Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

What I’d stopped to photograph

with 29 comments

White Pink Evening Primrose Flower 2476

What I’d stopped 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 margins you can make out a faint tinge of the usual color.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 23, 2016 at 5:08 AM

29 Responses

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  1. Is that vibrant yellow and red (receptacle?) unique to the white variety, or have I been so taken with the view from above that I’ve failed to note it before? It seems as though it should belong to an entirely different flower. It also reminds me of a clown suit: appropriate, perhaps, since these are some of Spring’s most willing performers.


    May 23, 2016 at 6:48 AM

    • I noticed the vibrant color as well, and it does seem more intense than what I’m used to on the usual pink flowers. If your question had come a day earlier I’d have checked the undersides of a few more white evening primroses I noticed while out on the prairie yesterday morning, and that I’ll check the next time I see any. I’ve referred to the part in question as a bud’s sheath or covering, but I don’t know what technical term applies. In any case, I thought you’d be intrigued by this latest white flower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 23, 2016 at 7:01 AM

      • I certainly was intrigued. And, speaking of white flowers, have you ever seen white basketflowers? Truly white, with a cream colored center, but not a hint of pink or lavender? That I not only found basketflowers, but found three white basketflowers mixed in with the more usual colors was nearly unbelievable. They may be more common than I realize, but I never have seen one.


        May 25, 2016 at 10:14 PM

        • This may be the answer: Centaurea americana “Aloha Blanca. I may have found a cultivar that escaped from someone’s garden.


          May 25, 2016 at 10:24 PM

          • Actually I don’t think there’s a need to resort to cultivars. I’ve seen some white basket-flowers that I have no reason to doubt are natural, because they’ve been in wild colonies where most of the other flowers have had the traditional coloring. In fact I’ve seen some white ones as recently as yesterday when I went back to a piece of prairie where I’d seen a few white evening primroses a couple of days earlier. Unfortunately I found only pink evening primroses, so I couldn’t check the stripes on the bud covering the way I wanted to.

            Steve Schwartzman

            May 25, 2016 at 10:32 PM

            • The white ones I found were growing together with pink ones. It seems there’s no end to the marvels to be found.


              May 25, 2016 at 10:36 PM

              • So your white basket-flowers seem to have been natural variants. I’ve noticed that purple and violet wildflowers often have white variants.

                Steve Schwartzman

                May 25, 2016 at 10:44 PM

  2. Engaging perspective of a delicate flower. The stripes are unexpected, and the varity of colors makes this primrose striking.


    May 23, 2016 at 6:51 AM

    • I’ve often found that the view from below a flower is a good one, so I frequently get low and take a look. In checking my archive just now I found that I also photographed this flower from below with some blue sky and white clouds above it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 23, 2016 at 7:07 AM

  3. Nice work, Steven.


    May 23, 2016 at 6:51 AM

  4. So beautiful, Steve, many thanks.

    • You’re welcome. We could say that those certain lines on the bud covering resonated with you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 23, 2016 at 7:26 AM

  5. Very nice shot with an unconventional perspective (as well as an unusual variant (?) of the species).


    May 23, 2016 at 8:14 AM

    • It’s a perspective I’m fond of using, and that means I often find myself kneeling, sitting, or even lying on the ground. I’ve seen the white variant of an evening primrose from time to time, including as recently as yesterday morning, when I noticed one plant that had both white and pink flowers on it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 23, 2016 at 8:21 AM

  6. That’s quite a clash of colours going on there. I hadn’t realised that evening primroses come in white and pink as I have only seen the yellow ones growing wild here. I wonder if they all have such beautifully striped bracts (?)


    May 23, 2016 at 8:57 AM

  7. The background, of course, really allows the bloom to stand out and the texture to be well-represented. I occasionally find white variants of pink lady’s slippers and red trillium.

    Steve Gingold

    May 23, 2016 at 12:28 PM

    • How you ever showed any of your white variants?

      In my experience, purple / violet wildflowers are the most likely to have white variants.

      And yes, I favor that formless darker background to highlight the white flower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 23, 2016 at 1:14 PM

      • Here and here. When I visited Northern Maine I got to see and photograph lots of the white lady’s slippers as they are quite common around Baxter State Park.

        That background does for flowers what it does for BOAS (Birds on a Stick or Bug on a Stick).

        Steve Gingold

        May 23, 2016 at 1:23 PM

        • Ah, I’d forgotten about that first one.

          It’s good that BOAS don’t constrict your actions as a photographer.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 23, 2016 at 2:10 PM

  8. Gorgeous!


    May 23, 2016 at 10:20 PM

  9. Hi Steve … wow this is superb. Love the angle, and colours of the sepals … amazing. It looks for the world like you have been out with a paint brush 😀


    May 24, 2016 at 12:28 AM

  10. So strange and beautiful!

    anna warren portfolio

    May 24, 2016 at 3:11 AM

    • I’m used to seeing the striped bud covers of evening primroses (though not usually with such vivid stripes), so I don’t think of them as strange. I’ll go with the beautiful, though.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2016 at 6:52 AM

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