Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Alamo vine, takes 2 and 3

with 23 comments

Alamo Vine Dry Strands 0121

Yesterday’s post mentioned that Merremia dissecta is commonly known as alamo vine, and the first of today’s photographs, again from March 27th along E. 51st St., confirms that the plant is indeed a vine (although in this case a dried-out one). The photograph below, from August 20th near Shoal Creek below 34th St., shows an ant on a developing alamo vine fruit.

Ant on Alamo Vine Capsule 1510

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 18, 2015 at 5:39 AM

23 Responses

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  1. That first photo looks as though it belongs in a barbed wire museum. It’s a great example of the power of desiccation to reveal form. Without its flowers and leaves, the intricacy of the vine’s beautiful twists and curves is obvious.

    The fruit is a little odd-looking. Your photos made me curious about the flower, and when I peeked, I was surprised by how much it resembles other flowers, like the Halberd-leaved rose mallow. They’re from different families, of course, and differently-sized. The petals are different, and so are the leaves, but once upon a time I might have confused them. I’m looking a little more closely, now.

    shoreacres

    September 18, 2015 at 7:13 AM

    • Your suggestion of a barbed wire museum suddenly had me hearing Joni Mitchell’s line from “Big Yellow Taxi”: “They took all the trees, and put ’em in a tree museum.” But yes, there is a barbed-wire quality to the dried-out alamo vine shown here.

      I rarely encounter alamo vine, so I don’t have images in my mind showing how this green stage of the fruit eventually becomes the remains shown in yesterday’s picture.

      It’s a coincidence that you mentioned that rose mallow, because I have an abstract picture of a flower of that species set for next week. As for alamo vine flowers, I don’t think I have a single photo of any, and unfortunately the vines I found on August 20th had at most buds but no flowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 18, 2015 at 7:28 AM

  2. I, too, was struck (but happily not stuck) by its resemblance to barbed wire. And the ant…is that the dreaded fire ant?

    melissabluefineart

    September 18, 2015 at 8:13 AM

    • No, this is a larger ant of some sort, and I’m assuming a native one. Fire ants are smaller, but you wouldn’t know it from their bites.

      Interesting that both you and shoreacres imagined barbed wire in this photograph. I see plenty of real barbed wire in central Texas but somehow I didn’t make the connection to the way this dry alamo vine looked. I do see it now.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 18, 2015 at 11:29 AM

      • Once in awhile I come across velvet ants. They are very pretty but I’m told they pack quite a bite so I give them a wide berth.

        melissabluefineart

        September 18, 2015 at 12:15 PM

    • I am another who thought “barbed wire” when I saw the first photo.

      Gallivanta

      September 19, 2015 at 7:02 AM

      • Then we’re still at 100% when it comes to commenters’ imaginations.

        Steve Schwartzman

        September 19, 2015 at 7:12 AM

        • Perhaps we all have a barbed wire bias at the moment from seeing too much of it as a border control in Hungary.

          Gallivanta

          September 19, 2015 at 7:20 AM

          • “The poor people,” said Eve last night while watching the news.

            Steve Schwartzman

            September 19, 2015 at 7:40 AM

            • Yes, in all the talk about quotas and barriers and paper work, Governments can forget they are dealing with people, real people, escaping dreadful circumstances.

              Gallivanta

              September 20, 2015 at 4:51 AM

              • My paternal grandparents fled Soviet tyranny in the 1920s and faced dangers along the way to America.

                Steve Schwartzman

                September 20, 2015 at 5:44 AM

                • Yes, I remember you mentioning your father’s story of that journey. It we care to look at the world’s progress in terms of refugees and not GDPs we have not progressed very much at all. You may recall that my husband was a refugee. It is a very strange life not having a country to call home; to be stateless.

                  Gallivanta

                  September 20, 2015 at 6:00 AM

                • Thanks for the reminder about your husband having been a refugee. Did he have relatives waiting for him, as my father and his family did in New York?

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  September 20, 2015 at 6:36 AM

                • No, not at all. Just a couple of friends who were very good to him, one of whom secured him a research job in the UK, and the rest as they say is history.

                  Gallivanta

                  September 20, 2015 at 6:48 AM

                • Thank goodness for those friends.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  September 20, 2015 at 7:13 AM

      • Yes, I saw that and was pleased to find we were in sync on that. Great minds thinking zesty thoughts 🙂

        melissabluefineart

        September 19, 2015 at 10:49 AM

  3. That is an odd looker of a fruit…although the “handle” might work well for a fruit thrower at a bad performance, I guess. The vine does resemble barbed wire as mentioned.

    Steve Gingold

    September 19, 2015 at 3:02 AM

    • The “handle” seems to me to get unnecessarily wide as it meets the fruit.

      All commenters here have seen barbed wire.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 19, 2015 at 6:43 AM

  4. That’s a lot of fruit for one ant!

    Gallivanta

    September 19, 2015 at 7:03 AM

    • Though the photograph doesn’t reveal it, I saw other ants of this type scurrying back and forth on the alamo vine as well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 19, 2015 at 7:06 AM

      • The vine must taste as sweet as it looks. I read on one site that the vine is fragrant and the tap root is sweet.

        Gallivanta

        September 19, 2015 at 7:22 AM

        • I have little experience with this species, but the ants clearly found something they liked there. The next time I come across an alamo vine I’ll have to observe it more carefully.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 19, 2015 at 7:44 AM


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