Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

No fooling: crow poison

with 28 comments

Small Weevil on Crow Poison Buds with Dewdrops 9366

No fooling (even on April Fools’ Day), there really is a flower called crow poison. Whether Nothoscordum bivalve actually poisons crows—or people, for that matter—isn’t clear. What is clear is that crow poison can be seen flowering in Austin in the spring and again (though usually to a lesser degree) in the fall.

I photographed these dew-covered crow poison buds in the preserve behind the Austin Nature Center on March 23rd. As a bonus, you get a small weevil.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 1, 2015 at 5:10 AM

28 Responses

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  1. Elisa

    April 1, 2015 at 6:26 AM

    • Now you see why I said it’s not clear whether crow poison really is poisonous. The person who wrote that article for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the same Nan Hampton at whose place north of Austin I photographed the trout lily and the Easter daisy that appeared here last week.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 1, 2015 at 7:59 AM

  2. I cheat. I use a spray bottle of water to get the dewy effect but this is nice, too.


    April 1, 2015 at 6:44 AM

    • I’ve heard of photographers who use a spray bottle, but I never have. Now, if I had a device that could make the flower itself appear when and where I wanted it, that might be a different story.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 1, 2015 at 8:19 AM

  3. Nicely decorated with drops.

    Jim in IA

    April 1, 2015 at 7:39 AM

  4. Even with a name like crow poison and a weevil as a companion, it still called to mind the words of Keats’ “Endymion,” offered by the Writers’ Almanac today:

    “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
    Its loveliness increases, it will never
    Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
    A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
    Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
    Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
    A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
    Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
    Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
    Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
    Made of our searching; yes, in spite of all,
    Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
    From our dark spirits.”


    April 1, 2015 at 7:48 AM

    • Thanks for the welcome reminder of the lines that follow that famous first one. There’s a different reminder in “the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways,” of the sad fact that Keats died at age 25.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 1, 2015 at 9:31 AM

  5. So that is what a weevil looks like. Great photo.

    Raewyn's Photos

    April 1, 2015 at 3:07 PM

    • A weevil is a type of beetle with a prominent curved snout. There are supposed to be over 60,000 species of weevils.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 1, 2015 at 4:25 PM

  6. You tempted me with the water droplets and then caught me fully with the weevil. We have many species here and I am fond of them. The pendulous proboscis gives them such character.


    April 1, 2015 at 8:42 PM

    • Now you can tell people that you yielded to temptation and got caught (and let them think what they will).

      That’s a fine alliterative phrase you used: pendulous proboscis. I wish the weevil had been turned a little more toward the camera, but I was after a picture of the buds and had to settle for the insect where it was.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 1, 2015 at 10:03 PM

  7. Fantastic shot!


    April 1, 2015 at 11:32 PM

    • I don’t usually go out in the early morning, so I don’t see dew all that often. When I do, as here, I try to take advantage of it. I ought to get something in return for wet shoes, right?

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 2, 2015 at 5:13 AM

  8. A good choice for 1st April, especially as people can be fooled by this plant, and mistake it for wild garlic. The weevil doesn’t seem worried about the possibility of being poisoned. But then the weevil is not a crow.


    April 2, 2015 at 3:52 AM

    • It’s good of you to bring up the fact that heaps of people are fooled into thinking crow poison is wild garlic. A sure differentiator is the lack of pungent odor in all parts of the crow poison plant. In contrast, few people would mistake a weevil for a crow, even though both are dark.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 2, 2015 at 5:21 AM

      • Though many feel the crow and the weevil are evil. I don’t mind crows but I dislike weevils in my dry goods.


        April 2, 2015 at 6:18 AM

        • I couldn’t help noticing the rhyme between weevil and evil. You referred to an upheaval in your dry goods; does that imply that if you wet your goods the weevils will go away and lead to a more sanitary retrieval of said goods?

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 2, 2015 at 7:11 AM

          • Sadly no. Weevils do not create much upheaval in my NZ pantry, but in other places I have lived, sifting weevils from wheat or maize flour or dried beans was a regular job.


            April 2, 2015 at 7:55 AM

            • In doing a little research on weevils, I read about the problem of finding them in flour and beans, but fortunately I’ve never had to deal with that. I’m glad to hear the weevil evil hasn’t followed you back to New Zealand, which for you is New Weevil-Free-Land.

              Steve Schwartzman

              April 2, 2015 at 8:05 AM

              • Indeed it is, although a friend was telling me recently about weevils in a packet of flour. She was most surprised. She said she hadn’t seen weevils in decades. Is the weevil about to make a comeback?


                April 2, 2015 at 4:58 PM

  9. …so fresh and wonderful… spring is the best season!


    April 9, 2015 at 3:46 PM

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