Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for September 18th, 2013

A purple leatherflower flower from below

with 13 comments

Purple Leatherflower Flower from Below 0749

In the last post I mentioned that the tepal tips of a purple leatherflower, Clematis pitcheri, flange back but don’t create a wide opening at their center. This picture of one of these flowers photographed from below shows you what I meant. In spite of the constriction, the reproductive parts of the flower are exposed enough to do what they’re there to do. Just look at all that scattered pollen. Speaking of which: did you know that pollen was a Latin word that meant ‘fine flour’ and ‘mill dust’? Only in the 1700s did botanists repurpose the word (and only in recent years did the verb repurpose come into existence; the WordPress editor still puts red dots under it, as it does under leatherflower, understandably, and tepal, which it probably “thinks” is a typo for petal.)

This photograph is from an April 27th visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. These words are from my boisterous brain.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 18, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Purple leatherflower

with 7 comments

Purple Leatherflower Flower 7358

Click for greater clarity.

For all the pictures of the wonderful Clematis drummondii that you’ve had a chance to look at here, you’ve seen only two photographs of another species that’s native—actually endemic*—in central Texas, Clematis texensis, known appropriately as scarlet leatherflower. If you weren’t visiting these pages last year, or if you’d like another jolt of bright red, especially as it stands out against a background of blue sky and white cloud, I invite you to look back at a scarlet leatherflower.

Now cometh this writer to say that in Austin there’s another native leatherflower: it resembles the red one but has purple flowers and is therefore called purple leatherflower. After the stage shown in today’s picture, the tepal tips will flange back some more but won’t create a very wide opening at their center.

Clematis pitcheri, as botanists know this purple-flowering species, has a much wider distribution than its red genus-mate, as you can verify on the state-clickable map at the USDA website.

This photograph is from Bull Creek Park on June 27th.


* The word endemic indicates that a species grows natively in a certain area—often a relatively small one—and nowhere else.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 18, 2013 at 6:12 AM

%d bloggers like this: