Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

More density

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Click for better clarity.

Here’s another view of the density of stems and stalks and trunks I saw at McKinney Falls State Park on March 1st. In the foreground, mostly green but with red daubs from its small fruits, is a Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, known as tasajillo and pencil cactus. The light gray and tan stalks farther back are the dried remains of giant ragweed, Ambrosia trifida, and beyond them, barely visible, are bare branches and trunks of various trees. As I said: dense.

The colors of Cylindropuntia leptocaulis‘s fruits and joints have led to the additional vernacular name Christmas cactus. Obviously today isn’t Christmas, but you can apply the green of the cactus to St. Patrick’s Day if you wish. Or you can go back and grab the green from the Lower Falls. There’s no extra charge for the repurposing of either one.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 17, 2013 at 6:20 AM

2 Responses

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  1. […] Okay, one last time: I’m calling March 13th of this year Snail Day at McKinney Falls State Park because I found plenty of snails there that had left the ground and climbed onto various plants. This inch-long snail was clinging to a slender, dry, broken-off stalk. Such a close view provides the best look of the three in this miniseries at the kind of spiral that characterizes these shells. The red patches in the background are from the fruits of a tasajillo cactus. […]

  2. […] like to back away from this closeup and see the kind of thickets that pencil cacti can form, a picture from just over a year earlier will show you; coincidentally, it’s also from McKinney Falls State Park, but a different […]


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