Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A close look at some desert willow flowers

with 25 comments

Desert Willow Flowers 5464

Click for better clarity.

As you saw last time, on August 30th I photographed a flowering desert willow tree, Chilopsis linearis, on the restored prairie at what used to be Austin’s Mueller Airport. Now this close look at a few of the tree’s many flowers lets you understand why people and institutions have increasingly planted the desert willow as an ornamental.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 2, 2013 at 5:55 AM

25 Responses

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  1. Pretty flower. Reminds me a bit of Catalpa which gets profuse with blooms. People don’t always care for them because of the seed pods that litter their yards with foot long “beans”.

    Steve Gingold

    October 2, 2013 at 6:13 AM

    • I think the reason this reminds you of catalpa is that they’re in the same botanical family. In fact I’ll be showing part of desert willow pod in the next installment of this miniseries.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 2, 2013 at 7:05 AM

      • The Russians bred desert willow with catalpa and it is available in the trade. It’s called a Chitalpa (Chitalpa tashkentensis). It has very similar flowers to the desert willow, but has thicker leaves and thicker trunks. It’s not quite as brittle as the desert willow. I don’t think it’s quite as fragrant as the desert willow.


        October 2, 2013 at 2:41 PM

  2. Yes, I can see why they like them. The flowers are delicate and nicely colored with the yellow and pink. Too bad we don’t get to see them up here. Too cold for them, I guess.

    Jim in IA

    October 2, 2013 at 7:18 AM

  3. Awesome picture! Keep it up 🙂


    October 2, 2013 at 10:18 AM

  4. Absolutely gorgeous, Steven.

    Bruce Thiesen

    October 2, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    • Yes, these are great flowers, and most likely they’ll become better known as more people plant desert willows.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 2, 2013 at 10:28 AM

  5. from this angle it almost resembles a petunia – I love the colour combo, nature does this so well.


    October 2, 2013 at 10:36 AM

  6. I’ve thought that they look a little like a cross between foxglove blooms and orchids, both flowers I find beautiful. Maybe I can find some little desert willow sprouts to nurture in the back mini-meadow…


    October 2, 2013 at 12:32 PM

  7. Just beautiful!


    October 2, 2013 at 7:36 PM

  8. The flowers are ever so beautiful. I lived in the area for almost a year and I don’t think I saw ever saw this which is a real pity.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    October 2, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    • Ah, too bad. Maybe you’ll get to go back to an area where the desert willow grows and see one flowering.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 3, 2013 at 7:21 AM

  9. Now that you’ve provided this closer look, it’s easy to see the differences between this and oleander. Expectations certainly can cloud vision. (Now all I have to do is find a way to get that 1950s Hamm’s beer commercial out of my mind!)


    October 5, 2013 at 10:26 PM

  10. This is gorgeous! I planted one of these in my front yard in California. It took a while to get going, but once it bloomed it was magnificent!


    October 7, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    • You’re the first person who’s commented on any of the four desert willow pictures who has seen the tree in person. Good for you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 7, 2013 at 10:30 PM

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