Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Red paint comes in all colors, part 3

with 27 comments

Castilleja purpurea var. lindheimeri 6596

To complete the Castilleja purpurea trilogy I have to jump back to April 2nd, when I wandered in the greenbelt north of Old Lampasas Trail in Austin and was pleasantly surprised to find some Castilleja purpurea var. lindheimeri, which you can see comes in shades of orange.

If you’d like to learn a little more about this versatile species, all three of whose varieties have appeared here now, you can check out an article at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 20, 2014 at 5:59 AM

27 Responses

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  1. You saved the best till last. Beautiful photo.


    May 20, 2014 at 6:38 AM

    • And I found it just a few miles from home, instead of 130 miles away in Coleman. I’ll add that this was within sight of the colorful oak gall you saw here a month ago.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2014 at 7:01 AM

    • And speaking of saving this for last, I don’t understand why I didn’t include it as part of the series from April 2nd that highlighted not only the oak gall but also the bagworm morth larva. Obviously I couldn’t have known I’d soon find the other two varieties to combine this with.

      I suppose a general answer is that I photograph many more things than I can write up in this blog, so plenty of them get passed by.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2014 at 7:17 AM

      • Many things do get passed by, however, I am now building up a picture of oak gall, bagworm moth larva and red paint ( 😉 ) and it is very pleasing.


        May 20, 2014 at 8:22 AM

        • When you’ve completed your picture, I expect to see it posted on your blog.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 20, 2014 at 9:08 AM

          • Oh dear, now I’m in a fix. Actually I was wondering if you might oblige with a triptych creation. 🙂 (Triptych being an interesting word with references to folds or leaves.)


            May 21, 2014 at 1:21 AM

            • I don’t believe I’ve ever created a triptych in the usual sense of the word as a painting made up of three panels. I think it will have to remain a pigment of the imagination, whether yours or mine.

              Steve Schwartzman

              May 21, 2014 at 5:28 AM

  2. Not likely I will see it in Iowa.

    Jim in IA

    May 20, 2014 at 6:47 AM

    • No, none of the prairie paintbrush varieties are found as far north as Iowa. As I say so often, it’s one more reason for people to visit Texas in the spring.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2014 at 7:08 AM

  3. I really enjoyed this series…very clever. I don’t think I will think about red the same any more.


    May 20, 2014 at 7:05 AM

    • I’m glad to have played with your perceptions, Georgette, just as long as you keep stopping at red lights when you drive your car.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2014 at 7:22 AM

  4. You got this flower very beautifully. Well done, Steve.


    May 20, 2014 at 7:09 AM

    • Thanks, Bente. I was close to home and the ground wasn’t wet, so I could get down flat and do more photographic justice to this variety than to the other two on the rainy afternoon in Coleman. In particular, I was able to line up the most colorful parts of the two plants with the darker Ashe juniper trees in the background to make the color stand out even more.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2014 at 7:27 AM

  5. WOW! I think this is my favorite so far of the Red Paint series!

    Alex Autin

    May 20, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    • Thanks for the wow, Alex. You’re not alone in favoring this one out of the three. I had better conditions to work with when taking this photograph.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2014 at 9:10 AM

  6. Lovely. The out of focus bloom in the background pretty much mimics the main subject, which is a nice effect.

    Steve Gingold

    May 20, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    • I had that very effect in mind when I positioned the camera to line up the two prairie paintbrush plants.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2014 at 2:21 PM

  7. Have to tell you that I gasp out loud at some of these flower portraits – including this one 🙂

    The Camera's Eye

    May 20, 2014 at 4:04 PM

  8. Now, everything’s in focus. I’m fairly sure the yellow paintbrush I saw weren’t prairie paintbrush, but a color variation of Indian paintbrush. But the orange? They were this flower. No question. And I suppose it might not be sheer coincidence that they were so close to Nash Prairie. Conditions in that area might be more favorable for them.

    As an aside, I’ve been reading in Roemer’s account of his travels through Texas, and see that he met Lindheimer. It’s interesting to think of these flowers in the context of the larger history of that time.


    May 21, 2014 at 7:32 AM

    • The familiar Indian paintbrush has a slightly yellow to cream-colored variant that I see from time to time, including most recently last week, so that could well be what you saw. I’m glad this pictures clinched the identification of the orange for you.

      Yes, the history of Texas in the 1800s has lots of fascinating details. It’s understandable that many of the German botanists like Lindheimer, Roemer, and Engelmann knew one another, and much of their communication would have been in German. The non-German Olmstead, best known for designing Central Park in New York, also passed through central Texas. I’ve read a little about that period here but would like to read more.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 21, 2014 at 7:57 AM

  9. Woow * – * Beautiful picture! (And it worth for flowers too 😉 ) Come see mine if you have 2 minutes!


    May 23, 2014 at 6:53 AM

  10. […] Castilleja species I’ve seen in person or in pictures have had reddish-orange bracts. The closest in color that any central Texas Castilleja species comes to what you see in this […]

  11. I’m glad you linked to this old post. A stunning shot, Steve. I wish I could think of more creative words of admiration though. 🙂


    September 17, 2016 at 1:49 AM

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