Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for September 2016

Small grasshopper on prickly pear cactus by ripening tuna

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Place: greenbelt along the upper reaches of Bull Creek.

Date: September 12.

Reminder: tuna is the Spanish (and now English) name for the fruit of the prickly pear cactus.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 30, 2016 at 5:14 AM

Like stars in the night in the bright heat of the Texas sun

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Our most common Clematis, C. drummondii, can flower in dense groups even late in the summer and on into the fall. The flowers average about three-quarters of an inch across (18mm).

I photographed this creamy constellation in far north Austin on September 7th. For years I wandered the property with abandon, but now only a small portion remains undeveloped.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 29, 2016 at 4:52 AM

Golden dalea

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Posting that picture of the springwater dancer damselfly yesterday reminded me that I’d forgotten to show you something else I photographed on August 1 out at the Doeskin Ranch in Burnet County. It’s a wildflower called golden dalea or golden prairie clover, Dalea aurea, which makes its debut here today.*

How about that sinuous inflorescence? It’s as soft to the touch as it looks. Call it Texas’s answer to the pussy willow, and you’ll get no argument from me.

On a historical and counter-confusionary note: this genus was named for the English apothecary, physician, and geologist Samuel Dale, whereas the better known dahlia ended up getting named after the Swedish botanist Anders Dahl.

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* Two other species of Dalea have appeared in these pages: Dalea enneandra and Dalea formosa.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 28, 2016 at 4:56 AM


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Springwater Dancer Damselfly 3092

Click for greater size and detail.

On August 1st at the Doeskin Ranch I photographed this springwater dancer, Argia plana. I pluralized the post’s title because I’ve learned that the damselfly with parasitic mites on it that I showed you last month is a dusky dancer, Argia transplana.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 27, 2016 at 4:41 AM

Lindheimer’s senna and clouds

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Lindheimer’s senna is nothing new in central Texas, even if Innovation Way is where I photographed this stand of Senna lindheimeriana healthily flowering in its customary autumnal way on September 9th in Cedar Park.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 26, 2016 at 5:03 AM

Kidneywood trees flowering

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By the beginning of September the kidneywood trees (Eysenhardtia texana) were flowering their heads off. The first view is from the appropriately named Floral Park Drive in my neighborhood on September 2. So’s the closeup below.


© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 25, 2016 at 5:01 AM

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Olive hairstreak butterfly

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During the same September 12th outing along the upper reaches of Bull Creek that brought you the previous picture of prairie agalinis I noticed that some frostweed plants (Verbesina virginica) had begun flowering. My focus in this picture, however, was on the Callophrys gryneus butterfly that was busy on many of those frostweed flowers. The generally docile little butterflies in this species are known as olive hairstreaks or juniper hairstreaks due to the green on their wings.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 24, 2016 at 4:57 AM

Speaking of prairie agalinis…

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Speaking of prairie agalinis (Agalinis heterophylla), as I did briefly last time, here’s a view of that wildflower in its own right along the upper stretch of Bull Creek on September 12th. The pink cloud is an out-of-focus vision of more prairie agalinis flowers in the background.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 23, 2016 at 5:10 AM

Bitterweed colony

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For weeks I’ve been seeing colonies of bitterweed, Helenium amarum var. amarum, turning parts of fields yellow, like this one along BMC Drive in Cedar Park on September 9th. If you’d like a reminder of what an individual flower head in this species looks like, you can turn back to a post from this past winter. The few pink flowers in today’s photograph are prairie agalinis, Agalinis heterophylla.

Today marks the autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere. Let me add that afternoon highs in Austin for most of the last few days have been around 98°F (37°C). That (and until now the calendar) notwithstanding, posts here over the last couple of weeks have kept demonstrating that even in such heat Austin’s plants are smart enough to have entered fall mode.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 22, 2016 at 5:06 AM

Not yet its own flowers

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As of September 9th these poverty weed bushes (Baccharis neglecta) along BMC Drive in Cedar Park hadn’t yet produced any of their own flowers but were adorned with those of Ipomoea cordatotriloba, known as purple bindweed or tievine, which had been having a great time around central Texas for some weeks already, both crawling along the ground and climbing on other things. Notice how the vine was questing into the air in several places, looking to go higher even when there was nothing any higher to latch on to.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 21, 2016 at 4:56 AM

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