Perspectives on Nature Photography
with 35 comments
When I stopped along W. Courtyard Dr. on July 7th to photograph some flowers of woolly ironweed, Vernonia lindheimeri, I found this little chartreuse grasshopper on them.
© 2015 Steven Schwartzman
Written by Steve Schwartzman
August 9, 2015 at 4:30 AM
Posted in nature photography
Tagged with animals, Austin, flowers, grasshopper, insect, nature, Texas, wildflowers
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Not quite so subtle as your green comet milkweed: this green and purple looks straight out of the 1950s, when chartreuse and fuchsia or maroon was all the rage. I don’t think I’ve ever seen woolly ironweed, and I’m certain I’ve never seen a chartreuse grasshopper. They do make a striking combination.
August 9, 2015 at 7:35 AM
The combination of colors here was what made the picture special for me. It made me think about clothing with those colors, and now I’ve learned that the combination harks back to the 1950s. I don’t remember a lot about clothing from that era, but I certainly remember two-tone cars. I wish today’s cars were as colorful.
I’ll have to see about showing a woolly ironweed plant from farther back one of these days.
August 9, 2015 at 7:48 AM
Well, this is embarassing. On September 19 of last year, I took a photo of woolly ironweed at Lindheimer’s home, and didn’t recognize it. The photo’s been sitting in my files all this time. When I found a small bit of it this weekend, and remembered the New Braunfels specimen, I sent off an email to the listed representative for that town’s NPSOT chapter, and David Will was kind enough to give me the name: ironweed. And that, of course, brought me back here.
I suspect I’ll remember woolly ironweed, now.
August 28, 2016 at 8:46 PM
I read and see way too much to remember more than a minor part of it all, so there’s nothing to feel embarrassed about. For example, I didn’t remember what the linked article says about there being a thousand species of Vernonia. I wonder if any of them grow at Mt. Vernon.
August 29, 2016 at 7:15 AM
I was going to say that my embarassment tends to be short-lived and tinged with self-deprecating humor, but it would be better if I said that about my embarrassment. Honest to goodness: I even double-checked that word to be sure about the consonants, and still got it wrong. It does intrigue me, how such consistent errors become embedded in our minds. It’s a wonder I don’t spell it spel.
August 29, 2016 at 7:26 AM
If it’s any consolation, the Iberian predecessors of the English word had one r, even if the immediate French predecessor had two. Here’s the etymology:
“early 17th cent. (in the sense ‘hamper, impede’): from French embarrasser, from Spanish embarazar, probably from Portuguese embaraçar (from baraço ‘halter’).”
August 29, 2016 at 8:14 AM
That is QUITE a fashion statement!
August 9, 2015 at 10:53 AM
We expect to see a picture of you, Susan, attired in that color combo.
August 9, 2015 at 12:46 PM
Not only fine flowers, but two bonus bugs! There’s a tiny inchworm-like critter at low-center as well. Love it when this happens!
August 9, 2015 at 12:47 PM
Right you are, Gary. I didn’t point out the inchworm because it’s small, subsidiary, and not in focus. Several times this year I managed to get good photos of an inchworm from closer up, and maybe I’ll eventually post one of those. I’m pretty far behind in showing the pictures I’ve taken this year, partially because I take so many and partially because 70 posts about New Zealand intervened (but how could I not have shown so many images of that scenic land?).
August 9, 2015 at 1:08 PM
And I’ve been so busy that I’ve missed a number of those. I just saw your wonderful tui portrait and must find time to catch up on the rest. Soon…
August 12, 2015 at 9:39 AM
I think we’re all pressed for time. I have trouble keeping up with what people are doing and posting.
If you go to
you’ll be presented with all the New Zealand posts (in reverse order of posting).
August 12, 2015 at 9:48 AM
I’ve never seen either either. The wooly ironweed reminds of beebalm which is related a little higher on the chart. Of course, it makes sense that I’ve never seen it since it is only found in Texas and Arkansas.
Do you have a reference for the grasshopper? When I Google it the only one I come up with is this post…and a misnamed image on BG.N.
August 9, 2015 at 2:41 PM
I called it a chartreuse grasshopper merely as a description, but whatever the actual common (or scientific) name for this critter is, I don’t know it. I guess I could’ve submitted the picture to BugGuide, but I didn’t.
There are a bunch of Vernonia species, including this one and another one in central Texas. There might be a species near you:
August 9, 2015 at 2:52 PM
Yes, we have 4 species of ironweed hereabouts…none of them of the wooly variety.
August 9, 2015 at 3:01 PM
I searched your blog for ironweed but got no hits. With four species up there, I’ll bet you can fill the Vernonia vacuum.
August 9, 2015 at 3:41 PM
Yeah, I’ve been ironweed remiss to this point. Someday.
August 9, 2015 at 4:16 PM
It’s a bit of a wrinkle but I’m sure you’ll eventually iron it out.
August 9, 2015 at 9:49 PM
When I was a child we loved hunting for crickets and lady birds. Now I see them so rarely. Great capture.
August 9, 2015 at 3:11 PM
I remember crickets from childhood, too, and lightning bugs (fireflies), the latter of which have diminished in New York because of pollution. Grasshoppers, on the other hand, are plentiful, and I see many kinds in the Austin area.
As for lady birds, Texas had its Lady Bird Johnson, for whom the Wildflower Center here is named.
August 9, 2015 at 3:39 PM
Fireflies are diminished! How sad.
August 11, 2015 at 6:10 AM
I used to see them regularly as a child on Long Island, but pollution and development there took their toll. I still see some in Austin and I hope their numbers will hold up.
August 11, 2015 at 7:28 AM
Hope so. I have fond feelings for fireflies.
August 12, 2015 at 5:53 AM
I never got to see the glow worms in New Zealand, but maybe on a future visit.
August 12, 2015 at 6:47 AM
I wonder how many of our glow worms have been destroyed by development.
August 12, 2015 at 8:02 AM
Now there’s a bit of research for you, if you’re so inclined.
August 12, 2015 at 8:54 AM
I have researched a little but not found much.
August 12, 2015 at 7:34 PM
Thanks for looking. Perhaps you’ll come across some useful information by chance, but I wouldn’t spend more time on it.
August 12, 2015 at 7:57 PM
What wonderful contrast! And I love his little antennae. They look striped?
August 9, 2015 at 9:42 PM
Yes, the antennae are made up of different-colored bands and do give the impression of stripes. Even the grasshopper’s eyes have speckles of different colors. And as you said, there’s the prominent contrast between the grasshopper’s chartreuse body and the rich color of the flowers.
August 9, 2015 at 9:47 PM
A great image!
August 9, 2015 at 11:03 PM
August 10, 2015 at 3:18 AM
A gorgeous combination of colours, Steve, and I like the interesting details on the grasshopper too. The textures are appealing too.
August 10, 2015 at 1:13 AM
Colors, details, and textures: give me more!
August 10, 2015 at 3:19 AM
[…] this grasshopper. There’s less of a contrast between it and its floral perch than between the pair you saw here the week before […]
Grasshopper on soft goldenaster | Portraits of Wildflowers
August 20, 2015 at 3:47 AM
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