Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Not yet lost

with 28 comments

Clasping-Leaf Coneflower Colony with Trees 5487

Diagonally across Heatherwilde Blvd. from the piece of prairie I mentioned last time in Pflugerville that recently became a construction site is the still natural piece you see here. How long it will keep looking like this I don’t know, because signs indicate that the land is the future home of a high school.

In the meantime, gaze upon the splendor of this dense colony of clasping-leaf coneflowers, Dracopis amplexicaulis, as it looked on May 20. It was the best stand of this species I’d seen since I began documenting native plants in 1999, and there were other substantial parts of the colony outside the frame of this image. Thank you, Blackland Prairie.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 23, 2016 at 5:08 AM

28 Responses

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  1. Oh, this is stunning Steve. And I popped over to check out the close up – such a lovely flower. I do hope they don’t destroy the entire site in the construction work – a high school SHOULD have a wild-flower meadow!


    June 23, 2016 at 6:20 AM

    • I’ve had the same idea, Jude. I’ve thought of finding out who’s in charge of the project and working to convince that person to preserve some of the land as a native prairie. As far as I know, that would be unique among high schools.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 23, 2016 at 10:11 AM

  2. And to think I was impressed when I found three dozen or so coneflowers in a vacant lot. Now that I know these plants, I can image how spectacular this was in person. Even if the land remains undisturbed, it may be a while before another display like this appears — I’m so glad you were there to capture it.


    June 23, 2016 at 7:21 AM

    • Me too. This site is only about a mile from the one whose dense colony of clasping-leaf coneflowers (mixed with horsemints and other wildflowers) fascinated me in 1999. Even then that other parcel had wooden stakes on it, and within weeks it became a construction site. A truck depot has sat on it since then, but I never pass the place without remembering the glorious site (and sight) it once was.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 23, 2016 at 10:15 AM

  3. Absolutely fantastic, this field of flowers! 🙂


    June 23, 2016 at 7:42 AM

  4. That is glorious, Steve. I wonder~would it be worth getting citizens together to fight development in your area? It’s tough, but there are communities that have pulled it off.


    June 23, 2016 at 8:00 AM

    • About 15 years ago some of us got together to try to convince a suburban city council to buy and preserve a parcel of land on the prairie to keep it from development. We failed on that one. About 5 years ago a bunch of people in my neighborhood did succeed in raising money to buy back a piece of land that had been sold for taxes at auction. That parcel then got added to Great Hills Park.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 23, 2016 at 10:20 AM

  5. A heart-lifting sight.


    June 23, 2016 at 8:32 AM

  6. Wow, splendid view. Again I think about paintings.


    June 23, 2016 at 9:25 AM

  7. And thank you Mr Schwartzman 😀


    June 24, 2016 at 2:26 PM

  8. It’s so sad how fast these bits of beauty are disappearing.

    Emily Scott

    June 26, 2016 at 12:48 AM

    • Fewer and fewer people will grow up with scenes like this as normal parts of their lives.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 26, 2016 at 6:23 AM

      • Yes. They won’t even know what’s been lost.

        Emily Scott

        June 27, 2016 at 1:06 AM

        • A book that I read last year conceived it as having a baseline to judge a natural phenomenon by. The author made the point that modern baselines are well below those that prevailed centuries ago.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 27, 2016 at 6:46 AM

  9. We have a similar piece of property, albeit without the wonderful swath of colorful blooms, nearby that recently had a for sale sign placed at its edge. It sits across from another field that has been protected and those folks are trying to raise the funds for this one as well. We hope it works out.

    Steve Gingold

    June 28, 2016 at 4:23 AM

    • I’ll join you in hoping it works out. When we were in northeast Illinois two weeks ago we saw that Lake County (where Melissa lives) has preserved noticeably many parcels of land even as rapid development has continued.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 28, 2016 at 4:33 AM

  10. […] of this year’s abundance of Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) blooms. Nothing quite like Steve’s fields of flowers, but for here it is a pretty good […]

  11. Heart-breaking to look at this tremendous abundance after reading the earlier post. We as humans do take over, don’t we? I wish we could do it in a less intrusive way. Your posts here remind me of the prairie across the highway from the house where I grew up. I loved to go climb up and sit in a tree branch and watch the pheasants poke around below. Now, it’s a shopping mall.

    Susan Scheid

    July 2, 2016 at 4:06 PM

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