Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Great Hills wildflower display #2

with 32 comments

Wildflower Meadow with Prickly Pear 0700

As you saw last time, the undeveloped land along Yaupon Dr. where the heavy-duty power lines stretch east and west has been so rich in wildflowers this spring that you deserve another look. Once again the small yellow flower heads are four-nerve daisies (Tetraneuris linearifolia); the predominantly red ones with yellow fringes are Indian blankets (Gaillardia pulchella); the ones with smaller reddish-brown centers and more yellow on the rays are coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria). The plant at the left with dark brown pods hanging down is Lindheimer’s senna (Senna lindheimeri). As before, there’s prickly pear cactus (Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri), including one pad with a big circle missing from it.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 18, 2015 at 5:18 AM

32 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. beautiful contrast- they are so pretty!


    May 18, 2015 at 5:58 AM

    • Each little piece of the meadow had its own character, and I could have taken many variations on the theme. In fact I did.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 18, 2015 at 6:38 AM

  2. This is lovely. I feel less intimidated by the cactus in this photo. In yesterday’s photo all I could think of was ‘ouch’.


    May 18, 2015 at 7:14 AM

    • You’re still entitled to feel intimidated, just as I still had to move carefully into place to take this picture and many others like it. The caution was worth it: there were almost no ouches and plenty of photographs.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 18, 2015 at 7:21 AM

  3. It won’t be long until you have some cactus flowers in that location, too. I think I see a half-dozen buds, although one may be a newly developing pad.

    I was delighted to find the tiny purple “whatevers” in the lower left. They’re a good reminder that, with this kind of profusion, one look never is enough. There’s always another bit of beauty to be discovered.


    May 18, 2015 at 8:25 AM

    • Actually there have been prickly pear flowers at that site for the past couple of weeks, but none had yet appeared on this particular plant at the time of the photograph (though it was close, as you pointed out). I didn’t mention the little pale-lavender-colored whatevers in the lower left, which I didn’t think would be noticeable, but you did some hard looking and saw them. I believe they’re a species in the genus Chaetopappa whose tiny flower heads have led them to be called least daisies. I have other photographs in which they’re a lot more noticeable, and maybe I’ll post one in the days ahead.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 18, 2015 at 11:59 AM

      • Actually, the looking was easy, not hard. Now that I’ve combined a new monitor and one new eye (and the one for near vision, at that) I find myself enjoying your photos even more. Who knows what I’ll see when I have two new eyes?

        Since the post-op blurriness has receded, I’ve been amusing myself by looking at the world first with my left eye, and then with my right. The difference is remarkable. I spotted the purple whatevers with my left eye, not my right. Even in the enlarged version, they’re barely visible with the right.

        Those holes in the cacti are interesting. I’ve found critters will munch on new pads of the spineless variety. If they take a chunk out, it hardens off, and is a permanent feature of that pad as it grows and matures. I wonder if the same thing happens with this variety?


        May 18, 2015 at 5:13 PM

        • Oh, I missed any conversation about you having work done on your eyes and for what reason. Can you tell me more, Linda? If not here, an email is fine too.

          Steve Gingold

          May 18, 2015 at 5:29 PM

          • It’s no big secret. I just haven’t said much about it (“it” being cataract surgery) in part because I wanted to know how it was going to go. It went just fine, and I’ll have the second procedure on the 27th. It was terrifically interesting and pain-free — always a good combination!


            May 18, 2015 at 5:46 PM

            • I guess cataract surgery is getting to be routine, but the idea of any surgery and especially eye surgery would make me very nervous. I am so glad yours has worked out well and will be hoping to hear the same for eye number two.
              I’ve some small clouding in one of my eyes…surprisingly I don’t remember which…but it has remained unchanged for several years. Should anything become necessary I will be bolstered by your results.

              Steve Gingold

              May 18, 2015 at 6:07 PM

              • They gave me Diet Dr. Pepper and peanut butter crackers afterward, and I found a chocolate chip cookie in my “take-home bag.” What’s not to like? 🙂


                May 18, 2015 at 6:10 PM

                • Sign me up. The last deal I got like that was ice cream after tonsil removal…63 years ago. 🙂

                  Steve Gingold

                  May 18, 2015 at 6:26 PM

        • Happy new left eye. You may recall the movement known as Op Art, and now you can can see all the post-op art you want (at least with your left eye).

