Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Lindheimer’s senna in three stages

with 30 comments

Lindheimer's Senna Flowers and Pods 8851

A late-summer- and autumn-blooming plant that I still found flowering around Austin in early November is Lindheimer’s senna, Senna lindheimeriana. This one in Great Hills Park on an overcast November 4th exhibited buds, a flower, and several pods simultaneously.

You can read more about this species in an article by a member of the Boerne chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas. Among other things, I learned that an alternate name for Lindheimer’s senna is puppy dog’s ears, a reference to the softness of this plant’s leaflets.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 12, 2015 at 4:59 AM

30 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. What a delight — just like having an old friend show up overnight. When I found this plant on my road trip, there weren’t any pods that I recall. I’ll look for them in the future.

    I can be such a doofus sometimes. I subscribe to the Houston NPSOT newsletter, but it never occurred to me to subscribe to the newsletters of chapters in areas I often visit. Who knows? If I’d read the Boerne chapter’s newsletter, I might have known what I was seeing when I encountered it. The last lines of the article tickled me: ” If you don’t have these two Central Texas sennas in your yard, you can probably find them at Medina Garden Nursery in Medina. If you don’t want to plant them, at least look for them on your local travels and enjoy their beautiful blooms in the coming fall.”

    I’m amused to see that I commented on your other senna posts. Obviously, I read there about Lindheimer’s home, his history, his work with Texas plants, and so on. But the details didn’t stick until my visit to the Lindheimer exhibit at the Sophienburg, and Lindheimer’s home. On the other hand, I might not have noticed the exhibit or made plans to go if I hadn’t bumped into Lindheimer here. The learning process is a fascinating thing.


    November 12, 2015 at 7:55 AM

    • When I saw your photo of Lindheimer’s senna the other day I’d already prepared this post of my own. The species is common in central Texas and I can count on finding it as close as half a mile away in Great Hills Park, as shown here. I’m glad you got a good look at the pods here: too bad they’re not edible. Even if they were, I doubt many would want to eat them, because you may have noticed that the plant is rather unpleasantly scented. I don’t know if you handled the specimen you photographed; if so, I suspect you would have noticed that odor along with the softness of the leaflets.

      As you point out, reading about a thing isn’t the same as experiencing it. In addition, those of us who read a lot have that much more that can slip into oblivion. Think of the thousands of comments we’ve left on other people’s blogs and in reply to comments on our own. Who can remember all the things we’ve said and seen?

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 12, 2015 at 8:23 AM

      • We did spend time looking at the plants, because they were growing straight out of a mix of caliche and rock, and my friend thought they’d do well at her place, where plants like mountain pinks thrive. In the process of trying to decide what they were, we crushed some leaves, but I don’t remember any scent, unpleasant or otherwise.

        On the other hand, I hadn’t noticed there are pods in my photo, too. They’re much smaller, but they’re there. I suppose I was more interested in the flowers and buds, and focused on those — in every sense of the word. Speaking of which: the way you’re able to get so much of this plant in focus amazes me. It certainly helps to highlight the various shades of green.


        November 12, 2015 at 8:00 PM

        • I looked back at your picture just now and saw the small pods you mentioned. I’d forgotten how many more flowers and buds your specimen had than mine, which partly compensated with its fully developed pods. I’m guessing that the plant put a lot of energy into creating and developing them, so there was little left for new buds and flowers.

          On the technical side, I see that I was able to stop down the aperture to f/7.1, small enough keep the main features of the senna plant in focus.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 12, 2015 at 9:56 PM

  2. This puppy dog is a botanical artist’s dream, presenting bud to seed pod all at once! I love your photo of it.


    November 12, 2015 at 8:14 AM

    • There’s a saying in Texas (and elsewhere): “That dog won’t hunt,” meaning that something won’t work or isn’t valid. From what you say, this puppy dog will hunt for you, and I’m pleased to hear it. The pleasant feel of the leaflets is caused by lots of small, soft hairs, which also act to hold raindrops in place. That would add another element to a botanical artist’s depiction of this species.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 12, 2015 at 8:33 AM

      • It would indeed. Small white hairs are a bear to render in pen and ink.


        November 12, 2015 at 8:43 AM

        • I just took a look at a photo I’d taken of Lindheimer’s senna leaflets with raindrops on them. The little hairs are barely visible; they look more like texture than like separate objects, so you probably wouldn’t need to put them in individually.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 12, 2015 at 8:48 AM

          • Yes, right. I drew a Pasque Flower a year ago or so, that has long hairs. I drew those by grouping them, the way I’d do fur, and by placing a dark leaf behind for contrast.


            November 12, 2015 at 9:01 AM

  3. Another member of the pea family. Nice pods.

    Jim in IA

    November 12, 2015 at 9:28 AM

  4. very beautiful flower


    November 12, 2015 at 10:48 AM

  5. I always enjoy an image that portrays the several stages of a plant’s flowering. This is a good one. The pods make me hungry for some snow peas.

    Steve Gingold

    November 12, 2015 at 4:29 PM

  6. Excelente fotografía, muy interesante.

    Isabel F. Bernaldo de Quirós

    November 15, 2015 at 2:04 PM

  7. […] surprising, given that it grows in my neighborhood and that on several occasions I’ve shown the other species of senna that grows here. This one is Senna roemeriana, known as two-leaf senna or two-leaved senna. The […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: