2013 at 7:46 AM

    • Ah, yes, the things we do for the sake of a photograph. My body has come away with many souvenirs in addition to the pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 13, 2013 at 7:53 AM

  4. Love your word play. Love your pictures more, but your sense of fun with the language is a nice bonus.


    March 13, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    • Thank you. I have fun with the visual and the verbal. There’s no extra charge for the bonus.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 13, 2013 at 2:41 PM

  5. Lovely capture–really a beauty.


    March 13, 2013 at 8:49 AM

  6. Nice! I like the “sun”, interesting effect..


    March 13, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    • For someone living in Norway, you must appreciate the sun in ways that we who are in warm regions can’t imagine. Happy floral sun to you up there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 13, 2013 at 2:43 PM

  7. I do not know what it is but I find it wonderful, very beautiful photo


    March 14, 2013 at 6:32 AM

  8. Newtonia in the pea family was named in 1888 for Isaac Newton “plus grand savant d’Angleterre”. (Four years later another botanist gave the same name to a genus (also African) in the sunflower family, in honor of Francis Xavier Oakley de Aguiar Newton, a British-born Portuguese plant collector.)

    David Hollombe

    March 14, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    • Thanks for answering my question about Newtonia in the pea family and confirming that there is indeed a genus named for the famous mathematician and physicist. It seems the second namer was unaware of the first, something that was a lot more understandable in 1892 than today.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 14, 2013 at 1:47 PM

  9. Beautiful as always. As I prepare to go out into this beautiful Austin day I wonder if any of the current visitors understand that being cool isn’t what Austin is about or why we are here. Music, yes, but on a different scale but I think the beauty that is threaded through our everyday lives is a greater reason for those of us that live here to be here than all the hoopla that Austinites usually try to avoid. Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful photos. They often remind me not only to “stop and smell the “roses” but to stop and look closer at our wildflowers, their lessons would help us all to learn to go beyond the struggles of the everyday (the heat the droughts and so on) but instead of wilting away from these struggles bring beauty into this world. Thanks again got the photos.

    “Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth… Tame the dragon and the gift is yours.” Noela Evans

    “We’re our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.” Tom Robbins

    Love & Peace




    March 14, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    • You’re welcome. There’s no end of things to see in nature in Austin, and I’m happy to show some of them here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 14, 2013 at 2:45 PM

  10. Some really beautiful images over the last few posts Steve. Great stuff!

    Brian Comeau

    March 18, 2013 at 7:44 PM

  11. This is a far out photograph. I love it!


    March 26, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    • Thanks. The expression “far out” may date you to the same formative era as me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 26, 2013 at 5:17 PM

      • I know as I started photography when I was in Okinawa way back when. 🙂


        March 26, 2013 at 7:33 PM

  12. […] yellow flowers are greenthread, Thelesperma filifolium, which were in their right mind, which is to say their right season […]

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