Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Another great field of wildflowers

with 25 comments

Engelmann Daisy Blowing in an Indian Paintbrush Colony 7602

Here’s another great field of wildflowers from my April 4th outing. The dominant red flowers are Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa), mixed into which are a few bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis). The taller plant with yellow flowers is an Engelmann daisy (Engelmannia peristenia). What caused it to lean so far to the left was the brisk wind that blew unremittingly and made photographing the flowers hard enough for me that I attempted only a couple of closeups the whole day.

Location: Old School Rd. in New Berlin, a town whose name, like the names of many roads in that part of Texas, tells you that quite a few Germans settled in the area in the 1800s. To learn more about that immigration and the so-called German Belt across a swathe of the state, you can read an article in The Handbook of Texas.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 8, 2014 at 6:00 AM

25 Responses

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  1. We have two children’s books that I love to share with grandson, The Legend of the Bluebonnet and Legend of the Indian Paintbrush. What sold the books was not only the promise of a good story, but the authentic color in the drawings. For me, Indian paintbrush has such beautiful color, not quite red, not quite orange, not really vermilion, but well, Indian paintbrush red. Beautiful color, especially when I click to enlarge.

    georgettesullins

    April 8, 2014 at 6:09 AM

    • I’ve added links in your comment, Georgette, so readers can see the books you’re talking about. The links are to Amazon listings, both of which have a Look Inside feature.

      When I took my trip last Friday to the area south of Austin and east of San Antonio, Indian paintbrushes were by far the most common wildflower I saw, and there were many fields where they appeared in abundance.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2014 at 6:22 AM

    • Oh, and I know what you mean about the color of Indian paintbrush. To me it seems a cross between red and orange, with a saturated vividness that I don’t know in any other kind of flower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2014 at 6:31 AM

  2. And a great shot, too!

    oneowner

    April 8, 2014 at 6:39 AM

    • Thanks, Ken. Your comment reminds me of a couplet from H.M.S. Pinafore:

      —I am the captain of the Pinafore.
      —And a right good captain, too.

      You can say that on Friday I was captain not of the Pinafore but of the Paintbrush.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2014 at 6:48 AM

  3. Beautiful photo. And thank you for the links to Tomie dePaola’s books. I have a few of dePaola’s books but not these two.

    Gallivanta

    April 8, 2014 at 6:42 AM

    • Someday you’ll have to visit Texas in the spring and see the wildflowers for real.

      I was familiar with dePaola’s two wildflower books, but not with his others. One line from the Amazon bio caught my attention: “He names Fra Angelico and Giotto, Georges Rouault, and Ben Shahn as major influences on his work, but he soon found his own unique style.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2014 at 6:53 AM

      • Soon you will not trust a word that I say….I went looking for my dePaola books and found, guess what? Yes, the Legend of the Bluebonnet!!! I am delighted. Of course, they are not truly my books but my daughter’s which have all been left behind in MY attic and book cupboards. The only other one I have found, so far, is Tony’s Bread.

        Gallivanta

        April 8, 2014 at 8:45 AM

  4. Really gorgeous colors. How long does it last?

    I interviewed for my first teaching job in New Berlin, IL. http://bit.ly/1hbKISD

    I didn’t take it.

    Jim in IA

    April 8, 2014 at 6:54 AM

    • I’d say the Indian paintbrush flowers stay around for a month or so before beginning to fade. Some of the ones shown here were beginning to go past their prime, as indicated by the dark brown vertical squiggles.

      I’ve never passed through the New Berlin in Illinois, but I see it’s not far from St. Louis, where we spent three days on the way back from northern Iowa some years ago.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2014 at 7:01 AM

      • Did you happen to use I-380?

        Jim in IA

        April 8, 2014 at 7:14 AM

        • I had to look at a map. No, because from Garner we headed east to Spillville to visit the Dvorak Museum, and from there we cut over to the Mississippi and mostly followed the river down to St. Louis.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 8, 2014 at 7:22 AM

  5. I think I first started following you after seeing your photos of this lovely wildflower last year. The blues and that spot of yellow really enliven this very beautiful field. I can imagine this hanging on a wall somewhere. In my house 🙂

    Heyjude

    April 8, 2014 at 7:14 AM

    • If a person is going to be captivated by a wildflower, Indian paintbrush is a good candidate. Having other colors in supporting roles is a nice addition. The full-size photograph has a lot more detail than the reduced blog image, but there’s still nothing like the reality of the scene itself. I hope one day you’ll visit Texas in the spring and get to experience that.

      I had to look back to see what I showed last year, and I found

      https://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/indian-paintbrushes-and-friends/

      which was also south of Austin, but not nearly as far south as the field in today’s picture. I passed close to there last Friday on my way home and thought about checking the site, but after being out for six hours I didn’t have the requisite enthusiasm.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2014 at 7:33 AM

  6. Great photo. I’m hoping to see some wildflowers here in Virginia this weekend, but I’ve never seen anything like what you show in your photos up here!

    anomadlife

    April 8, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    • Yes, Texas wildflowers can be profuse. Two centuries ago, before Anglo settlement, floral displays like this went on for miles at a time. Good luck finding some of your own native wildflowers this weekend.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2014 at 12:47 PM

  7. I was at work when I first took a look at this post and wanted to ask (but didn’t have the time then) if this is a wild stand or a cultivated one? I have a difficult time believing that the many images of vast expanses of wild flowers that you offer up are just that … wild. Here in PA some of the grassy areas between north and southbound lanes on the interstates (for example) are planted to native species … and they’re quite beautiful. Your Texas fields can’t be bettered though. D

    Pairodox Farm

    April 8, 2014 at 6:59 PM

  8. A dazzler!

    Susan Scheid

    April 9, 2014 at 9:29 PM

  9. The yellow flower was trying to get your attention!

    Michael Glover

    April 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    • Perhaps, but it needn’t have tried. Engelmann daisies were already beginning to come up in Austin, and in the week since then I’ve seen plenty of them here (and photographed a few).

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 11, 2014 at 2:16 PM


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