Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Dwarf senna

with 15 comments

Dwarf Senna Flowering 9954

So now you’ve seen pictures from Monahans Sandhills State Park and Caprock Canyons State Park. When we left Lubbock on April 17th to head back to Austin, we soon came to the town of Post, which has a fascinating history as the creation of cereal magnate C.W. Post (of Post Toasties, Postum, and Grape-Nuts fame). We spent a little time at the OS Museum, where we got directions to the town’s history museum. Somehow I missed it, but that proved to be good luck because several blocks after the missed turn we came to a “vacant” lot that had various native plants on it.

One of my finds there was the small and close-to-the-ground plant you see here. I had no idea what it was, but eventually I found it in a wildflower book. It’s Senna pumilio, known as dwarf senna for its small size (Latin pumilus means ‘diminutive, dwarf’). If you look back at the most common senna in Austin, you’ll see why I failed to make a connection to the little plant in Post.

I rarely aim straight down when I photograph a plant because that usually produces the least picturesque and most cluttered view of the subject, but this plant was so low that I didn’t have a lot of choice.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 15, 2014 at 5:49 AM

15 Responses

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  1. Speaking of getting low for the shot, I had to do that last weekend. As you say, it usually gives the best view. http://bit.ly/1qFrQkT

    Jim in IA

    May 15, 2014 at 7:13 AM

    • Welcome to the Down Low and Dirty Club of nature photographers, whose dues are minimal (monetarily) and whose rewards many, as you proved with your violets.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 15, 2014 at 7:29 AM

  2. The OS Museum must be fascinating. And Mr Post reminds me of our Mr Edmonds (of Edmonds Sure to Rise Baking Powder) though Mr Edmonds didn’t set up a model township. The senna plant is pretty. It seems to belong to the same family as the senna plant that gives us the senna used for laxatives.

    Gallivanta

    May 15, 2014 at 8:43 AM

    • Yes, the OS Museum is a different sort of place from the usual museum because it’s mostly the eclectic collection gathered by one man.

      You won’t be surprised to learn that I’ve not heard of your Mr. Edmonds. Just about everything in New Zealand is new to me. I’ll have to remedy that.

      You’re right that this plant is in the same genus as the senna that people use as a laxative (but not the henna used as a cosmetic).

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 21, 2014 at 10:17 PM

  3. In this case, aiming straight down really worked well. There is so much interest, in line, shape, and color, all captured beautifully in the view from above.

    Susan Scheid

    May 21, 2014 at 9:23 PM

    • I’m usually such a stickler about not aiming down, but I have to remember not to get too locked into that attitude: sometimes it’s okay to look straight down. In fact I’ll have posted several downward-looking pictures here by the end of the month. Will wonders never cease?

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 21, 2014 at 10:21 PM


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