Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Early huisache flowers

with 22 comments

Huiache Tree Flowering 5424

I photographed this huisache tree (Acacia farnesiana) at Shoal Creek Blvd. and Foster Ln. on February 16th, the earliest I think I’ve ever seen a huisache tree flowering.

The next time I passed this tree was February 25th, 9 days later, by which time I found the flowers already diminished and faded. In contrast, the huisache tree I know in my neighborhood a few miles away from this site hasn’t flowered at all. Perhaps it still will this year; perhaps it won’t.

The numbers mentioned above will certainly have reminded you that 3 squared + 4 squared = 5 squared. Today is February 27th and 27 = 3 cubed, yet there are no positive integers A, B, and C such that A cubed + B cubed = C cubed. We can easily conceive such a thing but the universe doesn’t allow it.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 27, 2016 at 5:08 AM

22 Responses

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  1. Things are happening strangely everywhere this year. In Central Illinois we’ve only had a couple shovelable snows. As far as your formula is concerned I’ll stick with 1+2=3. “Mother De Ment didn’t raise no genius.”


    February 27, 2016 at 6:03 AM

    • I’ve been hearing of warm winters in various places this year, and it’s been mild here too.

      I remember seeing huisache trees flowering as early as the last part of February, which is now, so this one wasn’t much advanced.

      As for the math, I could easily explain it to you, but this isn’t the right venue for that. You might even enjoy it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 27, 2016 at 7:08 AM

  2. My son will do that sometimes, start spouting math at me. It fascinates me, how a mathematician’s mind works. I find it beautiful, both the huisache (fun to say, too) and the math.


    February 27, 2016 at 7:45 AM

    • Huisache is fun to say, and its blossoms are a pleasure to smell. A driver who parks downwind from a flowering huisache can often catch the scent as soon as the car door opens. I catch the scent of numbers just as easily and I don’t even have to be downwind of them. Numbers give off their own eternal breeze.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 27, 2016 at 7:55 AM

  3. There’s nothing like coincidence, and this is a fun one. I trekked off to the nature center today, hoping to confirm the identity of the tree I thought was a huisache. In fact, it is — but the tree provided an exceptionally elegant proof. There was precisely one flower blooming on the tree — but of course, that’s all it took.

    I can’t believe I got the ID right with only the thorns and a few tiny leaves to go by. It will be fun to watch it develop.


    February 27, 2016 at 9:05 PM

    • As I read your comment I thought you might be about to say that you identified the tree even with just one flower because of the scent emanating from it. But you used your skill on that one little floral globe to clinch the huisacheness, no aroma needed. Now I hope hundreds or thousands of other blossoms follow so you can get the full treatment in sight and scent.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 27, 2016 at 11:10 PM

  4. Perhaps there are micro climate areas in Austin which favour early flowering, or perhaps plants have individual responses to the environment just as we do.


    February 28, 2016 at 1:50 AM

  5. Who cannot love a tree, shrub or any other plant that is covered with such a profusion of lovely color such as this Huisache? I imagine there are pockets of different plant zones within your neighborhood just as there can be here.

    Steve Gingold

    February 28, 2016 at 4:44 AM

    • Your question is rhetorical, yet I’ll answer and say “not I.” Even though the huisache at the entrance to Great Hills Park still isn’t doing anything (flower-wise), nor were some other huisaches I know across town when I checked them last week, there’s still time for them to wake up. I’ve seen huisaches densely covered with blossoms as late as April here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 28, 2016 at 7:21 AM

      • I consider that a plus…to know that there is more yet to come of this lovely shrub’s inflorescence..

        Steve Gingold

        February 28, 2016 at 8:44 AM

        • I certainly hope that’s the case.

          One clarification: you can’t tell from this picture, but huisaches are fast-growing and can become large trees. A large one covered with flowers is quite a sight.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 28, 2016 at 9:55 AM

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