Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Blanco crabapple

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Colorful Blanco Crabapple Leaf with Raindrops 6374

On the wet morning of December 6th I wended my way down to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. One of the things I photographed there was this colorful leaf of a tree that botanists call Malus ioensis var. texana and that regular folks know as the Blanco crabapple or Texas crabapple. The specimens planted at the Wildflower Center are a little east of the Blanco crabapple’s natural range on the Edwards Plateau in central Texas.

Today’s post marks the debut of this species in these pages, and the photograph is also the first in a baker’s week of pictures from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (if a baker’s dozen is thirteen, then a baker’s week lasts eight days).

© 2104 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 7, 2014 at 6:01 AM

15 Responses

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  1. Love the way you have captured the drips!


    February 7, 2014 at 6:35 AM

    • It was a wet morning, Jude, so I went with the flow, as people say, and played up that wetness in pictures like this one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 7, 2014 at 7:13 AM

  2. Looking forward to what comes out of the baker’s oven? How about a pie of crab apple? On Wiki this crab apple appears to be green? Is that right?


    February 7, 2014 at 7:08 AM

    • I think you’re right. The article at


      about making Texas crabapple jelly (and which calls for ripe apples) mentions that “The fruit were small green apples with some having a reddish blush.” The crabapples in his photographs all look green.

      I imagine someone could use crabapple jelly as a pie filling, but my “piety” for the next week will be limited to pictures and words.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 7, 2014 at 7:32 AM

      • I love making crab apple jelly and eating fresh crab apples but those Texas crab apples seem a bit crabby and sour/bitter. Your version of piety will be interesting.


        February 7, 2014 at 6:32 PM

  3. Interesting how the drops draw the eye up to the ice-encased leaves. I do enjoy seeing things encased in ice, although the consequences can be disastrous.

    If we were playing word-association, you’d say, “crabapple”, and I’d say, “wars”. I don’t know about the Texas varieties, but in my Iowa childhood, crabapples were for throwing at one another. They were great weapons, but they never made it into a pie – too hard and too sour.


    February 7, 2014 at 7:26 AM

    • Our flock of Robins is back this morning feasting on the frozen crabapples in the tree out front. It is -8˚F. These harbingers are too early and are going to be very hungry.

      Jim in IA

      February 7, 2014 at 7:30 AM

      • Those robins must have strong beaks to be able to break into frozen crabapples. They must be desperate for food.

        As people in Texas see things, your -8° is so cold that we might just as well turn the digit sideways and say that the temperature is –∞°.

        Steve Schwartzman

        February 7, 2014 at 7:51 AM

        • They aren’t all likely to survive. There are plenty of them, tho.

          We are ready for some thaw. Next concern is how the thaw comes about. Will it be gradual? Will it come early? Will it come late and be at the same time as heavy general rains?

          Jim in IA

          February 7, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    • Another coincidence: while you were writing your comment I was answering the previous one, and in my reply I included a link to an article about making Texas crabapple jelly.

      Photographically speaking, I’m happy to see things encased in ice, and it does look like the green leaf in the upper right has ice on it, even though I don’t remember it that way, and the drops at the tips were definitely liquid. In a picture that’s scheduled later in this series there are some drops that were still frozen from the overnight cold, and the fact that they were frozen is what caught my attention.

      In the back yard where I grew up we had a crabapple tree (I have no idea what species). I remember that it was dense with branches, but I can’t remember the fruit.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 7, 2014 at 7:44 AM

    • So, there is a relationship between “wended” and “went”. It never had occurred to me.


      February 7, 2014 at 7:45 AM

      • Yes, went started out as a past tense of wend and ended up bumping an earlier past tense of go, ēode, which you can see also wasn’t related to go. I thought of mentioning the wend~went connection in a footnote to this post, but I figured it’s more appropriate for my language blog.

        Steve Schwartzman

        February 7, 2014 at 8:00 AM

  4. […] what may be a Carolina mantis, Stagmomantis carolina, on a small branch of what was definitely a Blanco crabapple tree, Malus ioensis var. texana. This egg case was at most an inch (25mm) […]

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