Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Not Flopsy but Ipomopsy

with 15 comments

Standing Cypress Flowering 6266

This rigidly tall plant is Ipomopsis rubra, known colloquially as standing cypress and Texas plume. The photograph is from one month ago today at Tejas Camp in Williamson County.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 30, 2016 at 5:03 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , ,

15 Responses

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  1. Beautifully delicate blossoms. Great shot against the blue sky!


    June 30, 2016 at 8:20 AM

    • The blue sky is an excellent natural background for these flowers. I’ll confess to having used it for this species many times.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 30, 2016 at 11:44 AM

  2. This is a gorgeous plant, Steve.


    June 30, 2016 at 8:36 AM

  3. Why was my first impression of a string of tree lights? Green electrical cord with red lights? I agree with Pit … nice shot against the sky. Did you use fill flash?

    Pairodox Farm

    June 30, 2016 at 7:33 PM

    • That’s an appropriate question. I found plenty of light on the flowers so I didn’t need fill flash. In trying to answer your other question I came up with a hypothesis: the finely dissected leaves of this plant resemble needles on an evergreen tree (cypress, for example), and red and green have become traditional Christmas colors, so it’s not far-fetched to imagine the lights on a Christmas tree.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 30, 2016 at 7:52 PM

  4. What a gorgeous photo. I found some examples in the hill country about three weeks ago, but no blue sky to go with them. Still, I’d found them, and that’s what counted. One of the things that surprised me was finding a thick, fallen stalk that had three slender stalks growing out of it, loaded with blooms.I thought the buds were as pretty as the fully opened flowers, as well as the feathery foliage. I was surprised by how tall some of the stalks were, too — three and four feet was common.

    I’ve never seen so much red as I did on that trip: scarlet leatherflower, salvia, coral bean, Turk’s cap, and a couple that I haven’t identified yet. Thinking back, it seems as though most of those plants were in the shade or dappled light. I wonder if their vibrant color is a way to draw the attention of pollinators.

    This article about color is interesting: “Why Red Means red in Almost Every Language.”


    June 30, 2016 at 8:21 PM

    • Hey, I’m glad you’ve made the personal acquaintance of this species. I agree that it typically takes a blue sky, either solid or with soft clouds, to bring out the best in this plant. On the other hand, for a close-up we can look down:


      That sight made me agree with your (then future) comment that “the buds were as pretty as the fully opened flowers.” As for the plant’s height, Enquist gives 5 ft. as an upper limit, but I seem to recall occasional plants taller than I am.

      And speaking of red and pollinators, Shinners and Mahler’s mentions that Ipomopsis rubra (rubra means red) is pollinated by ruby-throated hummingbirds.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 1, 2016 at 8:26 AM

      • And there’s my revelation for the day. The “rubrics” in liturgical books traditionally were printed in red. Beyond that, there were hummingbirds of some sort feeding at the flowers. Whether they were ruby-throated, I can’t say. I was having a hard enough time just spotting them, as they were the fastest I’ve ever seen.


        July 1, 2016 at 8:55 AM

    • Thanks for that excellent article about color perception and color names. I remember learning in linguistics class decades ago that if a language has a name for a color beyond white and black, that color is invariably red.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 1, 2016 at 9:01 AM

  5. Wonderful Steve .. Looks fab against the blue sky


    July 1, 2016 at 4:21 AM

  6. This is my favorite stage of spiked flowers. Mature in the middle with blooms yet to open above.

    Steve Gingold

    July 1, 2016 at 11:44 AM

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