Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A closer look at smartweed

with 22 comments

Two Smartweed Flower Spikes 4704

Here’s a closer, subdued-color look at some flowers and buds of smartweed (Polygonum spp.), this time in isolation against the grey of a pond so you can see the details better. Each flower has sepals but no petals.

This photograph comes from August 22, 2014, in the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183. In spite of the land’s location adjacent to two freeways, it’s fortunately low and often too sodden to allow for development, so I look forward to being able to keep photographing there.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 30, 2015 at 5:26 AM

22 Responses

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  1. Smart indeed to live in an area which is likely to be left untouched by developers.


    July 30, 2015 at 7:39 AM

    • I feel it was smart to have moved to this northwestern part of Austin 11 years ago. Our house is one mile inside the Texas Hill Country, and the flat place featured in today’s post is three miles southeast of (and I don’t know how many feet downhill from) where we live. The other three quadrants of this busy freeway intersection have buildings on them, and developers would gladly have built up the fourth as well if not for the ground’s sogginess.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 30, 2015 at 7:54 AM

      • Having just received notification from the City Council that a new city development plan will designate our area as requiring special flood protection measures when building a new home, perhaps we would be smart to move now…before the one in 200 year Waimakariri flood, coinciding with a one in 20 year king tide, combined with a 1 metre sea level rise washes us all out to sea.


        July 31, 2015 at 5:46 AM

        • I’m surprised to hear that because you’re neighborhood isn’t close to the coast. Maybe you can keep some flotation devices and a small boat in a spare room of your house, just in case.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 31, 2015 at 7:32 AM

          • Yes, that would probably be cheaper than paying extra flood protection insurance.


            July 31, 2015 at 8:19 AM

            • The boat could save you, but it wouldn’t pay to repair your property the way insurance would. Unfortunately you may need both.

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 31, 2015 at 8:26 AM

  2. Thanks for the closeup to help me ‘see’ yesterday’s field. Closeups are my friend (unless they are of me!)

    Sammy D.

    July 30, 2015 at 8:30 AM

    • That’s an excellent way of putting it, Sammy. Macro photographs are indeed my friend, at least when it comes to nature. I can assure you no one has wanted to take any closeups of me, so I’m not worried about that.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 30, 2015 at 9:24 AM

  3. I like the angle.

    Jim in IA

    July 30, 2015 at 5:05 PM

  4. The delicate colors are so pretty against the pond water. And now that I see this closer view, I remember what the photo suggests: that these begin blooming at the bottom.

    The next time we get a really good water flow after a rain, and the water hyacinths come down, I’m going to take a better look at what else is included on those mats of vegetation. There were other plants growing and blooming along with the hyacinth, and some articles I found said that the smartweeds will sometimes hitch a ride.


    July 30, 2015 at 8:53 PM

    • Any smartweed that hitched a ride would be opportunistic because water hyacinths aren’t native here. In fact they’re so invasive and so readily clog waterways that it’s illegal to possess the species in Texas:


      Too bad, because the flowers are so pretty. I once saw a good portion of the surface of a pond in Austin covered with those flowers, and it was quite a sight.

      I haven’t searched, but I’ll bet people in various places have made lists of local natives whose flower spikes open from the bottom up and from the top down.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 30, 2015 at 9:13 PM

  5. Thank goodness for boggy ground to keep the bogeyman (developer) away!


    July 30, 2015 at 10:21 PM

  6. Nice shot.

    Raewyn's Photos

    July 31, 2015 at 3:32 AM

  7. It’s comforting to know there are places that are not suitable for development. Otherwise, and possibly eventually anyway, we’d be living a real:

    Steve Gingold

    July 31, 2015 at 11:59 AM

  8. Splendid pictures Steve ! I specially enjoy that one.


    September 4, 2015 at 2:18 PM

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