Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Mountain pink eradicated

with 16 comments

Mountain Pink Dried Out Against Sky 3427A

Click for greater clarity.

On July 30th, a month ago today, I was walking through a still-undeveloped property in northwest Austin when I came across a mountain pink, Centaurium beyrichii, which was normal in the way it had dried out but abnormal in two other respects: something had pulled the plant, root and all, out of the ground; and something, perhaps the same agent that caused the eradication, had flattened the plant. So there I found it, flat on the ground, looking forlorn, not a great subject for a photograph. I picked the plant up, held it out in front of me at arm’s length—why aren’t my arms longer?—and photographed it, as shown here, against that day’s wispy sky. The plant’s brightness may make you think that I used flash, but the only illumination came from the noontime sun.

If you’d like a reminder of what this species is like when it’s fresh—and not just as a background the way it appeared in yesterday morning’s photograph—you can have a look upward from afar at some plants on a cliff or closely downward at a flowering dome. And for the large majority of you who weren’t visiting this blog in the second week of its existence in June of 2011, I invite you to see what a mountain pink bud looks like.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 30, 2013 at 6:09 AM

16 Responses

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  1. Melanie and I thought it looked like a broom. It puts on a dazzling pink display by what I saw in the pinks links.

    You need to carry the Grabber so your arm can be extended. I have one. It’s great for picking up sticks in the yard before I mow. I don’t need to bend over and hurt my back.

    Jim in IA

    August 30, 2013 at 7:06 AM

    • I can see the broom that you two saw, though I didn’t see it before your comment. Interestingly, the kind of broom that we sweep with is named for the broom plant, which is what people in Britain must have commonly used for that purpose. In Texas there’s a different kind of plant that similarly came to be called broomweed for the same reason. I’d include a link to a picture but I haven’t ever showed a photograph here of that species looking broomy.

      Speaking of words, I like your rhyming phrase pink links. Even without a Grabber it grabbed me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 30, 2013 at 7:15 AM

  2. Looks like something from a Tim Burton movie/still.

    Lisa Vankula-Donovan

    August 30, 2013 at 7:30 AM

  3. Now that’s really being creative!

    afrenchgarden

    August 30, 2013 at 11:08 AM

  4. Had I found the poor decrepit flower as you did, well, most likely I would have kept right on walking. However, you have a gift for finding the beauty in just about anything. The sun’s light gives it the appearance of being burnished.

    Lynda

    August 30, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    • The mountain pink was so unusual (for the two reasons I mentioned) that I couldn’t pass it by. I don’t remember how long it took me to think of lifting it up, but I’m glad I did, because the cloud-streaked sky was ideal as a background. I like your description of the sunlit dry plant as burnished.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 30, 2013 at 8:29 PM

  5. Must have fallen from some collector’s portable press, maybe. I like the shape and form of this and feel that way about most dried plants. This is a nice image, Steve.

    Steve Gingold

    August 31, 2013 at 5:12 AM

    • Now that’s a hypothesis that hadn’t occurred to me, and such an intriguing one. It raises a question, however: could a plant be flattened so thoroughly that it retained its shape after falling out of a device into which it had presumable been put only shortly before?

      You and I and some of our readers share an interest in the forms that dried plants assume. That’s an assumption of which there’s no doubt.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 31, 2013 at 7:58 AM

  6. Thanks for the link to the plants on the cliff. That gives me a good picture of their size and shape. An interesting plant!

    George Weaver

    September 1, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    • You’re welcome. I realize that many readers won’t be familiar with the native plants of central Texas, and so I often give links to relevant blog post of mine and to external sources of information. Some habits of all those years of teaching and researching carry over here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 1, 2013 at 6:52 AM

  7. Hmmmm… Not so much eradicated as transformed, perhaps. The plant reminds me of a broom, too. I was taught as a child always to store brooms upright, so the straws don’t bend because of sitting on the floor.

    There’s a wonderful Irish proverb: “A new broom sweeps clean, but an old broom knows the corners”. Another good title for this one might be “The Cloud Sweeper”.

    shoreacres

    September 1, 2013 at 7:48 AM

    • You’ve extended my knowledge from “A new broom sweeps clean” to “but an old broom knows the corners.” You swept me away with your title of “The Cloud Sweeper.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 1, 2013 at 8:05 AM

  8. This is a fantastic picture.

    ShimonZ

    September 3, 2013 at 1:20 AM


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