Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for September 2014

Partridge pea with shadows

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Partridge Pea Flower 2122

Partridge pea flowers, Chamaecrista fasciculata, are attractive in their own right, but the shadows cast by this one on part of itself add to the appeal. I took this picture on August 8th near where Old Spicewood Springs Rd. crosses Bull Creek.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

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I’m out of town for a while. Of course you’re welcome to leave comments, but please understand if it takes me longer than usual to respond.

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 30, 2014 at 5:39 AM

Downy gaura seed stalk loop

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Downy Gaura Seed Stalk Looped by a Spider 2317

Do you remember the downy gaura (Gaura parviflora or Oenothera curtiflora) you saw with a soft cloud behind it the other day? (Sure you do.) Well here’s a seed stalk of that species that a spider had bent into a loop. When I took this picture on August 8th near where Old Spicewood Springs Rd. crosses Bull Creek I didn’t see the spider, but its silk says it had been there, and stalks of downy gaura don’t form loops by themselves.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

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I’m out of town for a while. Of course you’re welcome to leave comments, but please understand if it takes me longer than usual to respond.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 29, 2014 at 5:22 AM

Camphorweed bud opening

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Camphorweed Bud Opening by Prairie Verbena Flowers 1490

Click for greater clarity.

Another thing I photographed on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin on August 6th was this opening flower head of camphorweed, Heterotheca subaxillaris. The color in the background came from some prairie verbena, Glandularia bipinnatifida. And speaking of glands, notice the tiny drops of fragrant resin exuded by the camphorweed. The camphor in the popular name tells you what the resin smells like to some people.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

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I’m out of town for a while. Of course you’re welcome to leave comments, but please understand if it takes me longer than usual to respond.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 28, 2014 at 5:47 AM

Downy gaura and downy cloud

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Downy Gaura Flowers and Buds 1806

Still another thing I photographed on August 6th at a sump on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin was this wildflower known as downy gaura and velvetleaf gaura, based on the plant’s fuzziness. I’ve known this wildflower as Gaura parviflora (and previously as Gaura mollis), but in looking at a recent version of Bill Carr’s plant list for Travis County I was surprised to find that molecular analysis has led botanists to move all the species of Gaura (as well as those of Stenosiphon and Calylophus) into the genus Oenothera. Downy gaura is Oenothera curtiflora in the new classification.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

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I’m out of town for a while. Of course you’re welcome to leave comments, but please understand if it takes me longer than usual to respond.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 27, 2014 at 5:30 AM

Ludwigia capsule

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Ludwigia Capsule by Flower 1689

Oh yeah, and here’s what the distinctive seed “boxes” of Ludwigia octovalvis look like. This picture, like the last few, is from August 6th at a sumpy place I know on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin. To see the regions in the southeastern United States where this species grows, you can check out the USDA map.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

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I’m out of town for a while. Of course you’re welcome to leave comments, but please understand if it takes me longer than usual to respond.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 26, 2014 at 5:43 AM

Rosy purpe and pale lavender

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Most of the Ammannia plants I found on August 6th at the edge of a pond on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin had flowers of a rosy purple color:

Ammannia Flower Close 1563

A few of the plants, however, had flowers that were so pale a violet color as to seem almost white:

Ammannia with Pale Flowers 1577

These plants might be a different Ammannia species, A. robusta. If so, then I’ve doubled my fun by finding two species that were new to me at the same time.

Note once again the yellow flowers of Ludwigia octovalvis in the background.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

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I’m out of town for a while. Of course you’re welcome to leave comments, but please understand if it takes me longer than usual to respond.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 25, 2014 at 5:23 AM

A new species for me and probably for thee

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Ammannia Flowering 1557

Near the Ludwigia octovalvis that appeared in the last post (and a flower of which you can make out in the background of today’s picture) I found some erect plants of a type I don’t believe I’d ever seen before. Joe Marcus of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center identified them for me as a species of Ammannia, probably Ammannia coccinea. He also commented:

Ammannia is a genus that I very rarely see anywhere around central Texas, though it is definitely native here.  Not sure why they’re not more common around these parts.  I found some plants growing near Kyle once and that is my only encounter with it in the area.  They’re much more common in north Texas.  My sense of it is that they’re happiest in waste places – wet, waste places, of course.

A question, then, for those of you in the Austin area: have you ever come across this native plant?

As was the case last time, this picture comes from August 6th at the edge of a pond on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

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I’m out of town for a while. Of course you’re welcome to leave comments, but please understand if it takes me longer than usual to respond.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 24, 2014 at 5:00 AM

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