Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Blue-eyed grass: a different look

with 24 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Click for greater clarity.

And here’s a blue-eyed grass flower that a spider had mostly sewn up. If you click the image for better clarity, you can see some spider threads holding the folded tepals together.

Date: March 29, 2013.  Location: the Mueller Greenway in east-central Austin.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 14, 2013 at 12:58 PM

24 Responses

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  1. Very interesting! Great! 🙂


    April 14, 2013 at 1:54 PM

  2. This image is a favorite of mine of your work. Mainly, it pulls me into its mystery, even its deceit. Reminds me of a children’s game where there are similar folding layers. Each one reveals a secret or number. In this case we will get to see the “eye” of the flower, which has its own charm.


    April 14, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    • Thanks for letting me know, Sally, that you find a mystery here that draws you in. I think I remember the kind of children’s game you’re referring to. My main game these days is playing with a camera, which sometimes offers up its own revelations.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 14, 2013 at 4:35 PM

  3. Absolutely over-the-top gorgeous.


    April 14, 2013 at 5:06 PM

  4. Really *does* look stitched together!


    April 14, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    • It does. Spiders are among the great seamsters and seamstresses of nature, and I often find evidence of their craft.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 14, 2013 at 10:36 PM

  5. Unusual and such a beautiful saturation of color; wonderful, Steve!


    April 14, 2013 at 10:08 PM

  6. That’s a beautiful look too!


    April 14, 2013 at 11:24 PM

  7. But why? Or is that left to us to ponder? I don’t think I will ever forget such an image. Amazing photo you share.


    April 15, 2013 at 6:07 AM

    • In at least some cases, and maybe in most, the spider is making a shelter for itself. Joe Lapp referred to the structure in this picture as “definitely a spider condo.” Another possibility is mentioned in the next comment. In any case, I’m pleased that this image will stay with you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 15, 2013 at 7:51 AM

  8. I suspect it’s worth noting that one petal remained “unstitched” . I can’t help remembering the childhood verse: “Come into my chamber, said the spider to the fly.” That unstitched petal may be an “open” invitation!


    April 15, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    • You raise a good question, and I don’t know if the one tepal was left unfolded on purpose or if the picture shows a stage in which the spider hadn’t finished its work yet. One thing is sure: the unfolded tepal was an open invitation for your speculation.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 15, 2013 at 8:01 AM

      • Ah – thanks for the reminder to refresh myself on tepal/petal. 😉


        April 15, 2013 at 8:02 AM

        • I’m not always sure, either, but when I have to say something in a post I turn to my field guides to find out whether a certain structure is a petal, sepal, or tepal.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 15, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    • That is an excellent question. I don’t have an answer. Sometimes jumping spiders will fold petals to make a home, but they do not hang around waiting for prey to come to them. Instead, they go out hunting and expect home to be their place of safety. I don’t know whether crab spiders intentionally leave some petals unfurled. I’ll be thinking about this question every time I see this happen.

      Spider Joe

      April 15, 2013 at 8:40 AM

      • Thanks for pondering this, Joe. Maybe you’ll luck out and be around a situation like this long enough to find out whether the spider leaves “an open invitation.”

        Steve Schwartzman

        April 15, 2013 at 9:11 AM

  9. What an interesting photo with all that rich purple and the amazing scene of a spider sewing the flower shut. I’ve never seen anything like this before. Thank you for providing it.

    Mary Mageau

    April 16, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    • You’re welcome, and I’ll grant you it’s an eye-catcher. Sewn-up and folded-up flowers and leaves aren’t as rare as you might think; since I became aware of them, I keep coming across them every now and then.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 16, 2013 at 11:13 PM

  10. I could spend the rest of the night looking at all your pictures. I think you have the best I’ve seen on the Internet.

    Russel Ray Photos

    June 17, 2013 at 8:34 PM

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