Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for October 2014

One good turn[ing of the leaves] deserves another [and closer view]

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Aspen Trees Turning Color 0858

The previous post showed aspen trees, Populus tremuloides, in the San Juan Mountains as viewed from US 550 north of Durango, Colorado, on September 25th. Eventually, as you see here, I came to places with good fall color right along the highway. The evergreens appear to be a species of spruce.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 21, 2014 at 5:44 AM

Aspens turning yellow

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Aspen Trees Turning Yellow on Mountain 0834

From Albuquerque we drove north and arrived in Durango, Colorado, on the afternoon of September 25th. After checking into our motel, and with several hours of daylight left, I decided to drive north on US 550, and am I glad I did. The dots along that route on the AAA map weren’t lying about the scenery as we slowly climbed into the San Juan Mountains. Before long I had my first chance ever to see some of Colorado’s aspen trees, Populus tremuloides, turning yellow. The biggest and brightest stands were initially up in the surrounding mountains, but I used my longest lens to bring the trees (visually) closer.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 20, 2014 at 5:32 AM

Hoary tansyasters

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Hoary tansyasters 0118

One of the most conspicuous plants I saw flowering in many places around Albuquerque was the hoary tansyaster, formerly known scientifically as Machaeranthera canescens and now as Dieteria canescens. By whatever name, vernacular or botanical, these flowers surprised my by flourishing and being so widespread in the dry climate of central New Mexico, because I’d always associated asters with more moisture than a desert provides: shows how much I know.

Today’s view is from Petroglyph National Monument in northwest Albuquerque on September 23rd. Tomorrow’s post will skip ahead two days to southwestern Colorado and quite a different source of color.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 19, 2014 at 5:46 AM

Apache plume really is in the rose family

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Apache Plume Flower 0061A

In case you’re having trouble believing that the plant you saw last time, the Apache plume with all the swirly strands, really is in the rose family, this picture of one of the plant’s flowers might convince you. Perhaps the paradoxa in the scientific name Fallugia paradoxa is a reflection of that surprising reality.

Like the previous photograph, this one comes from Petroglyph National Monument in northwest Albuquerque on September 23rd.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 18, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Apache plume

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Apache Plume Strands 0055

When I first saw pictures of Fallugia paradoxa, known as Apache plume, in a blog post a few years ago, I thought I was looking at a species of Clematis. That’s what convergent evolution can do. But no, Apache plume turns out to be in the rose family, and I finally got to see one of those plants in person at the Petroglyph National Monument in northwest Albuquerque on September 23.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 18, 2014 at 5:30 AM

A spectacle, but not your conventional spectacles

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Spectacle Pod Fasciated 0315A

Two-and-a-half hours after I learned about the existence of spectacle pod, Dimorphocarpa wislizeni, on September 23rd outside the visitor center at Petroglyph National Monument in northwest Albuquerque, I came across a fasciated specimen in the Piedras Marcadas section of the national monument. Long-time readers of this blog know the fascination of fasciation, but those of you who are unfamiliar with this type of weird growth are welcome to read a few articles about it:

What Is Fasciation?

Fasciation

Fasciated Plants (Crested Plants)

The spectacle pod in today’s photograph was the first of four fasciated plants I saw on my trip through the Southwest. One of the other specimens was on a smaller scale, but the other two were gigantic, the largest I’ve ever come across or even heard about, as you’ll see in a future post.

By the way, the flattened “ribbon” of this spectacle pod keeps reminding me of the similarly shaped bundle of wires inside the dot-matrix ImageWriter printer I got in 1985. I hadn’t thought of it in years, but the comparison strikes me as apt.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 17, 2014 at 4:37 AM

Spectacle pod

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Spectacle Pod Flowers 0149

Here’s a plant in the mustard family, Dimorphocarpa wislizeni, that’s commonly known as spectacle pod because of the curiously shaped little seed capsules it produces. I got acquainted with this species on September 23rd at Petroglyph National Monument in northwest Albuquerque. Apparently an insect had gotten acquainted with a few of the petals before me.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 16, 2014 at 5:31 AM

20 minutes later

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Afternoon Clouds over the Sandia Mountains 0408

This post is coming to you 20 minutes after the last one because it shows the clouds I saw over the Sandia Mountains 20 minutes later than the ones in the previous post.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 15, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Sandia Mountains in the afternoon

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Afternoon Clouds over the Sandia Mountains 0405

Each of the three mornings that we spent in Albuquerque dawned with the clear sky that people strongly associate with the Southwest, but each afternoon saw a buildup of impressive cumulus clouds over the Sandia Mountains to the east of the city. Especially after yesterday’s post about sand sagebrush you might think the name of those mountains has something to do with sand or sandy, but that’s not the case: sandía is the Spanish word for watermelon.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 15, 2014 at 5:40 AM

Sand sagebrush

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Sand Sagebrush Plant 0333

As I drove west on Interstate 40 toward Albuquerque, I began to notice occurrences of a grayish-green plant that seemed to grow in a distinctively scraggly way. At Petroglyph National Monument on September 23rd I learned that the plant is sand sagebrush, Artemisia filifolia. At your respiratory peril I’ll tell you that plants in the genus Artemisia are wind-pollinated, just like their cousins in the genus Ambrosia, i.e. ragweeds.

To see the places in the (mostly) west-central United States where sand sagebrush grows, you can check out the USDA map.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 14, 2014 at 5:30 AM

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