Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Contorted mesquite pod

with 26 comments

Mesquite Pod Detail 6617

One of the most common trees in Texas is the honey mesquite, Prosopis glandulosa. Members of the legume family produce seed pods, and in this species the pods are especially long. This one was colorful and constricted in so unusual a way that I couldn’t resist photographing it up close. No doubt some of you with active imaginations will see this as the long neck, tapering head, and long-lanced beak of some fantastic creature.

Today’s picture is from September 22 on what is thankfully still undeveloped land between Josh Ridge Blvd. and Harris Ridge Blvd. on the prairie in northeast Austin.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 12, 2015 at 4:49 AM

26 Responses

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  1. Actually, yes, I do see it as a heron about to strike.

    Steve Gingold

    October 12, 2015 at 5:04 AM

  2. Fantastic indeed. I see a quasar jet.

    Jim in IA

    October 12, 2015 at 8:54 AM

  3. Fascinating shape and color.

    Lemony (Gr)Egghead

    October 12, 2015 at 9:07 AM

    • I’ve discovered that the color doesn’t last. I brought some of these pods home and as of this morning all of the red has faded to (mostly dark) brown, and the light tan is now a duller tan.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 12, 2015 at 9:54 AM

  4. As well as stimulating my imagination to see a bird about to strike, I liked this picture for the beautiful colours and the lovely name, honey mesquite. Is it edible?


    October 13, 2015 at 8:41 AM

    • It’s good to hear how favorably the image strikes you. As for your question:


      Steve Schwartzman

      October 13, 2015 at 2:12 PM

      • Thanks, Steve. It could be used as a gluten free flour which is interesting to me as I have coeliac disease. 🙂


        October 13, 2015 at 5:05 PM

        • It could be useful indeed, but I wonder whether mesquite flour is available over there, and if so whether it has a reasonable price.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 13, 2015 at 5:34 PM

          • I wouldn’t worry about purchasing it here but it made me curious about when I eventually travel to the US and want to try unusual things. 🙂


            October 13, 2015 at 5:41 PM

          • Actually, I just remembered years ago reading it was an introduced pest here and upon googling discovered it’s a problem around Brisbane, so I must keep an eye out for the pods on my walks! 🙂


            October 13, 2015 at 5:51 PM

  5. The first thing that came to mind was the image of the little Kiwi that could. If not that Kiwi, then perhaps a cormorant, or any long-billed fishing bird.

    The colors are beautiful. I was surprised to hear that they change relatively quickly. I’ve only seen the brown pods, so this is something else to watch for. I’ve noticed that pods, seeds, grasses and fluff are really coming into their own. In fact, I found some bushy bluestem on Sunday that had gone to seed: though most still is green.

    I went back to that same nature center and wore myself out. I wanted to make the entire loop, to refresh my memory about what was there. Three hours later, I took myself, my bloody arm, my fire ant bites and my depleted battery home and had a wonderful time dumping awful photos and enjoying the good.

    By the way — I found huge colonies of blue mistflower. I got some nice closeups, but I have to go back to take more photos of the colonies. I made a few mistakes, and those landscape shots didn’t come out so well.


    October 13, 2015 at 10:10 PM

    • I don’t think I knew that the fallen pods lose their color within a couple of weeks, but the proof is sitting right here in this room. I brought home nine pods, and all of them have dulled down.

      Sounds like you had a great time at your nature center, even if you wore yourself out and got a bit bloodied and fire-anted in the process. Par for a three-hour course wandering in nature in Texas. Mistakes in picture taking are also par for the course: I throw away my share of failures too.

      From what you say, the large colonies of blue mistflower were the highlight of your peregrination. Over here I’ve only seen relatively small groups, so you’re ahead on that score.

      As for the depleted battery, I guard against that by always carrying a fully-charged extra in my camera bag.

      I see that the kiwi animation has been watched 39 million times. Yikes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 13, 2015 at 10:24 PM

  6. Your image does spur the imagination; the unique shape and colors do make you think of strange and amazing creatures.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    October 14, 2015 at 12:39 PM

    • This image seemed to reach right out to the imagination. Mine and yours (and some other people’s) easily got pulled in.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 14, 2015 at 12:48 PM

  7. Yep, that there’s a story-inciting critter. Or at the very least, a mighty handsome pod.


    October 18, 2015 at 9:38 PM

  8. Great photo!!!!


    October 24, 2015 at 2:10 PM

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