Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A close view of a wood sorrel flower

with 44 comments

Purple Wood Sorrel Flower with Petals Ribboned Back 8837

In the previous post you didn’t see much of the wood sorrel flower, Oxalis drummondii, that caught my attention on the floor of the woods in Great Hills Park on November 4th, although it did coincidentally lend its color to all the foliage in the negative version of yesterday’s image.

A few paces from that scene I found the wood sorrel flower shown here. It had its five petals appealingly ribboned back to form a would-be pentagon, even as an adjacent bud on the same plant was beginning to open. If you’d like to compare a close view of a wood sorrel flower when its petals aren’t curled down, you can check out a post from this blog’s first fall.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 15, 2015 at 4:57 AM

44 Responses

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  1. That is a close match to this color. http://www.computerhope.com/cgi-bin/htmlcolor.pl?c=E01FEB

    Jim in IA

    November 15, 2015 at 9:26 AM

    • It is.
      Is there a search engine that lets you put in a patch of color and then finds the color code?

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 15, 2015 at 10:22 AM

      • There are lots of them that show color patch examples of color codes. I haven’t found one that lets me click on any place on my screen with an eye-dropper to capture the code. There may be one.

        Jim in IA

        November 15, 2015 at 12:24 PM

        • Your mention of an eye dropper got me thinking about Photoshop. If I use its eye dropper tool to click on a color, I can then see the corresponding RGB values and the color code. For example, when I clicked on a part of the wood sorrel flower, I got the code #aa28eb.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 15, 2015 at 6:37 PM

          • I have used that handy tool. Very helpful.

            I found a small app at the Mac App store called Color Picker. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/color-picker/id641027709?mt=12
            It lets me hover a little magnifier over any part of the screen and return the code. I did a part of the sorrel and got codes for RGB, HEX, and two others I’ve never seen before.

            Jim in IA

            November 15, 2015 at 8:19 PM

            • Color Picker’s been around for several years as freeware. I used it when I was creating my blog, to match my text color to the template. I still remember how amazed I was that you could pick up the color from the WordPress template, and then change the color of text in the editor.


              November 16, 2015 at 7:06 AM

              • I’ve never used a text color here other than black. Maybe I should experiment.

                Steve Schwartzman

                November 16, 2015 at 7:29 AM

                • Please don’t. I’ve stopped reading many blogs because it simply isn’t worth the struggle of enlarging and squinting just to make out the words. Because I can read your blog without difficulty, I can enjoy your words and images. Obviously you can accomplish lots of creative tasks that make your blog enjoyable, but please don’t mess with the black text!


                  November 18, 2015 at 10:37 PM

                • Thanks for mentioning that. It’s something I hadn’t considered, but now that you’ve brought it up, I’ve found that some blogs are hard to read because of text that’s tiny or grey rather than black. I’d never go that route.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  November 19, 2015 at 5:36 AM

  2. This is such a sweet plant that I’ve only come across once in the wild. I really like how you’ve portrayed it both times here.


    November 15, 2015 at 9:36 AM

  3. I love the combination of intensity and simplicity.

    Marcia Levy

    November 15, 2015 at 10:14 AM

  4. Such a vibrant pink and flat shape that it looks almost unreal!

    Emily Scott

    November 15, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    • I agree. The flower does have an unreal quality to it, almost as if someone had painted it with pastels.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 15, 2015 at 11:12 AM

  5. Bellísima imagen. Gracias.

    Isabel F. Bernaldo de Quirós

    November 15, 2015 at 2:02 PM

  6. There is so much to see and be fascinated by in nature. Your post is a wonderful suggestion to slow down a bit and take time to see and enjoy what is really before our eyes.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    November 15, 2015 at 2:43 PM

    • “Slow down and see the wood sorrel” may not have the cachet of “Stop and smell the roses,” but the sentiment is the same. I never run out of subjects for nature photographs.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 15, 2015 at 6:40 PM

  7. Wow! Gorgeous!


    November 16, 2015 at 12:14 AM

  8. Ribboned back and almost button-like.


    November 16, 2015 at 1:19 AM

    • Somehow I never thought of the button. A pentagonal one would be something of a novelty. Math teachers could wear shirts or blouses with various polygonal buttons.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 16, 2015 at 6:05 AM

      • Indeed they should. Many buttons are flower shaped, and they come in many other shapes as well.


