Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A closer look at rattan leaves turning yellow

with 17 comments

Rattan Vine Leaves Turning Yellow 0891

Click for better clarity and color.

And here from December 8th in Great Hills Park is a closer look at how colorful the leaves of the rattan vine, Berchemia scandens, can become in the fall, especially when backlit. Notice the clusters of little blue-black drupes that this vine produces at the end of the year. (A drupe is a fleshy fruit with a seed-containing shell inside it. Some familiar edible drupes are peaches, cherries, plums, mangos, apricots, and olives.)

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 17, 2014 at 5:51 AM

17 Responses

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  1. I really like how you have this backlit~it has lots of energy. I remember learning about drupes in botany class. To this day the word just tickles me 🙂

    melissabluefineart

    December 17, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    • About six autumns ago I first noticed colorful rattan leaves high up in a canopy with the sun above them, and since then I’ve taken advantage of backlighting to show off this vine’s leaves whenever I can. On the afternoon of December 8th I went to Great Hills Park with that in mind, and it took me only a short time to find the good lighting you see here. The hard part was getting a clear shot because from many vantage points lower tree branches got in the way.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 17, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      • You did a great job~ when I was looking at it I wondered how you got such a clear shot.

        melissabluefineart

        December 18, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        • I used a telephoto so I could aim through relatively narrow openings, but even then some of the nearby branches and foliage got in the way. The irregular, partly overgrown, and sloping ground that I had to walk around on as I looked for openings didn’t help.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 18, 2014 at 1:25 PM

  2. One could say the drupes droop…

    melissabluefineart

    December 17, 2014 at 11:01 AM

  3. Melissa beat me to it. Not a droopy picture at all.

    Steve Gingold

    December 17, 2014 at 5:24 PM

  4. Your mention of the olive as a drupe surprised me. I’d just never thought of it. It made me wonder about the avocado, and I learned that, despite that big seed, it’s not a drupe. It doesn’t have the hard covering around it. So, it’s a single-seeded berry.

    You’ve got a nice, layered look going here. The backlit leaves not only are beautiful, they’re a nice background for the drupes, that tend to disappear a little against the blue sky.

    shoreacres

    December 18, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    • It’s funny how common parlance can differ from scientific usage: who’d’ve believed an avocado is a berry?

      You’re right that without the backlit leaves the little drupes would largely disappear into the darker areas of the picture.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 18, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    • I forgot to mention that the word drupe itself is from Greek druppā, which meant ‘olive’.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 19, 2014 at 11:40 AM

  5. Drupe is a term brand new to me–and now I see shoreacres’ comment and learn also that the avocado doesn’t qualify as a drupe, but a berry! Who’da thunk it, indeed!

    Susan Scheid

    December 19, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    • I just added a follow-up to the previous comment and noted that the word drupe itself is from Greek druppā, which meant ‘olive’. If you want a bigger surprise, look up avocado and see what the original Aztec word meant. Yay, etymology!

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 19, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      • Oh my goodness! Etymology is the greatest, though, isn’t it? I just love that words have histories!

        Susan Scheid

        December 19, 2014 at 8:38 PM

        • Me too. And now if you want to double your botanical fun, look up orchid and see what the Greek original meant. (I promise no more homework after that.)

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 19, 2014 at 9:46 PM


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