Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A field trip to Bastrop State Park

with 28 comments

Tradescantia subacaulis Flowers with Raindrops 1630

The photograph of a dwarf dandelion in yesterday morning’s post was from an April 27th field trip to Bastrop State Park led by botanist Bill Carr. Bastrop lies about 30 miles (50 km) east of Austin, not far as drivers reckon distances, but quite a different world when it comes to plants. The ground is often sandy there, and as a result many species grow in Bastrop that don’t grow in nearby Austin. Today’s post and a bunch that follow—a whopping three weeks’ worth—will show you some of the things we saw on that field trip, beginning with a few of the ones that don’t grow in Austin and were new to me.

The picture above shows Tradescantia subacaulis, a species of spiderwort. The subdued tonality of the photograph and the drops of water on the flowers tell you that we had some drizzle early in the field trip, but fortunately it didn’t last long. If you’d like to compare the color of the kind of spiderwort I’m used to seeing in Austin, you can, and as a bonus there’s a pair of double-decker syrphid flies in it for you.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 8, 2014 at 5:58 AM

28 Responses

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  1. The raindrops have a certain delicacy and decorum that the syrphid flies do not. 😀


    June 8, 2014 at 6:08 AM

  2. Insect porn @ the link. And, on a Sunday morning. Wow!

    Jim in IA

    June 8, 2014 at 7:06 AM

  3. always a joy.


    June 8, 2014 at 7:09 AM

  4. I am glad that you posted this. I have it planted outside of my front door and I always forget what it is called! Glad to be reminded.


    June 8, 2014 at 7:27 AM

    • oh yes, i just went to locate my links for this plant, now that I know its name again…
      The spiderwort is a good pollution tracker. The color goes lighter and even to a pink, in toxin filled environments!


      June 8, 2014 at 7:30 AM

      • I hadn’t heard that about spiderworts. Between the last sentence and this one I learned that the species shown here is endemic to Texas, meaning that it grows nowhere else.

        Steve Schwartzman

        June 8, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    • That’s an opportune reminder for you. Several species of spiderwort grow in central Texas, but I wouldn’t have known which one this is were it not for the leader of our field trip, especially as this species doesn’t grow in Austin.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 8, 2014 at 7:44 AM

  5. Ces deux petites fleurs sont attendrissantes.. superbe Steve!


    June 8, 2014 at 11:35 AM

  6. So nice, and so strange flowers.


    June 8, 2014 at 3:29 PM

  7. Steve, do you think you could help out a fellow blogger friend of mine in identifying a wildflower?
    Cheers, Jude xx


    June 8, 2014 at 4:56 PM

  8. We have spiderworts along our driveway as well as a few other spots. I love them but not so Mary Beth as they are quite prolific. But they are also hard to eradicate as just the tiniest bit of root is enough to start a new colony. Ours are the Virginia Spiderwort and aside from the rich blue and gold they are sometimes pale blue/white.

    Steve Gingold

    June 8, 2014 at 7:52 PM

    • Yes, they are prolific, and to my mind that’s a good thing because I love the fragrance of spiderwort flowers, along with their colors and the intricate shapes of the structures that produce the flowers.

      I’ve noticed that many purple flowers have occasional white (or almost white) variants, and that’s true for the spiderworts here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 8, 2014 at 9:04 PM

  9. It is neat how this spiderwort has the downy adaptation to dry conditions, as compared to the smooth stems of the ones we have growing here in wetlands.


    June 9, 2014 at 11:34 AM

  10. Interesting the different micro-systems (I’m probably not using the proper term) within such a short span of distance, isn’t it?

    Susan Scheid

    June 13, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    • From what I’ve heard people who know about such things say, geology is a big factor. The Texas Hill Country (which begins on the west side of Austin and goes west from there, is underlain by limestone, so a lot of the plants that grow in that region thrive on calcium-rich soil. The land near Bastrop has a different makeup and therefore many different plants. At the same time, plenty of species are less specialized and grow in both regions.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 13, 2014 at 5:37 PM

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