Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Even shriveling becomes them

with 15 comments

Pink Evening Primrose Flower Shriveled 3616

Yes, even shriveling becomes them—pink evening primrose flowers, that is, which don’t last long.

The oeno that begins the botanical name Oenothera speciosa is the Greek word for wine, but only in this withered state does the pink in these wildflowers turn the color of wine.

Date: March 21.  Place: the Blackland Prairie in far northeastern Austin.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 18, 2013 at 6:22 AM

15 Responses

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  1. Is it possible to take a bad photo of this flower??? I’ve never seen one (a bad photo, that is). This is beautiful.


    April 18, 2013 at 6:30 AM

    • I’m glad that you appreciate this view, Ken. I think I’m on solid ground in saying that shriveled flowers aren’t to everyone’s taste (and a psychologist might say the dislike comes from being reminded of our mortality), but I’ve often been fascinated by the shapes and colors that withering or dead plants take on. As for bad photos, whether of this species or others, I’ve taken my share, but I do my best to weed them out and not show them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 18, 2013 at 6:59 AM

  2. Your lovely pink evening primrose makes me think of an upside-down crinkle cut or broomstick skirt…

    Barbara Rodgers

    April 18, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    • Maybe you’ll be inspired to make a skirt resembling this flower. If you do, be sure to send a picture.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 18, 2013 at 11:17 AM

  3. Reminds me of a sherbet ice cream cone :-). Lovely capture

    Tina Schell

    April 18, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    • I’ve read that the plant’s young leaves are edible, but I’m pretty sure they don’t taste like sherbet, so I think you’ll join me in saying “I’d rather see than eat one.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 18, 2013 at 2:58 PM

  4. I see crepe paper, a staple of my childhood. Not only that, the flower looks exactly like the “crepe paper skin” one of my aunts had as she aged.

    The scientific name and the reference to wine made me wonder about that other Texas flower, the winecup. No reference to wine there. The scientific name for the standing winecups you’ve shown is Callirhoe pedata and the equally familiar low-grower is Callirhoe involucrata. They’re all pretty.


    April 19, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    • I can see crepe paper now that you mention it; in fact that’s an excellent description. When it comes to one of your aunts’ skin, I’ll have to take your word for it.

      It was apparently Thomas Nuttall who chose the name Callirhoe for the genus that includes the winecups. There were a bunch of Callirhoes in Greek mythology, but it’s not clear which one Nuttall had in mind and what the connection was supposed to be.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 19, 2013 at 10:53 AM

  5. Loved going through your work! Looking forward to seeing more in the future!

  6. I noticed this on our little weekend jaunt–and I hope that, like the evening primrose, as I age it will be my beauty that intensifies, even while I desiccate and shrivel!


    April 21, 2013 at 8:51 PM

  7. Oooh, yes. Like a grandmother.

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