Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Ungnadia speciosa blossoms

with 38 comments

Mexican Buckeye Flowers and New Leaves 0753

So much has been going on in springtime Austin that after the last 11 posts about New Zealand I’m turning back to Texas again for a while before going ahead with another round of pictures from Aotearoa. That alternation makes me wonder why we English speakers almost always say back and forth but hardly ever forth and back? For anyone who’d like to be a trendsetter, I encourage you to use forth and back in a post or an e-mail sometime soon. To be fair, maybe you should keep going forth and back between back and forth and forth and back.

In any case, let me go forth and get back to plants by saying that botanists classify the Mexican buckeye tree as Ungnadia speciosa, where speciosa means ‘showy.’ This picture of blossoms on March 28th along Rain Creek Parkway in Austin shows why that species name was chosen (aside from the fact that botanists probably couldn’t figure out how to say ‘long curving bright red snout’ in Latin).

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 19, 2015 at 5:10 AM

38 Responses

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  1. If you look at them from another angle, they could be showy, pink feathered, red beaked hummingbirds. Do hummingbirds come in pink? Now I have put forth that view to you, I am sure you will get back to me with your opinion.


    April 19, 2015 at 6:13 AM

  2. Lovely! ~Rita


    April 19, 2015 at 6:56 AM

  3. My word but that is a wonderful photograph!


    April 19, 2015 at 9:37 AM

  4. I keep going forth and back between using back and forth or backward and forward.

    Emily Scott

    April 19, 2015 at 10:46 AM

  5. Ahhh, blossoms look SO good against a blue background. I have been enjoying the magnolias, azaleas and rhododendrons in Cornwall this week, happily with a blue sky!


    April 19, 2015 at 4:22 PM

    • You’ve seen how often I use the blue of the sky to isolate a subject, and March 28th turned out to be a clear day that lent itself to that approach.

      When I was in northern New Zealand I was surprised to find a magnolia that someone had planted more than 150 years ago and that was still going strong. The magnolia is native in eastern Texas, and that region has a native azalea as well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 19, 2015 at 9:43 PM

      • Some beautiful magnolias from NZ we are in magnolia season here right now 😊


        April 20, 2015 at 4:10 PM

        • At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnolia I see that various species of magnolia are native in the Americas and in southeast Asia, but none are listed as being native in New Zealand. Where the one that I saw in northern New Zealand had come from I never learned. When you speak of “some beautiful magnolias from NZ,” do you mean that in Britain you’ve imported non-native magnolias from NZ?

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 20, 2015 at 5:13 PM

  6. If not in color, at least in shape I’d say there’s a hint of a connection between this bit of Austin flora and some New Zealand fauna I’ve read about. I hope you sallied forth and backed into a good opportunity to photograph a Kiwi (bird), too.


    April 19, 2015 at 6:40 PM

    • I sallied forth often enough but unfortunately I never backed into an opportunity to photograph a kiwi. The hint of a connection in the Mexican buckeye is the closest I got, alas. If only I could drive a mile and see a native kiwi bird the way I can one of these trees.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 19, 2015 at 9:48 PM

  7. Someone commented they look a little like hummingbirds. They do look gorgeously pink and “feathery”. Another gorgeous blue “Steve” background. 🙂


    April 20, 2015 at 4:14 AM

    • Australia has some dazzling and curiously shaped flowers; this, on a small scale, is one of ours in Texas, although I’m not sure how many people know about it. The blue sky that you’ve singled out in the background is my way of isolating the “feathery” flowers to make them stand out all the more.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 20, 2015 at 5:25 AM

  8. Showy indeed. And made lovelier with that patented Schwartzman sky. I actually had that same sky here yesterday for my barn shots.
    Oooh, I wish I had read this before my last post describing the beaver activity in my landscape. 🙂

    Steve Gingold

    April 20, 2015 at 7:12 AM

  9. …and to and fro…. funny, I was just thinking about the Firth of Forth.


    April 21, 2015 at 11:01 AM

    • Was your mind going fro and to as it pondered the Firth of Forth? (Inquiring minds want to know why you were thinking about the Firth of Forth.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 21, 2015 at 12:34 PM

  10. I’ve enjoyed very much going forth and back admiring your posts. I am always taken aback and aforth by your gorgeous photographs.

    Susan Scheid

    May 6, 2015 at 6:53 PM

  11. […] positive definition first. And botanists have preserved the positive sense in species names like Ungnadia speciosa and Oenothera […]

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