Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


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Marsh Calla Flower 7377

Volo is Latin for ‘I want.’ How convenient, because I want to show you a Calla palustris flower that I photographed at the Volo Bog State Natural Area in Lake County, Illinois, on June 7. Vernacular names for this native plant are bog arum, marsh calla, wild calla, and water-arum.

Thanks to Melissa Pierson for taking us to one of her favorite places in nature.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 12, 2016 at 4:40 AM

30 Responses

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  1. Here’s another overlap for us, although not a TX plant. These also grow in the bog I visited Sunday although they were not flowering at this time.

    Steve Gingold

    July 12, 2016 at 5:19 AM

    • Then my timing in Illinois was good. I’d have been disappointed not to get a picture of a marsh calla.

      Texas does have bogs, but as far as I know they’re all hours away in the eastern part of the state.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 12, 2016 at 5:52 AM

  2. The simplicity is beautiful, and it’s great that you were able to be there during its bloom time. I was so surprised to find that it produces a bright red fruit — that’s not something I’ve ever associated with callas.


    July 12, 2016 at 6:42 AM

    • I’ve learned that the cultivated calla lilies are from southern Africa, but fortunately Melissa knew that the ones in this bog are native (she also pointed out various other plants there that have invaded from abroad). I’d like to have seen the red fruits, which I didn’t know about till your comment, but if something had to give, it’s better to have seen the flowers and forgone the fruits.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 12, 2016 at 7:49 AM

  3. That Melissa person was quite the guide for you. 🙂

    Jim Ruebush

    July 12, 2016 at 7:22 AM

  4. What a beauty.


    July 12, 2016 at 7:44 AM

  5. That Melissa person was so happy to meet both the Steve person and the Jim person 🙂
    This is a superb image, Steve. Gorgeous. I love how the little bit of other leaf peaks out in counterpoint at the lower right.


    July 12, 2016 at 7:52 AM

  6. Beautifully composed Steve! Lovely to see the wild calla 🙂

    • This is a good welcome back from Greece for you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 13, 2016 at 3:57 PM

      • It truly is 😀 Actually been back a week but it’s been a busy one!!

        • Yes, it took me a while to settle back in after the three-week vacation that produced today’s photograph and many others.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 13, 2016 at 4:28 PM

          • I keep having to remind myself that I’m not still in Greece and should therefore put looroll down the loo NOT in the bin!!! Temp here is going up to 33 degrees by Tuesday which in UK humidity will be unbearable but was just perfect in Kos. Actually got up to around 39/40 a couple of the days we were there and we did stick to the shaded woodland!

            • I’ve never seen the word looroll but after a few seconds of puzzlement I figured it out. The distinction you’ve made with respect to that between Britain and Greece is the same one I learned to make between the United States and Honduras when I went to the latter in 1968.

              Wow, 33°C in the UK: the times, they are a-changing. Even in Texas we haven’t yet hit 40°C this summer.

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 17, 2016 at 8:59 PM

              • Hahaha, yes “loo” is a very British word for the toilet I believe! In Greece it’s all because the Italians were made to put in their sewage systems as part of the reparations after WWII and they used rather narrow pipes. I expect some other countries have similar issues with how the sewage systems were first built and also how the sewage is processed.

                So, yes, it was 33 here today and towards the Midlands it hit a heady 34 which I think is around the top temperature ever recorded in the UK! I went butterfly hunting and discovered that pretty much all our sensible wildlife was hiding from the oppressive humidity! It’s weird going out places that are usually alive with birdsong and it’s utterly silent except for the occasional crow. Lots of skippers around though 🙂 Tonight it’s not going to fall below 22 and it’s muggy as hell. Being the UK though it all changes on Thursday when temperatures will drop by nearly 10 degrees 😉

                • Sounds like the UK has gotten confused and thinks it’s Texas. Now you’ll all have to follow suit and start talking with American accents.

                  You’re right that loo is mostly British but people over here understand it and some occasionally even use it. What was new to me was the addition of the second part to make looroll. Now that you’re on a roll, we’ll have to see what else you come up with.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 19, 2016 at 7:33 PM

                • I’m very glad to hear that people do occasionally use the loo over there!!

