Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Prairie parsley

with 38 comments

Prairie Parsley with Firewheels and Basket-Flowers 9564

In June you saw a wondrous colony of basket-flowers (Centaurea americana) with some firewheels (Gaillardia pulchella) on a piece of prairie at the intersection of Meister Ln. and Schulz Ln. in southernmost Round Rock. In today’s photograph from that May 28th session, those two wildflowers yield pride of place to a Texas parsley plant in full bloom. Apparently botanists disagree whether there’s a single species, Polytaenia nuttallii, or two species, with Polytaenia texana being the other. Hey, I’m just a photographer, so expect me to take pictures but not a side in that question. You could also say I’m better at parsing a sentence than a parsley.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 18, 2014 at 5:58 AM

38 Responses

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  1. Your parsing is excellent. I envy it more than your parsley.


    July 18, 2014 at 6:11 AM

    • Good to see you’re not parsimonious in your partiality to parsing, even if parsley plays no part.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 18, 2014 at 7:27 AM

      • Indeed, but it’s always possible that chewing parsley whilst parsing might be beneficial to the person parsing.


        July 18, 2014 at 7:47 AM

        • Provided the person parsing picked culinary parsley for his plate. After I pursed my lips for a piece of prairie parsley once, my palate permanently postponed any further pursuit.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 18, 2014 at 8:02 AM

          • Prairie parsley is not palatable?


            July 18, 2014 at 8:17 AM

            • No, not palatable (at least not to this prairie promenader).

              And now I’m reminded of:

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 18, 2014 at 9:10 AM

              • What fun to be reminded of Danny Kaye. When I lived in New York State I went to visit his bench at Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Danny_Kaye


                July 19, 2014 at 12:01 AM

                • I had no idea you once resided in the state where I grew up. How did that come about?

                  My sister lives in Larchmont, which is in the same county (Westchester) as Valhalla. Perhaps the next time I visit New York I’ll go to the Kenisco Cemetery. It sounds as if you went there expressly to see Danny Kaye’s grave.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 19, 2014 at 8:11 AM

                • Yes, we lived for about 3 years (not consecutively) in White Plains, New York. I really loved it. I also spent some time in Manhattan and Valhalla in 1977/78 in my pre-marriage days. Loved that experience too. I think we went to Danny Kaye’s bench with a friend who once worked with UNICEF and knew Maurice Pate, who was the UNICEF Director who convinced Danny Kaye to be its Ambassador. Here’s me in Valhalla in 1978 http://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/3677/


                  July 19, 2014 at 8:55 AM

                • Of parsley and parsing and humour, I think you will appreciate this article and video clip. http://www.salon.com/2014/07/16/word_crimes_is_the_greatest_english_lesson_ever/


                  July 19, 2014 at 8:12 PM

                • Thanks for the link and the song there about language by Weird Al Yankovic. I’d heard of him but hadn’t ever listened to a song of his. You won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve been talking and writing about some of those mistakes for over 30 years. Few high school “graduates” in the United States today can write a paragraph that makes sense and isn’t full of mistakes.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 19, 2014 at 11:13 PM

                • I am not surprised at all about your teaching efforts or the inability of high school graduates to write a well-written paragraph. However, it is encouraging that, in the 5 days since Word Crimes was released, the video has received more than 8 million views. Exactly what 8 million views means, I am not sure, but, at the very least, it suggests that the language/grammar/spelling debate is alive and well, as is our sense of fun.


                  July 19, 2014 at 11:31 PM

              • What a hilarious clip! I clicked the YouTube link so I could see more info and also comments. Heck of a lot of tongue twisters to learn. The magnetism nearer the end was also amusing.


                July 19, 2014 at 7:27 AM

                • It’s good to see that you were mesmerized by all that, Wanda. I’m impressed that he could memorize all the mistaken versions and rattle them off so quickly.

                  I see that the Austin Public Library has a DVD of The Court Jester, in case you’d like to see the whole movie. (All copies are currently checked out, but you can place a hold for the first one that becomes available.)

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 19, 2014 at 8:20 AM

                • Steve, can’t seem to reply directly to your rec about Court Jester availability at the library. The movie is now in the Netflix queue.

                  You MUST get to know Weird Al better. He’s been doing parodies since the early 80s. Very intelligent guy who’s a Cal Poly Tech architect grad. (He actually graduated from HS at 15 and was valedictorian.) We’re lucky he got into the comedy music career. Check out Fat, Another One Rides the Bus, Perform this Way, and many others.


                  July 21, 2014 at 8:07 AM

                • Let me know what you think about the movie once Netflix sends it your way. I haven’t seen the whole film, just the excerpted part.

                  Okay, I’ll check out Weird Al. I’ve been aware of his name for decades but somehow I didn’t know the kinds of songs he writes. The words of the one sample I’ve heard remind me of Tom Lehrer.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 21, 2014 at 8:44 AM

  2. this is a beautiful capture and the colours are serene and well the entire photo is eye-catching. well done. eve


    July 18, 2014 at 6:50 AM

  3. Reminds me of the Queen Anne’s Lace that are starting to bloom around here. Same family.

    Jim in IA

    July 18, 2014 at 7:31 AM

    • Yes, it is the same family. Botanists used to call it Umbelliferae, for the “umbrellas” of flowers these plants produce. I’ll provide a closer look at that structure next time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 18, 2014 at 7:41 AM

  4. Sweetly enticing to view.


    July 18, 2014 at 7:49 AM

  5. Marvelous shot! I always liked fields which extend far and wide filled with wild specimens of many kind, there is something very serene to gaze over such a beautifully colored, abundant field!


    July 18, 2014 at 10:50 AM

  6. I love your humor almost as much as I love your photography. Keep it coming! Kathy Henderson

    kathy henderson

    July 18, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    • Will do, Kathy. Because that humor comes from my mind, it has the fringe benefit of being native.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 18, 2014 at 1:55 PM

  7. Truly beautiful meadow.


    July 18, 2014 at 3:54 PM

  8. It looks just like a painting, I love this picture Steve. Nous avons aussi des centaurées sauvages (non américaines :lol:) et des gaillardes mais ces dernières sont cultivées dans les jardins.


    July 18, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    • Quelle peinture que la nature, n’est-ce pas? Et quelle joie d’avoir ici des gaillardes sauvages.

      La semaine prochaine je vais mentionner (mais pas montrer!) une centaurée européenne.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 18, 2014 at 7:11 PM

  9. So, do you prefer your prairie oyster with or without prairie parsley? I’d say wash it down with the brew in the chalice with the palace.

    Steve Gingold

    July 18, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    • No prairie oysters for this non-carnivore, I’m afraid—and glad!

      I’m glad you took a look at the Danny Kaye scene. I don’t remember it from 1955, when the movie came out, but first saw it only recently.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 18, 2014 at 7:20 PM

      • I was just starting to watch adult movies then…and by that you know what I don’t mean…but no Danny Kaye until much later and never saw this until the scene you shared. I think the first movie I saw was “The Beast from 20,000 fathoms at the drive-in…the WHAT?…and ended up hiding in the back seat.

        How about that, one century per fathom. Fathom that.

        Steve Gingold

        July 18, 2014 at 7:30 PM

        • I fathomed what you meant and didn’t mean by adult movies. In the 1950s there were so many films about monsters stirred up by atomic bombs. I remember “Them” and “The Creature from the Black Lagoon,” both of which I think I saw when they were new. A double-feature matinee at the local movie theater cost all of 25¢ for a child back then.

          I noticed this line in your movie trailer: “Who knows what waits for us in nature’s no-man’s-land?” I hope nothing insidious—at least nothing more insidious than chiggers—is waiting for me when I go tramping about the land to take my pictures.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 18, 2014 at 8:33 PM

          • I noticed that line too. Throughout the ages there has always been a fear of the known and unknown in nature whether spiders or monsters which still exists today although maybe to a lesser extent.

            Steve Gingold

            July 19, 2014 at 3:29 AM

            • If only chiggers and mosquitoes (and for your sake ticks) could be here to a lesser extent!

              Spiders and snakes are two biggies among the things that people are afraid of.

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 19, 2014 at 8:24 AM

  10. […] a closer look at Polytaenia nuttallii, called prairie parsley, on a piece of the Blackland Prairie east of Interstate 35 in far north Austin on June 27th. In […]

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