Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Standing cypress flower fallen but still standing

with 9 comments

Standing Cypress Flower Fallen But Still Standing 4024

From my standing height I looked down at the ground and saw a standing cypress flower, which I didn’t understand and somehow thought was sprouting. But that’s not how Ipomopsis rubra grows, and when I got low and close I saw the truth of the matter: this flower had fallen from a standing cypress plant but was still standing, at least if you make an allowance for the fact that it didn’t touch the ground.

My misunderstanding followed by understanding took place at the Blunn Creek Nature Preserve in south Austin on June 13. Today’s photograph gives you the closest look yet at an individual flower of this species, which is also known as Texas plume and red Texas star.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 29, 2013 at 6:17 AM

9 Responses

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  1. I know about suspended animation, but this is the first time I’ve seen suspended desiccation. It’s quite beautiful!


    June 29, 2013 at 7:08 AM

    • I like your takeoff on suspended animation: suspended desiccation.

      The lower portion of the flower makes me see the tail of some slender and fantastic bird.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 29, 2013 at 7:16 AM

  2. The flower is gorgeous, this is the first time I have seen a standing Cypress Flower. I am assuming it is a real source of nectar for birds.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    June 29, 2013 at 7:36 AM

    • From what I’ve heard, tubular red flowers like these are especially appealing to hummingbirds, whose long beaks and tongues can reach way down to the nectar.

      Standing cypress grows only in the eastern half of the country, so I’m afraid you won’t see any in Seattle, but let’s hope your treks put you in range of some.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 29, 2013 at 7:48 AM

  3. That is one beautiful image, and I thought that you surely used props or some ‘trick’ to photograph it that way. What a keen eye you have!

    • As a painter you can appreciate things like this, Lisa. What you see here is the unaltered reality that I saw, at least after I got down on the ground and held my camera as low as possible to aim horizontally. The contortions I go through for some pictures make me wish the rest of my body were as keen as my eye.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 29, 2013 at 8:19 AM

      • I understand totally and appreciated the vantage point! When I was belly to the sand to catch the best view of a sea turtle dropping her eggs into the hole, my reward was a face full of sand — not that bad, but of course my camera suffered as well! It was worth it!

        Painting designs on floors has helped me stay limber! For that I am grateful, especially when a younger person is helping, and then groans when he/she tries to stand up!

        • I haven’t (yet) had a face full of beach sand, but a few decades ago in California I had my camera equipment attacked by a rogue wave. More power to you (literally and figuratively) if painting designs on floors has kept your limbs limber. I sometimes stand up slowly and deliberately now to ease the transition.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 29, 2013 at 8:41 AM

          • yes, i ‘shadow’ the female turtles when they return to the ocean but give them respect. when the hatchlings emerge i usually follow to ‘thigh’ deep and am always fearful of that kind of casualty. that would hurt…

            once a biologist and i watched a ‘runt’ struggle to reach the ocean, then it kept getting pushed back by waves. we pulled for it so hard, and eventually it made progress and started swimming! of course i was there w/camera and cheering all the way, as was ‘jeff’ the biologist.

            after the baby turtle vanished (all alone) into the depths of the ocean, we spotted a female turtle not far away. i truly think she was waiting for it! it touched jeff and me greatly.

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