Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Doing justice to cenizo

with 20 comments

Cenizo Flowering with Wispy Clouds 3620

Click for greater clarity.

In the last post I mentioned that cenizo, Leucophyllum frutescens, is a bush that’s native in west and south Texas but has been widely planted in other parts of the state because it normally puts forth several dense sets of flowers during the hot months of the year. I said that, but I showed you only a single flower in the foreground of yesterday’s photograph, which was dominated by lustrous and feathery strands of Clematis drummondii. Now I’ll give cenizo its due: here’s a picture showing how profusely some bushes were flowering along Rain Creek Parkway on July 30th.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 14, 2013 at 6:18 AM

20 Responses

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  1. Beautifully composed. I like the way the clouds echo the vaguely mountain-like shape of the bush. And the color is just gorgeous.

    It’s rare that I startle the cat with full laughter in the morning, but I certainly did when I saw this stand of cenizo was located on Rain Creek Parkway. That’s funny beyond words.


    August 14, 2013 at 6:33 AM

    • I thought about the significance of Rain Creek Parkway, too, but because I hadn’t said anything about the claimed correlation between cenizo and rain, I didn’t mention the significance of the street name. (Rain Creek Parkway, by the way, is just a few blocks from my house, so I knew to check out the cenizo there.)

      Readers who’d like to know more about cenizo can turn to Linda’s post at


      and read about the barometer bush, which is another name for cenizo.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 14, 2013 at 6:51 AM

  2. Beautiful…………


    August 14, 2013 at 6:39 AM

  3. I’m with shoreacres. How long did you have to wait for that heart shaped cloud to drift into position?

    Jim in IA

    August 14, 2013 at 6:41 AM

    • The sky already had wispy clouds in it, and I knew I wanted the pictures I took of the cenizo to include them. I moved around left and right, forwards and backwards—and because I was in the street I did my best to pay attention to the cars that came by every so often—looking to see how sections of the cenizo lined up with the clouds (which of course also kept moving). I took a bunch of pictures, both horizontal and vertical. In looking at all of them later, I particularly liked the alignment in this one, with that little white cloud behind the apex of the cenizo.

      To answer your question, I took dozens of pictures, but in looking back at their time stamps I see that I was at that location for not even 10 minutes. I did a lot of moving around in a short time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 14, 2013 at 7:06 AM

      • You don’t want to get hit by a car. That would be hard to explain.
        ‘Officer, I was simply lying in the street trying to get the best picture and…’

        Be careful out there and keep up the good work.

        Jim in IA

        August 14, 2013 at 10:37 AM

        • In this case I wasn’t lying down, which definitely would have been a bad idea because these cenizo bushes were along a curving part of the street where drivers (and a recumbent me!) wouldn’t have had much time to react. I was standing not all that far from the curb and I kept listening for the sound of approaching cars, so there wasn’t a problem. At times there’s no choice but to be in the street to get a good picture of something.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 14, 2013 at 10:51 AM

  4. Such intensity in this photo, Steve – I love the blocks of color!


    August 14, 2013 at 8:10 AM

  5. Beautiful as always! Now that I’m home from 5 weeks of sparse internet access, I can tell you that I never cease to enjoy your imagery here and on your etymology blog, despite having only sporadic ability to look and read, and virtually no time to comment. Keep it coming, please! I especially enjoyed your ‘writin’ spider’ the other day, not only because I met her kin for the first time a couple of years ago at our dining room window (and so was moved to hunt up their identities) but also–of course–because the clan represents us as writers and feeds our love for visual loveliness at the same time.


    August 14, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    • Thanks, and welcome back, Kathryn. I’ll keep posting, so visit when you can.

      Like the population as a whole, a sizable portion of the people who read this blog aren’t thrilled (to put it mildly) to see a spider, especially a large one, so I was surprised at how much interest the photograph of the Argiope aurantia stirred up.

      It’s good of you to reinforce the association with writing that the zig-zag webbing has suggested to people. It just occurred to me that someone could create an image of one these spiders in a web that has not the usual series of Zs but some calligraphic message instead. If I were a draftsman or painter I’d attempt it, but I’m not. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to give it a shot.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 14, 2013 at 1:08 PM

  6. Wow!!!!


    August 14, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    • Le mot espagnol ceniza (au féminin) est le même que le français cendre.

      The reason this bush has the Spanish name ceniza, basically ‘ash,’ is that its grayish leaves reminded people of the color of ashes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 14, 2013 at 4:58 PM

  7. I’m with Chantal, “WOW!” What an amazing display you have captured, Steve.
    Want it!
    Sadly, it doesn’t grow here. 😦


    August 16, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    • That just means you’ll have to plan a trip to Texas one of these summers, Lynda. And yes, this was a great flower display, but it’s typical of this species, which is why so many people plant it. There are plenty in my neighborhood, and even the small one in front of our house put out more flowers a few weeks ago than it had done till then.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2013 at 2:08 PM

      • Perhaps so, Steve. I know two nice people there in the great state of Texas. One is Linda (shoreacres), and the other is you. Besides, I haven’t been back to Wichita Falls since I was two weeks old! I think I should visit my birthplace at least once before I’m too old to go. 😉


        August 16, 2013 at 2:27 PM

        • I was born in Tacoma but only lived there as an infant and so never knew the place. When I was 33 I went there (consciously) for the first time and visited a Peace Corps friend who had also been born in that hospital in the same year I was but who, unlike me, stayed in Tacoma and grew up there. He took me over to the hospital, where we discovered that the old maternity wing was closed up, but somehow we found a way in and stood in the place where we’d both come into this world.

          Let’s hope your eventual return to Wichita Falls is that memorable.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 16, 2013 at 2:55 PM

  8. […] or figwort family, that you’ve seen here include Texas toadflax, prairie agalinis, cenizo, and—perhaps best known of all—Indian […]

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