          You may be right about what happened to this cactus pad, but I have no idea how to confirm it.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 18, 2015 at 7:14 PM

  4. Beautiful~I really like how the red of the Indian Blanket and the blue-green of the cactus resonate with each other. I see another pad with a perfect moon carved out. I imagine that was a caterpillar…?


    May 18, 2015 at 9:20 AM

    • I can’t help noticing the g’s and l’s and pointing out their harmony in the fact that the prickly pear pads are glaucous and the Indian blankets are Gaillardia.

      It’s common to see areas missing from prickly pear pads, and my understanding is that they’re caused by a fungus.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 18, 2015 at 12:18 PM

    • Also note the article I just found and included a link to in my reply to Steve G. below.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 18, 2015 at 12:55 PM

  5. That missing circle looks an awful lot like a bite…I didn’t know that fungi bite. Ouch. But maybe it was just nibbles as Melissa mentions.

    Yet another well-padded flower composition. Such lovely blooms and such profusion too.

    Steve Gingold

    May 18, 2015 at 12:40 PM

    • BTW…I’ve read that some species get their water from cacti, so maybe someone was getting a drink.

      Steve Gingold

      May 18, 2015 at 12:41 PM

      • There have been times during droughts when ranchers have used blowtorches or something similar to burn the spines off prickly pear pads so that their cattle could eat them. I don’t see how a large animal could bite down on a prickly pear pad that had its spines in place; put another way, I don’t think any animal that did so once would ever do so again. I suppose a small animal like a bird or mouse could poke away at an area of a prickly pear pad (as some make nests in giant saguaros).

        In any case, I willingly admit I don’t know enough to decide what caused the missing circular area in the affected prickly pear pad. Here’s an article that documents the many slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that cacti are heir to:


        Steve Schwartzman

        May 18, 2015 at 12:54 PM

        • Mealybugs and over-watering have been the two worst maladies that my cacti collection have suffered over the years.

          Steve Gingold

          May 18, 2015 at 1:03 PM

          • I can see how over-watering a plant that evolved to deal with drought wouldn’t be a good thing.

            Steve Schwartzman

            May 18, 2015 at 1:17 PM

        • From their entry on snails and slugs, it looks as though they could be the culprits, too. The photo that accompanies the entry looks much like what you’ve shown here.


          May 18, 2015 at 5:18 PM

        • I’m reading from the journals of some of the men involved in the camel experiment, especially E.F.Beale, who mapped most of what’s now Route 66 across New Mexico and Arizona. He includes the note that the camels sustained themselves by munching on “ocotillo, creosote, prickly pear, and catclaw.” Oh, my!


          May 31, 2015 at 3:34 PM

          • I was tempted to say: when in Rome (or the Southwest), eat as the Romans (or Southwesterners) do. That doesn’t seem to work, though, so I guess camels’ mouths are hardier than those of the animals native to the Southwest.

            Steve Schwartzman

            May 31, 2015 at 3:38 PM

  6. beautiful, and i needed a lovely splash of wildflowers in my day!

    today’s my first day ‘out’ and i pushed myself a little too hard, but it was for a good cause.. national geo ‘your shot’ assignment regarding climate change… today was the final day of the 2-week assignment.

    anyway, i wanted to thank you for your support and concern when i was sick. it’s been hard to reply to any comments from the house; my biggest problem was/is low blood pressure, so any kind of travel sets me back.. i don’t think i could have traveled to an international airport and flown anywhere without needing a wheelchair (ha) to get between points.

    i am much better now and will continue to get stronger. i return to town on thursday for another blood check, just to confirm that all’s ok and i’m getting stronger.

    thanks steve!

  7. stunning


    May 18, 2015 at 9:36 PM

  8. Very nice. A mass of colour.

    Raewyn's Photos

    May 19, 2015 at 12:12 AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: