Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Alligators in arid Trans-Pecos Texas?

with 9 comments

Alligator Juniper 9649

Okay, not real alligators, but alligator junipers, Juniperus deppeana, whose rough and patchy bark reminded people—probably people who came from the bayou country in far east Texas—of the skins of those reptiles. I photographed some of those atypically barked junipers on November 20th along TX 118 in the mountains northwest of Fort Davis. The picture below even gives the alligator an eye (and also puts an end, I think, I hope, to the recent spate of zoomorphic and anthropomorphic images).

Alligator Juniper Trunk Detail 9653

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 17, 2015 at 5:39 AM

9 Responses

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  1. This is wonderful. I just happen to have a photo that nicely complements this one. If this juniper recalls an alligator’s skin, these alligator scutes do a pretty good job of recalling mountains — although the Davis mountains aren’t quite so pointed.


    December 17, 2015 at 8:58 AM

    • For the sake of other readers, let me give the definition of scute in the American Heritage Dictionary: ‘A keratinous, chitinous, or bony external plate, as on the shell of a turtle or the underside of a snake.’ Between your picture and mine, on the one hand, and the Davis Mountains on the other, there’s a change in scales.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 17, 2015 at 9:05 AM

  2. I took a 3 quarter plant id class and the instructor put a lot of emphasis on the oomph that bark gives to a garden or landscape. It left a mark, I now really enjoy the unique beauty it brings to the world.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    December 17, 2015 at 10:41 AM

    • I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the words oomph and bark in the same sentence. That combination certainly leaves its own mark.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 17, 2015 at 1:46 PM

  3. Aptly named indeed ..


    December 17, 2015 at 11:47 PM

  4. Snappy! Toothsome!


    December 21, 2015 at 6:49 PM

  5. […] strangely deformed alligator juniper (Juniperus […]

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