Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Purple three-awn

with 9 comments

Purple Three-Awn Grass Seed Heads Blowing 6445

Click for greater clarity and size.

Here’s another first for these pages: the native grass known as purple three-awn, Aristida purpurea, which has been more abundant this spring than I recall ever seeing it. (An awn, by the way, has nothing to do with an awning, but is a bristle-like appendage found in various grasses.)

This view shows a piece of the Blackland Prairie on the northeast corner of Wells Branch Parkway and 10th St. in Pflugerville as it looked on May 13th. Wind is the breath of the prairie.

To see the many places in North America where purple three-awn grows, you can check the state-clickable map at the USDA website.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 4, 2013 at 6:18 AM

9 Responses

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  1. Nice image. I would love to see what effect a slower shutter speed would have had on this image.

  2. So lovely. I’m sure this is one of the grasses I like so much in the Kerrville area. I’ll be up there this month so I’ll have a look around and see if I can find it.


    June 4, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    • It is lovely. I’ve shown it largely in isolation here, but clumps of it make a nice addition to a dense colony of wildflowers. Purple three-awn has been reported in Kerr County, so you’re likely to see some there or on your way there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2013 at 7:51 PM

  3. Je suis une adepte des graminées, j’adore!


    June 5, 2013 at 4:38 AM

  4. Purple three-awn is a beautiful grass. I was driving down I-30 from Arlington to Ft. Worth a couple weeks ago and the medians and shoulder areas were filled with it. It does seems like there’s more this year than I’ve seen in years past. I love the way grasses undulate when the breezes catch them.


    June 6, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    • I’m glad to have your report that purple three-awn has been having as good a year 200 miles north of Austin as it’s been having here. Like you, I’m enchanted by the undulation of grasses; purple three awn has an advantage on that score because its inherent behavior is to arc over, even when there’s no wind.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 6, 2013 at 1:04 PM

  5. […] One more thing I saw at the Blunn Creek Nature Preserve on June 13—and that I’d been seeing in many other places around Austin—was Texas bindweed, Convolvulus equitans. After you’ve gazed at the pretty little flower, notice how weirdly shaped the leaves of this species of vine are. Also notice that three ants were attracted to the flower (you may have to click the photograph to see the two ants inside the reddish funnel). The grass appears to be a dry stage of the purple three-awn that you saw last month. […]

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