Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A velvetleaf mallow bud opening

with 33 comments

Velvetleaf Mallow Bud by Flower 9803

Click for greater clarity.

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on October 3rd I photographed this opening bud of velvetleaf mallow, Allowissadula holosericea. Beyond it you can make out the color and outline—but no details—of an already open velvetleaf mallow flower. If you’re wondering whether this plant is sticky to touch, the way you saw that Hooker’s palafoxia is, the answer is yes.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 27, 2013 at 6:02 AM

33 Responses

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  1. Wow! Beautiful!

    Rebecca - 353 Photography

    October 27, 2013 at 6:39 AM

  2. Sticky…do you ever see any insects caught in it?

    Jim in IA

    October 27, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    • That’s a good question. So far, I’ve never noticed any insects caught on any part of a velvetleaf mallow.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 27, 2013 at 8:21 AM

  3. Really like your capture–how the colors are mirrored back and forth.


    October 27, 2013 at 8:08 AM

  4. very beautiful photo


    October 27, 2013 at 9:36 AM

  5. Steve, I love the beautiful textures that you pick up. I can actually feel the stickiness just by looking at the photo. Thank you for doing what you do!

    Brenda Jones

    October 27, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    • You’re welcome, Brenda. Textures are a photographer’s delight. I’ll have a related but different texture coming up in a couple of days.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 27, 2013 at 10:03 AM

  6. Oui c ‘est vraiment du velours.. superbe photo comme toujours Steve!


    October 27, 2013 at 11:39 AM

  7. Another in a very long series of beautiful shots Steve. Given my recent attempts with the new 105 I can only suppose that you very rarely have any wind there in Texas! Everything is always so crisp … and at such proximity. Well done indeed. D

    Pairodox Farm

    October 27, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    • Thanks for your appreciation, D. In response to your supposition, no, we have our share of wind here too, especially out on the prairie. With my macro lens I rarely shoot at any slower a shutter speed than 1/400 sec. I also often enough use an unorthodox technique: I hold a subject still (or at least stiller) with my left hand while pressing the camera against my forehead and taking pictures with my right hand. Yep, downright unorthodox, but it has worked for me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 27, 2013 at 3:15 PM

      • This is a stunning example of convergent (behavioral) evolution, for I have done the very same thing … hold with the left and shoot with the right. Even so … stuff still moves … wildly in many (if not all) cases. If only folks knew the skill required to capture the images you present here, they’d be impressed. Truly. D

        Pairodox Farm

        October 27, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        • Happy convergence! You’re right that stuff still moves, so the compensation is to take several or even many pictures of a subject in the hope that at least one came out well. That’s one of the advantages of digital over film: once you buy the equipment, the images are practically free, and you can always throw away the unsuccessful ones.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 27, 2013 at 4:08 PM

          • A professional photographer-friend always reminded me of her rule-of-thumb for producing excellent shots (which won’t make any sense to anyone who did not grow up in the age of Kodachrome and Ektachrome) and that was to put your thumb through all the bad ones and toss them! Yes … digital is wonderful in that regard. Click, click, click, click … delete, delete, delete. D

            Pairodox Farm

            October 28, 2013 at 5:34 AM

            • Your rule of thumb worked for slides, but for 35 mm negatives, which I used to cut into strips of 5 or 6, I had to retain the bad negatives. That’s where a contact sheet did its work, letting me decide which images from a group I should print.

              Steve Schwartzman

              October 28, 2013 at 7:17 AM

  8. Here in Pennsylvania, ours are done blooming and even most of the leaves are gone, leaving only those wonderful pods sitting alternately along the stem. I always let them grow in my garden so I can use them in dried arrangements.


    October 27, 2013 at 3:58 PM

  9. The background hints at a very large bloom. Beautiful rich deep yellow.

    Steve Gingold

    October 27, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    • A velvetleaf mallow flower can get to be about 2 inches across. You’ll see a fully open one next time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 27, 2013 at 9:04 PM

  10. wow !!!


    October 27, 2013 at 11:23 PM

  11. Lovely shot! The golden yellow of the opening bud, with its sharp detail, is enhanced by the amorphous mature flower behind it.

    Mary Mageau

    October 28, 2013 at 5:26 AM

  12. […] yesterday’s photograph from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on October 3rd you couldn’t make out the details […]

  13. Oh, the power of potential!


    October 28, 2013 at 9:00 AM

  14. Ah, buds. When they crack their first smiles, so much sun shows out of them from what lies inside.


    October 31, 2013 at 5:50 PM

  15. Absolutely stunning photo. I will look a little more close to see if I can get velvetleaf mallow to grow here in my garden.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    November 1, 2013 at 5:40 PM

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