Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Another fasciated species

with 24 comments

Fasciated Texas Mountain Laurel Raceme Remains 4274A

Nan Hampton knows my fascination with fasciation, so when we both attended the August 13th meeting of a music group she told me about a fasciated Texas mountain laurel, Sophora secundiflora, that she’d seen in her neighborhood. The next morning I went to the location she’d indicated and photographed what you see here. The upper parts of these structures are normal, but the parts farther down that flatten and flare out are fasciated.

If fasciation is new to you or you’d like a refresher, you can find a discussion of the phenomenon in a post about a fasciated Liatris I ran across a couple of years ago. Other posts since then have shown a fasciated firewheel, poverty weed, prairie verbena, and old plainsman.

If you’re not familiar with Texas mountain laurel you can check out past posts about this fragrantly flowerful little tree.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 9, 2013 at 6:10 AM

24 Responses

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  1. Flash-fill here?

    Pairodox Farm

    September 9, 2013 at 6:17 AM

    • Yes, and good of you to recognize it. Because of the positions of things, without flash these structures would have been too dark in comparison to the bright sky beyond them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 9, 2013 at 6:22 AM

  2. I followed your link to the definitions. Reminds me of plantar fasciitis. I stood for too many years in hard floored classrooms with shoes without enough support.

    Here is my view of the Moon-Venus conjunction last evening. It was mostly cloudy all day. In the evening, our cul de sac had a pot luck block party. Afterward, I drove some chairs back to the church where we borrowed them. I noticed it had cleared to the west with a perfect view. When I got home, I got the camera and tripod and Melanie. We walked a block to get a good viewpoint and this. I was really pleased how well it turned out.

    http://bit.ly/1aiKtQd

    Photo information
    Sep 8, 2013
    586×440 pixels – 176KB after crop
    Filename: 2013_0908MoonVenus.JPG
    Camera: FUJIFILM
    Model: FinePix S602 ZOOM
    ISO: 200
    Exposure: 1/4 sec
    Aperture: 2.8
    Focal Length: 46.8mm
    Auto setting

    Jim in IA

    September 9, 2013 at 7:30 AM

    • Now that’s a good (If painful) association: fasciation and plantar fasciitis.

      Thanks for your link to the photograph of last night’s conjunction. In Austin the sky was rather cloudy, so I didn’t go out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 9, 2013 at 7:45 AM

      • I wised up since retirement and always have good support in my shoes. Not standing so much is a big help.

        I was afraid we were going to miss out, too. The evening clear skies were ideal. Most of the day was pleasant in the mid-80s. Today and tomorrow will be in the mid to upper 90s. That is near record temps for us. The schools around here are letting out early. About 30% of them don’t have AC. The classroom I used was not. It was on the ground floor. The rooms on 2nd and 3rd were like ovens.

        Jim in IA

        September 9, 2013 at 8:00 AM

  3. On dirait la queue très élégante d’un oiseau magique perché dans l’arbre! superbe!

    chatou11

    September 9, 2013 at 9:39 AM

  4. Nan Hampton rocks. She’s a wonderful biologist. Really been enjoying your photos during this drought – they remind me that plants are really hardy folk.

    Nancy

    September 9, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    • Now if Nan were a geologist we could really say she rocks, but I’ll settle for her knowledge of botany and birds (and music).

      One of the lessons to come from this blog, as you point out, is that during the current drought—and the worse one of 2011—there have always been things in nature that were thriving and made for good photographic subjects. I try to be as hardy, but it isn’t easy.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 9, 2013 at 10:11 AM

  5. Fascinating.

    Steve Gingold

    September 9, 2013 at 4:28 PM

  6. Great photo and interesting looking plant

    norasphotos4u

    September 9, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    • This kind of shrub is inherently appealing, especially when it flowers in the spring, but the fasciation added a strange element.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 9, 2013 at 7:59 PM

  7. The fasciation looks almost feather-like. Am I right that the skeletal remains are where the blooms have fallen off? From one of your other photos, it looks like this could have been part of the bloom structure.

    shoreacres

    September 9, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    • You’ve got it: these are the remains of the structures that once bore flowers. I imagine the flowers that grew on those flattened sections could have been deformed too, but I don’t know if that was the case.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 9, 2013 at 10:29 PM

  8. Beautiful. And of course I’m curious about the music group!

    Susan Scheid

    September 14, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    • It’s a group that meets once a month on a Tuesday morning to perform classical music, primarily piano. I’m one of the smaller group of non-performers who attend.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 14, 2013 at 3:28 PM

  9. […] Texas mountain laurel. […]

  10. Hi Steven, Just found your site and I really enjoyed it. I used it to ID some plants we see on our land in Cedar Creek, east of Austin before you get to Bastrop. I found prairie parsley and squarebud primrose, thanks to your photos.
    I noticed your posts on fasciation. We have a large patch of horseweed that always have a few plants that curl over themselves at the top, like they are tied in a knot. Do you know what that is called? I have a photo, but I did not see a way to send it to you.
    Thanks for a great website.

    Janet

    July 19, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    • I’m glad to have been of some help in identifying a couple of species. The guide I recommend for local plants is Marshall Enquist’s Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 19, 2014 at 7:37 PM


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