Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A rain-lily in a colony

with 22 comments

Rain-Lily Flower Showing Center 8152

And here’s a close-up of the stylized star we call a rain-lily, Cooperia drummondii. Other members of the colony show up as white or reddish daubs in the background; the whole colony was in sunlight, but the photograph’s main rain-lily, by virtue of being so close to the camera, outshone everything farther away (fans of physics may be reminded of the good old inverse-square law). I don’t know about you, but the center of this flower looks to me like a little snail, minus any shell, of course.

The date was September 23rd, and the place was the triangle of land where Perry Ln. runs into Mopac.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 23, 2013 at 6:03 AM

22 Responses

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  1. It’s hard to pick a favorite from among your rain-lily photos, but this one is delightful. And yes – that certainly does look like a little snail.

    I’ve been surprised to see rain-lilies now. For some reason, I thought they were only spring flowers, or spring and summer. I saw a few in a school yard a couple of weeks ago and thought they were out of season. Obviously not.


    October 23, 2013 at 6:38 AM

    • Some plants in central Texas, e.g. mealy blue sage and crow poison, have two flowering periods, one in the the spring and the other in the fall, but are usually denser in the first. With rain-lilies, I’d say they can be equal in density. From 2011 through 2013 I’ve found much better displays in the fall than in the spring, but I can’t be everywhere, and for all I know, people in other parts of the region might have made the opposite observation. The situation is further complicated by the fact that there are two species of rain-lily, and Marshall Enquist notes that one tends to be more prominent in the spring and the other in the fall. In any case, I’ll take rain-lilies whenever I can get them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 23, 2013 at 6:53 AM

  2. The rain lily is really beautiful, and the light, very good.

    bente haarstad

    October 23, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    • The sun must have been in front of me, judging from the way the flower’s rear tepals appear translucent, while the tepals in front are partially shaded. These little bits of white are quite a contrast to the overwhelming white of your land of snow and ice.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 23, 2013 at 8:01 AM

  3. I would be happy to find that flower in my wanderings. We noticed that the only flowers we are seeing now are some 0.5-0.75″ purplish-blue aster like ones. This is it, I believe.

    Jim in IA

    October 23, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    • Latitude, latitude, latitude. About 5 years ago, in April, my wife and I drove from Austin to northern Iowa for a wedding. Austin was already fully green and floral, but as we worked our way north through Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and finally Iowa, we watched the spring recede to winter; when we arrived there wasn’t yet a leaf on any tree, the temperature was in the 40s, and the wind blew hard. That’s one reason I chose to live in Texas. I’m seeing local asters flowering now (and photographed some yesterday), along with other fall bloomers like goldenrod, Maximilian sunflowers, and poverty weed. This is a great time of year to be in Austin.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 23, 2013 at 8:32 AM

      • We can see the effects of latitude by going a mere 2 hrs south or north here in the spring.

        Enjoy the fall flowers and colors. We had 1-3″ of snow go just a few miles to our north yesterday. Davenport reported their 3rd earliest measurable snowfall on record. Flakes flew here. But, 30˚ and clear this AM.

        Jim in IA

        October 23, 2013 at 8:55 AM

  4. Sweetly seductive.


    October 23, 2013 at 10:37 AM

  5. I agree with the snail analogy. They also seem so symmetrical in form.

    Caribbean Biodiversity

    October 23, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    • Rain-lilies are fairly symmetrical; they always have six tepals. The “snail” was something new for me; I can’t say why I’d never noticed a center like that before.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 23, 2013 at 10:54 AM

  6. That is a very pretty little star of a flower, Steve. Well done as always.

    Steve Gingold

    October 23, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    • I was happy with this close-up, which is different from any of my previous ones by virtue of that snail-like center.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 23, 2013 at 3:41 PM

  7. beautiful.


    October 23, 2013 at 7:11 PM

  8. Gorgeous!


    October 23, 2013 at 11:38 PM

  9. To me, the center looks like Pikachu (Pokemon) facing into a light, with an aura surrounding him. The body looks darker than its normal color because of the backlighting.


    October 24, 2013 at 6:39 AM

    • I had to look up Pikachu, Wanda, but then I could see what your imagination saw. The backlighting does indeed make the center structure seem darker.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 24, 2013 at 6:43 AM

  10. You’re right, it *does* look like an itty bitty mollusk. Must be from some Jules Vernean inner world of mini snails, just out for a leisurely stroll/eat in its little gastropod environs. And what a pretty world it is!


    October 31, 2013 at 5:47 PM

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