                  You’re right though, the UK has been very confused of late! Most of it thought we were still a really important trading and manufacturing nation of the industrial era. That part of it therefore believed that all of Europe should be bowing and scraping before us! It’s an unfortunate disease of the mind that has left those of us still living in the real world in a bit of a pickle.

                  I should ask you about your feelings on the Trump issue before I put my foot in anything?

                • Yes, people do occasionally use the loo over here. And think of the opportunity Shakespeare passed up: That which we call a loo, by any other name would smell as… Actually, from the little research I did, the term loo goes back only as far as the first half of the 20th century.

                  As for the presidential election campaign over here, I’ll echo what I heard someone say on television: in a country of over 300 million people, are Clinton and Trump really the best candidates their two parties could come up with? Nature photography is so much more gratifying.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 20, 2016 at 6:02 AM

                • I seem to recall that there are many theories on where and when the word loo actually came into being! I don’t think anyone knows for certain. Some theories are to do with the British sensibilities of the Victorian era calling it room 100. Shakespeare and Chaucer originally came up with the words that led to today’s much maligned C-word!! They had no shame 😉

                  I think Trump really trumps the UK farce that is Farage! Both are complete embarrassments and I would propose building a wall between us and them. I just don’t understand how such morons have gained any support in the first place?!?

                  Nature makes far more sense to me than humanity!

                • The “Room 100” strikes me as pure folk etymology. Here are a couple of hypotheses about the origin of loo that at least are plausible:


                  People like to make up stories, like “Fornication Under Consent of the King” as the origin of the F-word. As for the C-word, it’s not that Chaucer or Shakespeare invented it, but that the word was already in the English language and they used it or referred obliquely to it.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 20, 2016 at 7:30 AM

                • Oh I’m sure it’s totally made up! A pun on Waterloo sounds plausible. Yes, I suppose Shakespeare and Chaucer didn’t always make up the words attributed to them but it would make sense that they may be the first written forms of such words. I think Chaucer wrote it as “quinte” which is rather quaint!

                • I also had no idea that the Italians had to install sewage systems in Greece as reparations after WWII. The things one learns…

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 19, 2016 at 7:36 PM

                • The Greek Islanders were some of the bravest souls during that war!! Same with the Maltese. It’s obviously the Mediterranean spirit! They’d lived very simple, self-sufficient lives, primarily in agriculture before the war. The mighty West thought that they should be given Western ways and means of living for their bravery! As per usual we made someone else do the job for us and it went a bit pear shaped.

                • I think the first I ever heard about the Greeks during WWII was from the long novel The Magus, by John Fowles, which I bought in Mexico City in 1968 and read mostly in Honduras.


                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 20, 2016 at 6:08 AM

                • That looks heavy going but very intriguing!! Have you never seen The Guns of Navarone or Captain Corelli’s Mandolin? The Greeks were attacked by many nations on many fronts! The ordinary Italian soldiers really didn’t want to be at war and when the Italian forces surrendered to the British many Italian soldiers in the Greek Islands instantly took up arms against the German invaders. They paid a heavy price! The resistance of the Islanders made it impossible for the Germans to ever take full control and they worked closely with the British forces to free the islands eventually. Italy is seen as having made reparation for its part in the occupation but Germany never has! It’s a fact that in the current economic climate the strength of Germany, financially, really is very upsetting to the people of Greece.

                • The Magus is a great psychological novel. It’s long, but in my opinion well worth the time. Fowles put out a (slightly) revised version in 1977, which I also read.

                  Now that you mention it, I did see “The Guns of Navarone” when it came out in 1961, so that would have been an earlier (by 7 years) depiction for me of Greece in the War. I saw “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” a couple of years ago, so I understand what you say about the Italians generally not wanting to be in Greece.

                  As for reparations, couldn’t you consider Germany’s recent financial bailouts of Greece to be a form a reparation?

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 20, 2016 at 7:21 AM

                • Nah, they’re just loans with an obscene interest rate that aren’t just from Germany anyway. Just a way for big banks and corporations to increase their hold over the few remaining assets in Greece! If Germany paid it’s reparation to Greece it would wipe out Greece’s debts altogether. The loans just increase the debts! All a bit of mess really.

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