Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

More cattail fluff

with 20 comments

Cattail Fluff on Hackberry with Mustang Grape Vine 0220

Click for greater clarity and size.

Not only did fluff from a colony of cattails, Typha domingensis, coat the dry goldenrod plants you saw two pictures back, but some also landed on these curled leaves of what I believe was a hackberry tree, Celtis spp. As a bonus, notice the mustang grape vine, Vitis mustangensis, that had come up and coiled a tendril twice around one of the hackberry’s leaf stalks.

Like the last two photographs, this one comes from marshy land along Wells Branch Parkway near Drusilla’s Drive in Pflugerville on January 20th.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 19, 2014 at 6:03 AM

20 Responses

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  1. It took me a minute to figure out why the bottom leaf looks so strange. It seems to be hanging in midair, unattached to the branch. Apparently it’s been caught by the same vine.

    I wonder if the inventors of barbed wire were inspired in part by nature. That curled tendril certainly looks like a twist of wire.


    February 19, 2014 at 6:30 AM

    • That’s an excellent observation about the lowest leaf, which, though clearly detached, was kept from falling by the vine.

      Nature has inspired so many human inventions that it wouldn’t surprise me if barbed wire were among them. In this case the color even matches.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 19, 2014 at 6:59 AM

    • We lived in Dekalb, IL for a couple of years way back when. It was a barbed wire capitol of the midwest. Displays of the early versions looked very much like wrappings of nature’s vines. This guy got very wealthy making it. http://www.ellwoodhouse.org/collections

      Jim in IA

      February 19, 2014 at 7:28 AM

      • The Wikipedia article for Joseph Glidden, the inventor of barbed wire, says: “By the time of his death in 1906, he was one of the richest men in America.”

        The article gives a connection to Texas: “To demonstrate the effectiveness of barbed wire, Glidden and his sales agent for the State of Texas, Henry B. Sanborn, developed the “Frying Pan Ranch” in Bushland, Potter County, Texas, in 1881. The wire was brought in by wagon from the railhead at Dodge City, Kansas, and the timbers were cut from Palo Duro Canyon and along the Canadian River Valley. A herd of 12,000 head of cattle was branded with the “Panhandle Brand”, which the cowboys called “frying pan”. The ranch proved the success of the wire and changed ranching.”

        The article also mentions that Glidden had been a teacher. I wonder why he gave up such a lucrative profession.

        Steve Schwartzman

        February 19, 2014 at 7:44 AM

        • Why give up teaching? He was rolling in the dough and adulation.

          Jim in IA

          February 19, 2014 at 8:14 AM

        • I was sorting through photos tonight and look what I found. I’d forgotten that I collected some photos of the Four Sixes Ranch and brand. It’s interesting to see the historical connection with the development of barbed wire.


          February 19, 2014 at 9:44 PM

          • I’ll confess I never heard of the Four Sixes Ranch, which I now see is between Lubbock and Wichita Falls. Yes, barbed wire changed the West.

            Steve Schwartzman

            February 19, 2014 at 10:45 PM

  2. An intriguing entanglement. The leaves have become almost cocoon-like.


    February 19, 2014 at 6:56 AM

  3. Un véritable tableau, on dirait que tu as disposé les feuilles autour de la tige.. la nature est tout de même bien faite. Un superbe cliché Steve.


    February 20, 2014 at 3:58 AM

    • Et comme shoreacres a indiqué dans le premier commentaire, la feuille inférieure n’était plus attachée a l’arbre, de sorte que je dois la composition en partie à la vigne.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 20, 2014 at 7:09 AM

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