        November 16, 2015 at 7:07 AM

        • Flower buttons are appropriate because one meaning of French bouton, the word from which we get button in English, is ‘flower bud’.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 16, 2015 at 7:48 AM

  9. Wood Sorrel is not uncommon here, but I’ve not seen them purple as your drummondii species which does not occur here. Lovely color and image, Steve.
    Wondering if you ever use a white balance card to be sure of color fidelity? Of course, that is of little help if the rest of us aren’t calibrated.

    Steve Gingold

    November 16, 2015 at 3:32 AM

    • We also have a species of wood sorrel with yellow flowers here, which may be the color you’re familiar with in Massachusetts. I searched your blog but didn’t find a wood sorrel image to confirm that.

      No, I haven’t used a white balance card. I do sometimes wonder about color fidelity, but I haven’t done anything to try to achieve it. In any case, as you said, people are going to see each photo we post on whatever monitor they have.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 16, 2015 at 6:15 AM

  10. This is very appealing in terms of geometry and colour, Steve. Gorgeous! Two things sprang to my mind. Firstly, a treasured pinwheel I bought at a a small country show when I was a child. Secondly, the flower and the bud remind me of a swan, the bud and its stem being the swan’s head and neck. A very fancy swan though! 🙂


    November 16, 2015 at 4:52 AM

    • I think the image of a pinwheel was nagging at my brain but didn’t make it through, so I’m glad you mentioned it and also glad it carried you back to a treasure from childhood. In contrast, you’re way ahead of me in seeing a swan, which my imagination would probably never have suggested.

      This little flower seemed almost unreal in its color, so I feel fortunate to have been able to get a picture of it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 16, 2015 at 6:22 AM

  11. I suspect you’ve never wondered whether one of your flowers has a connection to varnishing and woodwork, but here it is.

    A wood bleach I use from time to time contains oxalic acid. I just browsed the etymologies, and sure enough, the sharp, tangy-tasting sorrel and my wood bleach are related. The leaves of the plants contain oxalic acid (as do rhubarb, spinach, and Brussels sprouts) and there have been some interesting projects, including this one in New Zealand to produce oxalic acid from plant waste.

    One of the most useful forms of oxalic acid is the cleaning compound called Barkeeper’s Friend. It’s about 10% oxalic acid. If you make a slurry of it, and cover rust spots, on fiberglass or other surfaces, you can come back in five or ten minutes and the rust will be gone. Whether a slurry of crushed wood sorrel leaves would do the same is doubtful, but if I find some, I’d be willing to give it a try.


    November 16, 2015 at 7:39 AM

    • I knew about the connection to oxalic acid, but not, as you suspected, about any further connection to varnishing and woodwork. If you do try your experiment with wood sorrel leaves, let us know how effective they are compared to the commercial cleaning compound.

      Since you’ve brought up etymology, I’ll add that the English word sorrel is related to sour, a reference to the way oxalic acid tastes in our mouth. I’ve read that some people like to include a few wood sorrel leaves in a salad to add a contrasting feel and taste.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 16, 2015 at 7:57 AM

  12. This is beautiful. It jumps out of the picture


    November 16, 2015 at 8:58 AM

  13. This is brilliant!!

    Birder's Journey

    November 22, 2015 at 5:32 AM

  14. Such vibrant colour from such a tiny spot of nature!

    My Small Surrenders

    December 11, 2015 at 9:34 AM

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