Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 21 comments

Prairie Agalinis Flower 5937

Two days ago I went on my first nature photo outing of the new month: from Austin’s northern suburb of Cedar Park comes this prairie agalinis flower, Agalinis heterophylla, a sure sign of September in central Texas.

You may have noticed that many recently posted photographs here have been from July or early August. There are more to come from that period because even after skipping over plenty of things from previous months I’m still backlogged. (Better an embarrassment of riches than a poverty of pictures, right?) In any case, while I keep mining the past, I thought I’d slip in this current photograph as a herald of autumn, despite the fact that a few hours after I took this picture on Wednesday the temperature got up to around 101°F, or 38°C.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 5, 2014 at 5:42 AM

21 Responses

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  1. Is that the Agalinis that ate Houston? My gosh, what a giant.

    I think you are experiencing backblogging. I do a lot of that when winter comes around.

    Steve Gingold

    September 5, 2014 at 6:28 AM

    • Sorry to disillusion you, Steve, but this isn’t Agalinis godzillaensis, but rather a macro view of a flower that averages about an inch in length.

      That’s a good word, backblogging. I can see where that would happen when the weather is bleak or harsh, as in your northern winter, and you don’t want to go out in it (and neither do most plants).

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 5, 2014 at 7:26 AM

  2. I can hear the music sounding forth from this herald of autumn.


    September 5, 2014 at 6:47 AM

  3. Great perspective to capture such a sweet gift of nature.


    September 5, 2014 at 6:50 AM

  4. Beautiful colors, as always. You are lucky to be experiencing such an embarrassment of riches (and I do indeed like Steve’s newly-coined term, backblogging). I, alas, am experiencing the obverse … a total lack of blog-fodder. I suppose makes me a fodder-less-blogger? How sad, how sad. D

    Pairodox Farm

    September 5, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    • Cheer up: autumn is imminent (much more so in Pennsylvania than central Texas), and with it will come goldenrod, colorful leaves on the trees, asters, and I’m sure many other pleasant subjects that you’ll find food for fine fall photography (oh, those six initial f-sounds, and another if you count the one at the end).

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 5, 2014 at 8:56 AM

      • I really enjoy the fun you have with words, but I’m flat-footed when it comes to rejoinders 🙂


        September 5, 2014 at 9:03 AM

        • And we’ll have fun fun fun till some word-foe takes our alliteration away (and think about the initial sounds in Beach Boys).

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 5, 2014 at 9:31 AM

  5. Lovely. Yesterday I was tempted to share a photo of the Agalinis tenuifolia that I finally found after 3 seasons of searching, but it is a slender little thing that my camera declined to focus on. Could it be wearing out, do you think?


    September 5, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    • I checked up on Agalinis tenuifolia and found it looks a lot like the species shown here.

      Camera autofocus systems can be finicky and they easily get confused by certain patterns. Even my expensive camera acts that way at times. When it goes in and out several times but fails to lock focus, I turn off the autofocus and focus manually (which is how I worked for decades anyhow, before cameras had autofocus). No focusing mechanism is as good as your eye (assuming the camera has an optical viewfinder for you to look through and make fine adjustments).

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 5, 2014 at 9:15 AM

  6. You have really captured the essence of what makes this flower special; love the color and the detail.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    September 5, 2014 at 1:11 PM

  7. Stunning.

    Raewyn's Photos

    September 5, 2014 at 4:02 PM

  8. This reminds me of an orchid. I think it must be the spots. Is it my imagination, or is only one of the little lobes spotted on the outside? I looked at some other photos, but they only show a spotted interior. (Ah, ha! It’s foxglove that it reminds me of — I never would have made the connection, were it not for the common name, “prairie false foxglove.”)


    September 5, 2014 at 10:02 PM

    • You raise a good point. As far as I can tell, you’re right that only one lobe has the spots. I looked back at the other pictures I took there, and a view from above shows spots in the throat of one flower, but from that angle I can’t see the outsides of the lobes. In a photo showing two flowers at the same time, each appears to have spots on the outside of only one lobe, but I can’t be certain. The next time I encounter some of these flowers I’ll take a closer look.

      Yes, these flowers do look like those of foxglove, hence the “false” in the name you cited (which I can’t say I’ve ever heard anyone in Austin use, but vernacular names vary so much).

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 5, 2014 at 10:34 PM

  9. That’s way too hot. You must be looking forward to the change even more than most of us. We’ve finally had some relief, with nighttime lows in the mid-60s for the past couple of nights. Sure helps sleeping!


    September 6, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    • It may be hot in the summer here but we don’t have to put up with months of frigid temperatures and bleak skies in the winter.

      In any case, happy autumn sleeping to you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 6, 2014 at 4:04 PM

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