Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

From copper lily to copperleaf

with 8 comments

Acalypha Inflorescence 3997

On August 18 along Great Northern Blvd. I photographed this inflorescence of a little native plant in the genus Acalypha. I’m not sure of the species but some in this genus are known as copperleaf, so combine that with the subject of yesterday’s post and you’ve got today’s title.

You’re looking at the male flowers; the female flowers in this species are on a separate plant. The whole spike shown here, including the part with the leaves, might have been about 2 inches (5cm) long. That makes this one of those lie-on-the-ground-and-aim-slightly-upward sorts of pictures that are so much “fun” to take.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 15, 2016 at 4:52 AM

8 Responses

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  1. What a combination of elements: shiny leaves (wet, or sticky?), hairy edges, and flowers that looks vaguely like cooked quinoa. It’s proof positive that getting that ground-level view can be worth it, though. The details are amazing.

    The threads of spider silk reminded me of some other plants you’ve found covered with webbing, like this one. Perhaps you captured the beginning of the same sort of process.


    September 15, 2016 at 7:49 AM

    • I’m pretty sure the shininess was from morning dew or leftover rain rather than stickiness.

      Leave it to your fertile imagination to link these tiny buds and flowers to quinoa; I can see the resemblance now that you mention it. As far as I know, Acalypha isn’t edible.

      Spider silk is present on an awful lot of plants. Part of me wants to say all, even if that is (or is not) an exaggeration. I’d forgotten about the picture you linked to, which, now that I see it again, I’m still pleased to have managed to get. It wasn’t easy.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 15, 2016 at 8:05 AM

  2. Fabulous image Steve. I think avocados are interesting with pollination. Day 1 flower opens as female, day 2 opens as male.


    September 16, 2016 at 2:54 PM

  3. Hi Steve,
    It’s stranger Jane here. I’ve missed your blog but it’s nice to catch up with a movie length viewing of the pics I’ve missed. 🙂
    Thank you for suffering for your art. Those lying on the ground shots pointing up do sound “delightful.” I wonder if there were ants to add to the fun this time?
    When I first glimpsed this picture the flower looked to be encrusted with sugar crystals. That could be the quality of my little laptop and deteriorating eyes though. You’ve done a beautiful job with the contrasting background, and the details of the hairs and the flowers. But you always do, don’t you? 🙂


    September 17, 2016 at 1:26 AM

    • Welcome back. This is the first of your current comments but the last one I got to. If I’d known you were about to do some movie-length viewing I’d have provided popcorn.

      I can’t remember if any fire ants got to me when I took this picture, but I did get a few of their bites in other places recently. The worst such thing I endured this season was on Monday. After I returned from almost three hours out in nature, I ended up with several dozen chigger bites (chiggers are mites that are too small for us to see). Those bites don’t usually show up till at least a few hours later, and they’re very itchy. Definitely an occupational hazard for a nature photographer here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 17, 2016 at 10:40 AM

      • Chiggers definitely provide another dimension in parasitic misery. I remember well a hike up a dry creek bed in the Flint Hills of Kansas one late August. Should have taken a hot bath afterward but didn’t, and wound up with more than 75 chigger bites, 25 of which were within a space the size of a quarter where my left buttock met my leg. I went to the Kansas State clinic and all they would give me was Calamine lotion. For something like three days I was concentrating so hard on not starting to scratch (because I’d never be able to stop) that I almost couldn’t put subject and verb together. Unforgettable.


        September 17, 2016 at 1:30 PM

        • That’s an apt phrase: “another dimension in parasitic misery.” I commiserate with you, brother, on your experience with more than 75 chigger bites at the same time. I got a large number like that a couple of years ago and had trouble sleeping for a few nights. I’ve occasionally tried taking a hot bath as soon as I get back home from being out in a place with chiggers, but it hasn’t helped. The thing that’s been most effective for me is to take an internal antihistamine, specifically 24-hour fexofenadine (drowsiness-inducing diphenhydramine is okay near bedtime). Daubing hydrocortisone cream on chigger bites helps me some too.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 17, 2016 at 2:08 PM

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