Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

What I found on a spiderwort leaf

with 16 comments

As you heard last time, I photographed a few spiderwort (Tradescantia spp.) flowers alongside my house on March 6th. These plants have long but narrow leaves, on one of which I noticed something less than an inch in length:

Click for greater size and clarity.

Click for greater size and clarity.

Not knowing what it was, I turned to local aficionada Val Bugh, who identified it as “a batch of leafhopper eggs. From their size and look, I would guess they are one of the larger species… You can see the brochosomes (that white waxy stuff) that many leafhoppers use to cover their eggs, which is another clue.” Thanks, Val.

Back in the realm of botany, notice (especially if you click to enlarge) how much the spiderwort leaf looks like a textile. Thanks, macro lens.

I thought I’d close by linking to a post in which I showed a leafhopper, but when I searched I discovered I’ve never shown one. To remedy that, here’s a leafhopper* on a mesquite pod in northeast Austin on June 3, 2011. (It just dawned on me that that was one day before my first post on this blog.)

* Update: Steve Gingold has pointed out that the second picture shows a planthopper rather than a leafhopper. Oh, terminology.

Leafhopper on Mesquite Pod 5066

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 23, 2016 at 5:01 AM

16 Responses

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  1. In addition to the flowers, I have always liked the parallel venation of the spiderwort leaves. I believe your hopper to be the plant variety rather than leaf.

    Steve Gingold

    March 23, 2016 at 5:16 AM

  2. I still am surprised at the number of little extras that show up in images once I have them on the computer. I often don’t notice things like your leafhopper eggs when I’m out and about. And of course, “Well, look at that” often is followed by, “What the heck is it?”

    The texture of the leafhopper’s as pleasing as the textured leaf. It’s rare to see a shade of green in nature that edges toward celadon, but the hopper certainly brought it to mind. I’d love to see the leafhopper done in porcelain with a celadon glaze. I think it would be beautiful.


    March 23, 2016 at 7:27 AM

    • I’m afraid I more often fall into the “What the heck is it?” group than into the “I know what that is” group. Check out Steve Gingold’s comment above and the reply I was writing to it while you were composing your comment.

      According to the American Heritage Dictionary, that color word comes from “Céladon, a character in L’Astrée, a romance by Honoré d’Urfé (1568-1625), French writer, after Celadōn, a character in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.” I found that Celadōn was “a man killed by Perseus at the marriage of Andromeda.” It turns out that in the French novel Céladon is a man who disguises himself as a woman “in order to transgress a religious ceremony consisting of a re-staging of the Judgement of Paris, in which three shepherdesses are to be judged on their beauty by another shepherdess playing the (male) role of Paris himself.” I assume Céladon must have dressed in pale green.

      If you know anyone who could create the porcelain you imagined, perhaps you can suggest the project.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 23, 2016 at 7:50 AM

  3. I haven’t heard of a leafhopper and looking at your second image I doubt I would have even noticed one anyway! And yes, that texture is something else.


    March 23, 2016 at 7:52 AM

    • I’ve heard of planthoppers and leafhoppers but haven’t learned to tell them apart. Thanks to Steve Gingold, I now know that the one that looks to me like a little leaf gets called a planthopper. I’m okay when it comes to text and texture, but not so great with biological terminology.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 23, 2016 at 8:05 AM

  4. Until I read the text I had no conception of the scale of that first image – and that is the joy of ‘abstracts’ like this. They play tricks with our eyes. And It looks even more bizarre when viewed larger.


    March 23, 2016 at 1:55 PM

    • Ah yes, information can remove the scales from our eyes. As you say, in an abstract image there’s often no way to tell how big or little something is, and that’s one reason I like abstractions.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 23, 2016 at 2:18 PM

  5. Amazing macro photos!


    March 23, 2016 at 6:32 PM

  6. That sure is a leaf hopper. Ever tried to ‘catch’ one? They sure are quick … Nice pic


    March 24, 2016 at 8:06 PM

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