Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

On the Copperfield Nature Trail

with 19 comments

Prickly Pear Flowering in Dewberry Patch 2487

On April 30, Eve and I made only our second visit to the Copperfield Nature Trail on the prairie in northeast Austin. From time to time along the way we ate some southern dewberries, Rubus trivialis. At one point Eve walked ahead while I took pictures, and when I caught up afterwards she called my attention to a prickly pear cactus flowering in a dewberry patch. The sawtooth-margined compound leaves you see here are all from dewberry vines. Note the prickly pear pad to the left of the reddest dewberry fruit and another beneath the flower. The cactus pads have straight spines and the dewberry canes are covered with curved prickles, so all in all this was one forbidding patch.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 22, 2016 at 5:12 AM

19 Responses

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  1. Perhaps even too formidable for a Brer Rabbit. Then again it could be why the cottontail rabbits like the Copperfield Nature Trail http://www.copperfieldtrails.org/wildlife/


    May 22, 2016 at 5:36 AM

  2. I love the different colors, such beauty but could cause such pain!


    May 22, 2016 at 6:25 AM

    • The colors and shapes appealed to us, too. A couple of years ago in a different place we gathered several pounds of dewberries. We took the precaution of wearing gloves, but they had to be thin gloves to leave our fingers with the dexterity to pluck berries, and the work proved prickly.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 22, 2016 at 7:41 AM

  3. Two things interested me in this photo. One is the glassy appearance of the prickly pear flower, but the other is the way it doesn’t overpower the dewberry. Despite the difference in size, they seem perfectly balanced. It might be that the red tinge of the new leaves supports the berry’s impact. In any event, it’s really a nice photo.


    May 22, 2016 at 7:39 AM

    • Do I detect shades of Chihuly in “the glassy appearance of the prickly pear flower”? We saw a few of his pieces in the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix in 2014, though none represented a prickly pear flower.

      The reddish new leaves do offer a good transition from the fruit to the flower, don’t they? You’re good at noticing such things.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 22, 2016 at 7:51 AM

  4. Kind of a “Where’s Waldo” experience finding those cactus pads….

    kathy henderson

    May 22, 2016 at 3:02 PM

  5. Quite the prickly situation. Love the nice rich yellow of the Opuntia. Hoping my cacti will be fruitful this summer.

    Steve Gingold

    May 22, 2016 at 3:28 PM

    • We’re at about the peak of prickly pear flowerdom now. Some individuals have red mixed in with the yellow in the interior of the flower. Good luck with your Opuntias this summer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 22, 2016 at 5:58 PM

  6. […] to photograph on April 30 along the Copperfield Nature Trail when Eve walked ahead and found the prickly pear flower in the dewberry patch was a white variant of a pink evening primrose, Oenothera speciosa. Near the flower’s upper […]

  7. […] The Rubus species that’s widespread in Austin is R. trivialis. […]

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