Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A fourth year of search engine fun

with 47 comments

My three previous New Year’s Day posts presented curious search-engine strings that brought people to Portraits of Wildflowers in the preceding year. Here’s the latest installment in that January 1 tradition. Indented under each search string is my response to it.

I invite you to follow at least some of the 30 links to posts, the majority of which many of you won’t have seen before. They’ll give you more than enough visual stimulation for an otherwise pictureless day here.

If any of you crave above-and-beyond-the-call stimulation, you’re welcome to look back at the corresponding search-engine posts from New Year’s Day in 2012, 2013, and 2014.


bubttonbush or similar

It seems that search engines have lost none of their prowess in deciphering misspellings. In this case the searcher was after a buttonbush.

purple flower that looks like a pinnample

That led to a post about eryngo, which looks like a small purple pineapple, if not a pinnample.

texas wild flowers old mans bread

Old men, even bearded ones, don’t live by bread alone.

pretty poison meanung

That query led to a post called “Pretty poison, differently grown and differently hued,” but I doubt it had much meanung for the searcher.

bindvee purple flower pictures

That took the searcher to purple bindweed.

najvaho wld flowers

Now that’s a novel (but confused) spelling of Navajo. The search led to the wildflower colloquially called Navajo tea.

whine rock letus

Make that white rock lettuce, and let us not whine about it.

land bur imsge

I have no idea what this person intended with “land bur,” but the search engine led to an image that included some buffalo bur plants as a minor element in a landscape.

how does frostweed get the icecycles?

It rides wintry bicycles.

homeless man falls to death austin tx march 27 2014

By a strange coincidence, that led to my post from March 27, 2014, entitled Do the homeless appreciate wildflowers?

vines in mallorca purple flower

In the summer of 1985 I spent three weeks on the island of Mallorca. Is that enough of a connection to Mallorca for the search engine to have brought someone to my blog about nature in Texas almost three decades later?

gallus est divisio in tres partes

The literal translation of this bad Latin is: “The rooster is division into three parts.” I’d used the correct Latin quotation as the title of a post about a gall in an oak tree.

sex mania
sex maniya

This search string has come up multiple times every year, but only in 2014 with the maniya spelling. The post that the search engine led the undoubtedly let-down men (I assume) to shows a wildflower called zexmenia, which native plantophiles jokingly call sex mania.

scientific name of sexmania

Mania sexualis.

native plant vexmania

That’s a new variant this year, but I don’t feel maniacally vexed by it.

bill flower

I’ve got a billfold and birds have bills, but while I’ve posted pictures of flowers and birds’ bills, I’ve never used the word billflower. I have, however, shown a wildflower called stork’s bill.

yoon sung hyun

Turns out Yoon Sang-Hyun ia a Korean singer, but why a search engine would have routed someone looking for that singer to my blog is an inscrutable mystery of the Far East.

honduras so am flowers and fauna

At first I read so am as if it were the English words so and am, but then I realized the searcher meant South America. The only problem is that Honduras isn’t in South America. That reminds me of the story, perhaps apocryphal, of the guy who applied to the Peace Corps. Eventually he got a letter of acceptance that indicated his group would be sent to Honduras. “That’s great,” said the guy, “I’ve always wanted to go to Africa.”

how to plant four four nerve daisies

It might be simpler to plant one sixteen-nerve daisy.

what grass has purple zebra head

Beats me: I don’t even understand the question.

if you saw a flower with no petals would it still be a flower

If a tree falls in a forest and there’s no one around, does it still make a sound?

kool aid tree, image

I guess that would be a Texas mountain laurel.



spiderwort doesnt flower

Oh yes it does!

wildflowers don’t have buds

Oh yes they do!

purple wildflowers of western new york

Central Texas, western New York: we’re all one big happy family, right?

fascination deformed flower

Make that fasciation.

what is the fascination with robert plant.

I don’t know, but the searcher was taken to a post about a fasciated plant.

snow on a mountain flower

That led not to a picture of snow on a flower in the mountains but to snow-on-the-mountain flowers.

free to use photo buckeye butterfly

The search engine may think my picture of a buckeye butterfly is free for other people to use, but I beg to differ.

engelmannia peristenia ice cream plant

No, the Engelmann daisy doesn’t secrete ice cream nor does it look like any kind of ice cream I’ve ever seen. Apparently cows and other livestock find this species so tasty that people have referred to it as an ice cream plant, based on the human liking for ice cream.

in the month of may, where can i go in the texas hill country to view photographs about life in america for latinos?

Beats me.

texas thistle cirsium botanical art

Hooray! The search engine found that my picture of a Texas thistle is art.

predilected flower

That led to a post entitled Predilections, which mentioned the tendency in the Engelmann daisy of the ray flowers to curl under.

rattan fryit

You go ahead and fry it, but I think the rattan vine, being woody, is too tough for me to eat.

sad miss youpichers

I guess the searcher was looking for “pichers” (pictures) to illustrate the theme “I’m sad and I miss you,” but none of my posts that had been accessed that morning matched that theme.

luke middleton dewlap

Is Luke Middleton an anole?

vulture on tree ligying

I’ve seen and even photographed vultures on trees, but none of them were ligying. I guess vultures don’t like to ligy. I’ll bet most of you don’t like to ligy either.

what are 30 different kind of wild flowers in texas

We have to wonder why the searcher wanted 30. There are hundreds of native species of wildflowers in Texas.

 лишайники на деревьях москва

The Russian translates as “lichens on trees Moscow.” I’ve showed lichens on trees in Austin, but as far as I know, even though Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, it still hasn’t taken over Texas.

funnel of death

That certainly sounds ominous. I have no idea what the searcher was after, but one of my posts offered up a spider in a funnel web, which is death for insects that come too close.

+identify bardness of the hair

Even if you grant that h is close to b on the keyboard, it’s hard to know if the person was really looking for “hardness of the hair.” Or maybe an East Asian was looking for “baldness of the hair.” In any case, I write some verses from time to time, so I guess my bardness is intact.

the buds begin to open

Which buds? Any old buds? Couldn’t you be a little more specific?

firewheel fun facts

The post that this led to mentioned that while photographing a firewheel I got my first two fire ant bites of the year. Was that supposed to be a fun fact?

rare goldfish breeds

The word goldfish has never appeared in any of my posts, nor would it be likely to, because goldfish are native to Asia, not Texas.

austin’s butterfly

Gee, I thought we have more than one butterfly in Austin.

blue eyed grass not doing well

But the picture that the seeker was led to shows blue-eyed grass thriving.

blubonnet photos by richard reynolds

Richard Reynolds is an excellent nature photographer, and he’s photographed bluebonnets, but this isn’t his blog.

can i see a picture of a cactus flower with yellow blue bonnet

I’ve often thought bluebonnet flowers look purple, but that’s a far cry from yellow.

how many brown eyed susans flowers are there in georgia

You expect someone to have gone out and counted them?

word sort of rainbow

Did the person mean a weird sort of rainbow? I have no idea, but the search led to a different sort of rainbow.

where canibuymexicanwildtophatflower

I don’t know, but the next time Walmart has a sale on spaces, I hope you stock up on a bunch so you can separate your words properly.

what kind of flower or plant leaves a skeleton like cockus


portraiys of white squirrels

Yes, I did “portraiy” a white squirrel.

downy guara daves

How about downy gaura Steve’s?

scwartzman the photographer
steve scwartzmman, photo

That which we call a photographer, by any other spelling would be as good.

photography blog of austin steven

Maybe this person didn’t know how to spell my last name. In any case, when I tried that search string with Google on the morning of December 10, the day it appeared, my blog was the seventh hit. Yay, me!

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman in Austin

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 1, 2015 at 1:35 AM

47 Responses

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  1. Oh my, you do have interesting search engine terms. What am I doing wrong? Mine are all plain items like “fruit sponge” or ” custard”. No fun at all.


    January 1, 2015 at 3:00 AM

  2. That was fun! Beautiful show of some remarkable flowers and critters. Thanks for a great year of eye-popping photos. I never knew the flower kingdom could be so diverse in a single state or area. You have made me look closer in mine. Happy New Year and happy snapping.


    January 1, 2015 at 6:27 AM

    • I’m glad you found this post fun, Dianne, and much more so that my close looks at nature here prompted you to look more closely in your area. I’m likely to keep up the happy snapping you mentioned and I’ll also be on my guard to avoid the kind of snapping that announces the giving way of whatever I’m standing on for support.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2015 at 7:39 AM

  3. Happy New Year!!! Hope it’s full of flowery beauty :).


    January 1, 2015 at 6:32 AM

  4. Some of those are pretty funny. The google does a good job of trying to make a connection.

    Thanks, Steve Austin, for that post.

    Jim in IA

    January 1, 2015 at 7:22 AM

    • You’re welcome. Do you recall any funny or bizarre search engine terms you’ve gotten?

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2015 at 7:46 AM

      • I don’t look them over much. But, since you asked…here are some.

        what part of the mole thats in a jar
        wiki shrew mn
        is there permafrost in iowa
        download theme sped mph untuk jar
        preposterous precipitation
        computers for heavenly bodies

        Jim in IA

        January 1, 2015 at 8:09 AM

        • That’s a great set—and maybe we’ll find a set of untuk jars in a clearance sale of Christmas merchandise.

          My perception from down south is that there is permafrost in Iowa, but I know you hardier folks will dispute that. The precipitation this morning in Austin isn’t preposterous, but the rain has ruined any hope that the ground would get covered in white.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 1, 2015 at 8:21 AM

          • Here is a good joke about the cold winters up here.

            Ole and Lena lived on a farm in extreme southern MN their whole lives. The IA border ran right along the south edge of their yard. One day, surveyors from the state came by to check the state line markers. After a couple of hours of work, they knocked on the house door.

            “There has been a mistake. The state line was marked wrong all these years. It will now be on the north side of your yard instead. Sorry for the bad news.”

            Ole and Lena quietly consulted for a couple of minutes. Then Ole spoke.

            “Dats ok. Veve been getting tired of the long Minnesota vinters anyvay. It vill be a nice change.”

            Jim in IA

            January 1, 2015 at 9:34 AM

            • Good story: if only it were that easy to leave the frigid winters behind.

              Steve Schwartzman

              January 1, 2015 at 10:11 AM

            • Ole and Lena?! My Christmas is complete!


              January 3, 2015 at 9:11 AM

              • I just remembered that one reason many Scandinavians settled in Minnesota was that the cold winters reminded them of their home countries. As a result, they probably wouldn’t have wanted to get away from the long winters, but we’re certainly not going to let history interfere with a good joke.

                I’m reminded, too, that Lena is the name of a river in Siberia; in fact it’s the 11th longest river in the world. This talk of frigid places now also reminds me that one of my high school math teachers used to ask a zen-like question: is it colder in the winter or in the city?

                Steve Schwartzman

                January 3, 2015 at 10:09 AM

  5. Gosh, already four lists? Time does fly. Happy New Year, Steve!

    • Happy New Year to you too, Angela, and a happy anniversary of newly regained life for you.

      I started this blog in June of 2011, so although the span is less than four years I’ve hit New Year’s Day four times.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2015 at 7:54 AM

  6. 🙂
    Happy New Year!


    January 1, 2015 at 9:53 AM

  7. I LOVE your crazy New Year tradition, makes such a change from the annual round-ups (mea culpa) and starts of the year with a laugh! All the best Steve, I look forward to your gorgeous photos for another year.
    Jude xx


    January 1, 2015 at 3:15 PM

    • Hey, Jude, thanks for checking in and letting me know you like the lighthearted change of pace. The prognosis for 2015 is indeed more nature pictures to come. A prosperous New Year to you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2015 at 9:01 PM

  8. Your great wit is only surpassed by your skills in photography. Thanks for the chuckles. Kathy Henderson

    kathy henderson

    January 1, 2015 at 4:20 PM

    • You’re welcome for the chuckles, Kathy, and thanks for appreciating the pictures that keep appearing here. There’s more to come.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2015 at 9:02 PM

  9. These are hilarious! I’m guessing the ‘fascination with robert plant’ (herb robert) is its stinky smell!


    January 1, 2015 at 5:24 PM

    • I’m glad you like these strange queries, Hannah. Thanks for your suggestion that the smell of herb robert is its fascinating feature. I didn’t know anything about that plant, but Wikipedia says that “in the state of Washington, it is known as Stinky Bob.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2015 at 9:10 PM

      • Haha we like to call it ‘stank robert’ 🙂 it is a remarkable plant though! Herbalists like it, despite its stink.


        January 1, 2015 at 10:12 PM

        • There are some native plants in my area that don’t smell good, either. One that comes to mind is sometimes called stinking gourd.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 2, 2015 at 7:43 AM

  10. I also enjoy seeing the crazy search terms that you’ve posted. They start the year with a good laugh!



    January 1, 2015 at 6:15 PM

    • Hi, Nancy. As long as WordPress has let me know what some of the search terms have been, I’ve felt I should pass the good (which is to say strange) ones along to you. Happy 2015.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2015 at 9:04 PM

  11. Pretty funny. I’ll have to figure out how to do this for my site. Happy New Yew to you. D

    Pairodox Farm

    January 2, 2015 at 2:28 AM

    • When I go to the stats page (at least in its old style), there’s a section on the left called Search Engine Terms.

      And a Happy New You, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 2, 2015 at 7:46 AM

  12. These posts always make me smile 🙂

    Emily Scott

    January 2, 2015 at 5:40 PM

    • If you take the first letter of your last name, add it to your first name, and then rearrange the letters, you can be Smiley.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 2, 2015 at 11:29 PM

  13. You know what’s new, and great, about your list for this year? I could visualize almost every plant as I went through the search terms and your responses — without looking! Granted, I’ll probably come across them in the field and have to puzzle over a few, or find I can’t call up their name without my books, but still: it’s a great reminder of just how much I’ve learned here over the years. Many thanks for all your efforts. I suspect the wildflowers appreciate it, too.


    January 3, 2015 at 9:19 AM

    • Congratulations on your progress. I feel a similar way. When I started photographing native plants here in 1999, I could distinguish only a handful (including the bluebonnet, pink evening primrose, and Indian paintbrush). After that first year, thanks to several field guides and some palling around with native plant people, the number of species I could identify had gone way up. The work now is a lot harder, so I’m happy when I get to add a few new species each year. Let’s hope the wildflowers do appreciate it, as you suspect.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 3, 2015 at 10:21 AM

  14. Your wry comments double the pleasure!!

    Susan Scheid

    January 3, 2015 at 11:42 AM

  15. PS: I may have said this before, but I was talking to my Mom in San Diego the other day, and she said once again how much she enjoyed your posts, including, I might add, the always informative and often witty texts!

    Susan Scheid

    January 3, 2015 at 11:44 AM

    • Thanks for letting me know about you mother’s appreciation of these posts, Susan. Speaking of San Diego, I spent 13 weeks there in the latter part of 1967 when I was in the Peace Corps training program that led to my two years in Honduras; that’s importantly the place where I became a teacher, which is to say an informative (to borrow you mother’s word) person. In the 1970s, at the end of graduate school, a recruiter for the San Diego public schools offered me a math teaching job there, but he couldn’t guarantee the sorts of classes I’d be given, so I turned down the offer. I’ve sometimes wondered in the decades since then what my life would be like now if I’d accepted and moved to San Diego. I imagine you’ve had your share of what-if moments too. If you’ve reported on any of them, perhaps you can provide links.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 3, 2015 at 11:59 AM

      • A man of courage, I’d say–and it sounds like you chose right! I tend to slide past the what if’s (although there are plenty) and try to keep on with the what’s next.

        Susan Scheid

        January 3, 2015 at 6:18 PM

  16. Those were great! I look forward to these posts!

    Michael Glover

    January 4, 2015 at 4:50 PM

    • Thanks for letting me know you like them, Michael. I already have my first item for next year.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 4, 2015 at 7:20 PM

  17. Uhhh…*what*????? So many bizarre and ridiculous attempts. Thank goodness they led these poor souls to a place where they could at least receive a bit of enlightenment, whether they knew they needed it or not. Maybe there’s hope. In any case, there are plenty of laughs! Excellent way to start a new year, laughing. Thanks! And may your 2015 be fabulous. 😀


    January 5, 2015 at 8:29 PM

    • You’re generous in casting this blog as a place of enlightenment, but I have to assume that most of the people who used those search strings were disappointed with what they found here (especially the ones who were after sex mania). My main disappointment is that, according to what I’ve read, some search engines are encrypting their search strings, so some of the best ones may not be reaching me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 5, 2015 at 9:00 PM

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