Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Last time vertical, this time horizontal

with 8 comments

Clematis drummondii Strands 1856

Click for greater clarity and size.

Here’s another view, this time horizontal, from my July 19th photo session near the eastern end of Balcones Woods Dr. Once again you’re looking at bundles of lustrous strands produced by Clematis drummondii. Note the various seed cores—mostly green here, one brown—from which the strands emerge.

Some people know this vine as old man’s beard, a name that refers to the stage in which the mass of strands begins to lose its sheen and take on a more feathery and then a duller appearance, as near the lower right and lower left corners of the photograph.

To give you a sense of scale, I’ll add that the width of today’s picture represents no more than 3 in. (8 cm).

To see the places in the Southwest where Clematis drummondii has been found, you can check the state-clickable map at the USDA website.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 11, 2013 at 4:30 PM

8 Responses

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  1. It’s a close call but I like this landscape view more that the portrait view. But that’s just my view.

    John Bradford

    August 11, 2013 at 4:45 PM

  2. I’m glad you mentioned the name old man’s beard, as that is what I thought of when I saw the image. I love clematis of all kinds, but these have the added bonus of looking good after they have stopped flowering. I have probably a few of these shots myself, though not as good as yours 😉
    Jude xx


    August 11, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    • I gather that the horticultural trade has promoted various Clematis species with appealing flowers. There are three native species in central Texas, all having small flowers, but one with flowers that are bright red, C. texensis. As you pointed out, the great feature of C. drummondii is the lustrous strands and masses of fluff that come after the cream-colored flowers have faded. Not only that, but those “beards” often linger for months, even into the fall and winter, and so provide delight for a lot longer than the relatively short-lived flowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 11, 2013 at 5:22 PM

  3. I wonder if this is “wild”. A most interesting plant. I’ll follow the link. Thanks.

    George Weaver

    August 12, 2013 at 12:33 AM

    • Yes, this is wild, and also common in Austin. I doubt anyone other than the most confirmed native plant person would plant Clematis drummondii. Next time I’ll show a picture of one of these wild vines interacting with a shrub that someone planted.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 12, 2013 at 6:59 AM

  4. How nice of you to provide the answer here to my question in the previous post, about the “noodle-y” strands vs. the feathery strands. They are two stages in the growth process. I do love this plant.


    August 12, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    • Before the strands become feathery they do have a noodle-like appearance, though I don’t believe I’ve ever seen any noodles so lustrous. Maybe an enterprising noodle manufacturer could figure out a way to get that effect.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 12, 2013 at 11:06 PM

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