Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A closer view of cynanchum

with 20 comments

Three Cynanchum Flowers 8205

Click for greater clarity and size.

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, here’s a close look at three Cynanchum barbigerum flowers, each of which is only about 1/8 of an inch (3mm) long. Can you see the little white “beards”—clicking the image helps—implied by the species name barbigerum and the colloquial name bearded swallow-wort? Note the strongly recurved corolla lobes that seem more like mustaches than beards; you can count five on each flower because milkweeds do things in fives.

This picture once again comes from a July 3rd jaunt through the Bull Creek Nature Preserve, and in fact these flowers were on the same vine that you saw in the last photograph. Obviously this time I didn’t aim upward into the blue sky but sideways toward something dark, probably a group of shaded Ashe juniper trees.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 24, 2013 at 6:21 AM

20 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Beautiful. Love the fuzzy part of the flowers.

    Lisa Vankula-Donovan

    July 24, 2013 at 6:47 AM

    • I’d say that that fuzziness compensates for the flowers’ tininess. Now you’ve got me wondering whether those little hairs serve a purpose.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 24, 2013 at 7:13 AM

  2. The dark background is especially lovely in this image.

    Mufidah Kassalias

    July 24, 2013 at 8:25 AM

  3. Nice view of the finer details, Steve.

    Steve Gingold

    July 24, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    • The vine’s delicacy calls for a closer look at the fine details, so I felt I should provide it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 24, 2013 at 1:44 PM

  4. Fantastic shot! I love your choice of depth of field, and the background is perfect for this image. Cheers!!


    July 25, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    • Thanks. I felt fortunate at such close range to manage to get the fuzzy parts of all three flowers in focus simultaneously.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 25, 2013 at 8:41 PM

  5. This truly is amazing. I have a pretty little ladybug I found dead on a leaf. She’s perfect, except for being dead, of course. She’s about 3/16″ long – bigger than these blooms! I have her sitting on a rock, waiting to be my model when I try to figure out the super-macro settings on my camera.

    Interesting that milkweeds do things in fives. I see what look to be two more buds. Under normal conditions, would this bloom in groups of five flowers?


    July 26, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    • Good question: as far as I know, the fiveness applies to the parts of each individual bud and flower, but not to groups of flowers. The fiveness is apparent in retrospect in pearl milkweed flowers and antelope-horns milkweed flowers.

      And yes, these cynanchum flowers are tiny. That may be why I missed them on the outward-bound half of my walk. Good luck with the super macro settings on your camera. The closer you can get, the more wonders will be revealed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2013 at 5:06 PM

  6. Exquisite details in this shot Steve! Very interesting flowers.

    Michael Glover

    July 26, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    • I hadn’t seen this delicate species in several years, so I was happy for the chance to photograph it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2013 at 11:45 PM

  7. I am so impressed when you publish such close up pix! Had you considered shooting one of the flowers directly centered for star-shape symmetry?


    July 31, 2013 at 5:25 AM

    • Sometimes I do take a straight-on view of a flower to maximize symmetry, but I just looked back at the pictures I took of the cynanchum and found that I didn’t do that in any of the images. I like getting very close, but that creates focusing problems, especially when I try to get more than one thing in focus at the same time. Here I somehow managed three, so I give you permission to be impressed. I was, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 31, 2013 at 6:50 AM

  8. […] I never showed talayote here till now, I did feature a different Cynanchum species in […]

  9. About 30 minutes ago Linda mentioned ashe juniper pollen in a comment on my blog. Here I find a second reference to ashe juniper. 2 mentions in less than an hour! Yours is more favourable than Linda’s.


    December 21, 2017 at 6:31 AM

    • On the model of “Children should be seen but not heard,” allergy sufferers here at this time of year wish that Ashe juniper could be seen but its pollen not breathed. We have a bunch of Ashe junipers around our house, and in some winters I’ve suffered the allergic reaction that locals call cedar fever (even if the tree isn’t a cedar and fever isn’t a symptom of the reaction). In this photograph the Ashe juniper was “out of sight, out of mind.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 21, 2017 at 9:42 AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: