Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Back in Texas

with 13 comments

Desert Marigold and Other Wildflowers 3925

October 4, 2014, was the last day of my Great Southwest Trip, and it was spent entirely in Texas. A few hours east of El Paso along Interstate 10 but still in the western part of the state and hundreds of miles from home, I pulled over and photographed these wildflowers by the side of the highway. The prominent yellow heads are desert marigolds, Baileya multiradiata, which don’t grow as far east as central Texas. The white heads at the left are blackfoot daisies, Melampodium leucanthum, which do grow in Austin. The violet-colored flowers appear to be verbena, but I can’t be specific.

This photograph, which is more documentary than artistic, bears witness to the fact that dry and nondescript plots of ground in Texas can still be home to several or even many species of wildflowers. The Lone Star State might well be called the Long Stare State for appreciators of wildflowers, who are often left in a state of admiration.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 31, 2015 at 5:39 AM

13 Responses

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  1. I followed Mary Beth’s advice and remained indoors and warm this morning (6°F and very windy) so appreciate yet another nice warming Texas image. Thanks!

    Steve Gingold

    January 31, 2015 at 7:15 AM

    • We had a very nice day yesterday with sunshine, no wind, and a high of 30˚. We went for a long walk. There is a winter storm warning out for tonight and tomorrow with snow 7-11″ and high winds. Models are predicting 14″ all around us.

      We will send this system east for your enjoyment once we are finished with it. 🙂

      Jim in IA

      January 31, 2015 at 8:47 AM

    • You’re welcome for the warmth, and it sounds like you did the right thing by staying close to hearth and home, as the expression goes, when it was 6° outside.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 31, 2015 at 9:22 AM

  2. No marigolds here today, Steve.

    Jim in IA

    January 31, 2015 at 8:48 AM

    • Austin is at its flowering nadir too, but within a few weeks things will begin to happen, blossomly speaking.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 31, 2015 at 9:29 AM

  3. The Long Stare State, indeed. What I wonder is how much longer it takes you to travel certain distances than the average traveller who does not stop and stare.


    February 1, 2015 at 6:53 AM

    • It can take a lot longer, as I’ve sometimes spent half an hour or even an hour in one small area. That makes it hard to go out photographing with other people, who understandably don’t want to hang around for long stretches. I’m reminded of Thoreau’s observation in Walden: “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off.”

      Rudyard Kipling echoed that thought in “The Winners”:

      A friend at a pinch is a friend indeed,
      But a fool to wait for the laggard behind.
      Down to Gehenna or up to the Throne,
      He travels the fastest who travels alone.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 1, 2015 at 7:13 AM

      • Oh, Thoreau, how true, how true. My recent trips to Cairns were my first solo trips since pre-marriage days. Apart from the general stress of travel, I enjoyed being responsible for only myself.


        February 1, 2015 at 7:09 PM

      • Ah, memories of my sainted mother. That woman was the slowest person in the world, though her slowness taught me a good bit of patience. The only time I got to demand immediate action was in the case of hurricane evacuations. I’d tell her when we were leaving, and made abundantly clear that if I needed to throw her in the car bodily, I’d do it. Since she seemed to believe me, I never was put to an actual test.

        I’m learning, too, that growing older means I have older friends, and many of them just aren’t able to do today what they could do even two or three years ago. Knees, hips, strokes — all of that. I’m a little more thoughtful these days about whether n trip or an afternoon is for pure sociability, or for activity. If it’s for activity, I often go alone.


        February 1, 2015 at 9:36 PM

  4. I do love a nice mix of flowers, and purple, yellow and white is especially nice. I’ve always been amazed at the ability of some flowers to thrive in conditions that look utterly uninviting. Mountain pinks are probably my favorite example. I still remember those dramatic photos you posted of them growing on the rocks. Just beautiful.


    February 1, 2015 at 9:44 PM

    • You picked an excellent example of a wildflower that not only flowers but also flourishes in (seemingly) barren ground. I’m currently in a climate where the land is the opposite of that: lush.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 3, 2015 at 10:16 PM

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