Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Orange is the new red

with 20 comments

Possumhaw with Orange Fruit 1847

To tell the truth, not new, but an occasional variant: sometimes the little fruits of the possumhaw tree, Ilex decidua, are orange rather than the red you saw two days ago. That was obviously true for this possumhaw that I photographed on January 13th along TX 29 near the town of Bertram.

I’ve come to think of the stretch of TX 29 between the towns of Liberty Hill and Burnet as the Possumhaw Trail because there are a fair number of those trees along the highway. Three years ago I showed another possumhaw picture from this stretch of road. In fact, in looking back at my take from that day I noticed I’d photographed an orange-fruited possumhaw then too, so below I’ve added another view of one. The large bare tree at the right is a live oak (Quercus fusiformis), and the yellowing leaves at the left are from a greenbrier vine (Smilax bona-nox).

Possumhaw with Orange Fruit by Bare Live Oak Tree 5607

If you live in central Texas, you may want to go for a drive along the Possumhaw Trail before the trees leaf out again in February.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 21, 2016 at 4:50 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , ,

20 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Always nice to see some bursts of colour in winter. We have the dry of summer now so it’s rare to see much colour here as well other than in seedbeds and tree fruits.

    Chas Spain

    January 21, 2016 at 5:42 AM

    • There are many people in the northern United States now who would be happy to step into your Australian summer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 21, 2016 at 7:13 AM

      • Yes – the snow & frost looks beautiful but I’m not sure how anyone further north manages. I lived through quite a few UK winters which are mild compared to the US and Canada!

        Chas Spain

        January 21, 2016 at 7:24 AM

        • I don’t know how they manage, either. The New York winters I grew up with provided an impulse to move south. I’ve now lived in Austin a good deal longer than I lived in New York.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 21, 2016 at 7:40 AM

  2. The weekend forecast looks perfect, and your possumhaw photos are so appealing, I actually took a look at the map. I think it’s a little too far for a weekend jaunt, since I like to do more than just drive.

    But I noticed something on the map that tickled me. Have you been to Oatmeal, Texas? It’s on the northern edge of the Balcones Canyonlands, south of Bertram and halfway between Liberty Hill and Burnet. I love this: “The folks who put together the official map of the State of Texas had also decided to leave Oatmeal off the map because there was not an intersection of main highways there. Well, something had to be done about that. Now we had a cause. Oatmeal is back on the map.”

    Indeed, it is. they even have a festival.


    January 21, 2016 at 7:28 AM

    • I seem to recall that years ago Texas Highways did a piece about small Texas towns with quaint names. I’ve driven through Oatmeal and have been aware of its annual festival for years but have never attended. It sounds like the kind of thing you could easily grind a post out of if you attended, but you wouldn’t see any fruiting possumhaws at that time of year.

      Nearby Bertram has some folksy things to see as well:


      I interviewed Garrett Wilkinson, the first person featured in that link, in 1999, the last year of his life.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 21, 2016 at 7:57 AM

      • That’s interesting. What was the occasion of the interview?


        January 21, 2016 at 8:00 AM

        • In 1999 I decided to put together a CD with photographs (and accompanying notes) highlighting Austin and the towns within an hour’s drive. Folk art was a component, and that’s how I became aware of Garrett Wilkinson. I planned to include a bit of nature to balance all the cultural stuff, but after I learned how many native plants we have that I’d known nothing about, I ended up producing two CDs, one devoted to human-related things and the other to nature. That project permanently shifted the balance in the pictures I’ve taken since then toward nature.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 21, 2016 at 8:12 AM

          • I thought I remembered you mentioning in this blog that it was around 1999 that you began your nature photography. What a wonderful example of serendipity, and of the way experiences can lead us in directions we never intended.


            January 21, 2016 at 8:15 AM

            • That’s for sure. I’d dome some landscapes in the decades before then, but the focus on individual native plants was new.

              Steve Schwartzman

              January 21, 2016 at 8:33 AM

  3. There are a couple of crab apple trees at Quabbin that these remind me of..not that the tree shapes are alike, but the profusion of fruits. I am amazed at how long it takes for birds to “discover” those trees, however once they do it doesn’t take long before they are bare.

    Steve Gingold

    January 22, 2016 at 5:37 AM

    • I searched your blog for “crab” in hopes of seeing one of the crab apple trees you mentioned, but I got only a single hit. It mentioned (but didn’t show) a crab spider, so perhaps you’ll show a crab apple tree photo in the year ahead.

      You’ve reminded me that when I was little we had a crab apple tree in our back yard. I can’t remember whether it appears in any old family photos, but it’s still in my head.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 22, 2016 at 5:46 AM

  4. Color in winter is such a special gift, really appreciate the photos.


    January 22, 2016 at 10:49 AM

    • Not for nothing is this tree also called winterberry. Even down here where we don’t have much of a winter I’m still always delighted to see possumhaws covered with fruit.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 22, 2016 at 12:20 PM

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: