Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Cenizo bushes in bloom

with 7 comments

Dense Cenizo Flowers 0581

On Tuesday the cenizo bushes (Leucophyllum frutescens) all over Austin burst out into dense blossoms. I took this picture on Wednesday on Watering Rock Ln. in my neighborhood, but as prolific as the blooms were around town then, now they’ve already begun falling. That’s the way it goes with cenizo flowers: lush but not long-lived.

Although this shrub (also erroneously called Texas sage) is native farther west and south in the state, many people in Austin have planted it in their yards to enjoy several rounds of dense flowers each summer.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 1, 2014 at 5:57 AM

7 Responses

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  1. Beautiful blooms. Is frutescens similar in meaning to fruticans, meaning shrubby or bushy. I have teucrium fruticans in my garden.


    August 1, 2014 at 6:33 AM

    • Latin frutex meant ‘bush, shrub’, so frutescens does mean ‘forming a bush or shrub’. It’s tempting to think the word has something to do with fruit, but there’s no i in frutesecent, and in any case our word fruit came (via French) from Latin fructus. Not all that glitters is gold.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 1, 2014 at 7:31 AM

  2. Well, this is interesting. For the past three days, my most-read post has been the one about this plant, aka “the barometer bush”. Not only that, my search terms have been dominated by phrases including cenizo, purple sage, “bush that blooms when it rains”, “rain sage,” and so on. It was noticeable enough that I wondered if the plant had begun a significant bloom somewhere. Obviously, the answer is yes. I’m glad your neighborhood was one that got to enjoy it, and I’m glad you shared the photo.


    August 1, 2014 at 6:38 AM

    • I’m surprised that the cenizos near the coast haven’t been happily flowering away this week, because I’d have thought you’re close enough to Austin that the bushes would behave similarly in both places.

      Like you, I’ve sometimes noticed a spike in the number of times a certain post has gotten looked at, and often there’s a correlation with some of the search terms that have brought people to my blog that day. I’ve read that Google has been encrypting search terms for the past year, so there’s less to go on now than there used to be in understanding how people came here. Sounds like you’ve still gotten plenty of cenizo-related search terms, which makes me wonder if they came from search engines other than Google.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 1, 2014 at 7:45 AM

  3. Short durations just make the anticipation of the next bloom all the greater. These are lovely. Is there much of a scent?

    Steve Gingold

    August 1, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    • Yes, they have quite a noticeable scent. Other people may react differently to the flowers’ perfume, but I find it so strong as to be cloying and I don’t enjoy it. Out of curiosity I just did a search and the first hit took me to a blog on which someone said these flowers have only a faint scent. Oh well, a different nose will differently predispose.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 1, 2014 at 3:47 PM

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