Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

From 2014

with 31 comments

Dalea enneandra 8581

The Indiangrass Wildlife Sanctuary in east Austin may be the only place I’ve ever seen Dalea* enneandra. That plumy species, which is apparently called nine-anther prairie clover, makes its debut in these pages today.

This is also the first picture to appear here from the hundreds I took during my outing to the sanctuary on July 22, 2014. Most of the things that I photograph by the wayside go by the wayside, at least when it comes to revealing them to the world. It’s not that many of the pictures aren’t worthy, but there isn’t time enough to deal with more than a small fraction of them.

Maybe I should repeat Robert Browning’s musing from “Andrea del Sarto“:

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?


* As you’re trekking over hill and dale, dally a moment and be sure not to confuse Dalea with Dahlia. The first pays tribute to the English botanist Samuel Dale, while the second honors the Swedish botanist Anders (or Andreas) Dahl.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 9, 2015 at 5:39 AM

31 Responses

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  1. I looked at an aerial view of this area. Do you just park on the side Bloor Rd.?


    June 9, 2015 at 5:56 AM

    • Unfortunately Indiangrass Preserve isn’t generally open to the public. To visit, you have to go on one of the rare field trips offered by the City.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 9, 2015 at 9:30 AM

  2. This is very worthy. Exquisite.


    June 9, 2015 at 6:26 AM

  3. Very beautiful!

    Wendell A. Brown

    June 9, 2015 at 6:33 AM

  4. Full many a gem of purest ray serene
    The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
    Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
    And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

    One of my favorite poems is “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” by Thomas Gray.
    He was speaking of those folks buried ‘far from the madding crowd,” but I like to think of this
    stanza when finding a flower or student or whatever that might not be appreciated or recognized.
    So many wonders of nature! You see the beauty everywhere. What a great trait, gift!


    June 9, 2015 at 7:04 AM

    • That’s an excellent poem—which I’ve quoted too from time to time—to pair with this little-known piece of nature. At


      I was surprised to read the following just now: “Thomas Gray is generally considered the second most important poet of the eighteenth century (following the dominant figure of Alexander Pope) and the most disappointing. It was generally assumed by friends and readers that he was the most talented poet of his generation, but the relatively small and even reluctantly published body of his works has left generations of scholars puzzling over the reasons for his limited production and meditating on the general reclusiveness and timidity that characterized his life.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 9, 2015 at 9:40 AM

  5. Beautiful shot and know the feeling of so many photos.


    June 9, 2015 at 7:07 AM

  6. It must always be hard to select among the photos. This one is certainly a wonderful choice. I enjoyed your footnote about the name, too.

    Susan Scheid

    June 9, 2015 at 7:39 AM

    • I’ve often thought I spend too much time deciding which pictures to process and post. I’ll try to be quicker about it.

      I usually Latinize (or semi-Latinize) my botanical pronunciations, but most other people don’t, so I’m not sure how Americans actually pronounce Dalea. I’m guessing it comes out pretty close to, if not the same as, Dahlia (which I have heard pronounced).

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 9, 2015 at 10:42 AM

  7. This is a wonderful photo of a clover flower. When thinking of flowers we don’t often think of grasses or trees, so I always think it is fun to turn focus onto them as you have here.


    June 9, 2015 at 7:58 AM

    • In most people’s minds flowers trump every other botanical entity, so to compensate for that I do include other things that I get good pictures of, like the grasses and trees you mentioned. Similarly, when it comes to little critters, people are taken with butterflies, so I include bugs and beetles and spiders (which also are often easier to photograph).

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 9, 2015 at 10:47 AM

  8. Yes, when one takes thousands of photos a month it’s daunting to pay heed to all of them entirely. Glad this one made it in – they’re like tiny feathers!


    June 9, 2015 at 12:05 PM

    • You’re right, Kathy, that dealing with the thousands of pictures I’ve been taking each month is daunting, even if some of the photographs are just slight variants of others—but then I still have to examine a group of similar pictures to see which one came out best.

      As you point out, the delight of this species is the little feather-like bristles.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 9, 2015 at 12:12 PM

      • This made me laugh. I came home with many multiple shots of the same object or view, and the amount of time I spent last night comparing images was — remarkable. And no, I’m not done. It certainly is a good exercise for a not-so-good photographer, though. Making those decisions forces thinking about “Why this, instead of that?”, or “Why didn’t this work, when it should have been such a good photo?” Etc. etc.


        June 11, 2015 at 6:45 PM

        • Welcome to the club, which I suspect has many members, even if almost all of us do our sorting in isolation.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 11, 2015 at 7:55 PM

  9. Nice photo.

    Raewyn's Photos

    June 9, 2015 at 4:30 PM

  10. I like that name…nine-anther prairie clover. And I like this image showing off its attractive pluminess too.

    Steve Gingold

    June 9, 2015 at 6:28 PM

    • I’m taking the word of online sources that this species is known as nine-anther prairie clover, but it’s an uncommon species here and I’ve never heard anyone refer to it by any vernacular name. Based on its attractive pluminess, I think it should be better known.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 9, 2015 at 7:36 PM

  11. How well you showcase flowers like these that we may usually just pass by. Seen like this you can really appreciate their feathery beauty.


    June 10, 2015 at 1:52 AM

    • I’m glad I didn’t pass this species by but I wish I saw it more often: I believe I’ve encountered it only twice.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 10, 2015 at 7:08 AM

  12. This is one I’ve seen, on the Konza Prairie in Kansas. When I was given my tour there, it was one of the plants that Chod pointed out. It seems it’s more common on the prairies there. I found this note that’s interesting: “The Kiowa made small arrow shafts from the stem, which they tipped with thorns and used to hunt small animals.”


    June 11, 2015 at 6:51 PM

    • I’m impressed that you know this plant, which I believe I’ve seen only twice in Austin, and years apart. The USDA map shows the greatest presence of this species in Kansas, where you saw it. Similarly, the page from Kansas that you linked to has more information about the species than I’ve seen on any site in Texas. That article even talks about the egg-shaped green bracts that are visible in the photograph I posted, though I don’t know that I’d have thought of calling them egg-shaped.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 11, 2015 at 8:01 PM

  13. […] Two other species of Dalea have appeared in these pages: Dalea enneandra and Dalea […]

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