Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Those silky strands again

with 28 comments


The last time you saw Clematis drummondii was as a constellation of flowers in far north Austin on September 7th. Some of the plants there that day were more advanced and their flowers had begun producing the silky strands that when still further along and dingier give the species the common name old man’s beard. None of that dinginess here yet, only a fresh silvery green sheen.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 12, 2016 at 4:53 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , ,

28 Responses

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  1. Lovely!


    November 12, 2016 at 4:59 AM

  2. Love Clematis … the C. Virginiana here is a mass of fluffy balls in every ditch.

    jane tims

    November 12, 2016 at 6:07 AM

    • I looked up Clematis virginiana and found at


      that a common name for it is devil’s darning needles. I’m glad you have a local species to play with.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 12, 2016 at 8:59 AM

      • I wrote a poem once about Clematis with the line: ‘devil’s darning needle mending hole in hedgerow’.

        jane tims

        November 12, 2016 at 11:21 AM

        • That’s a great (and rhythmic) verbal image.

          I’ve looked at pictures of your species but haven’t figured out what feature of the plant people see as darning needles. When I was a kid on Long Island, darning needle was a common name for a dragonfly.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 12, 2016 at 12:00 PM

  3. Love this!


    November 12, 2016 at 8:13 AM

  4. Lovely plant – so delicate.

    Sherry Felix

    November 12, 2016 at 8:18 AM

    • Delicate and yet quite hardy, even continuing to grow for hundreds of miles west of Austin as Texas turns into a desert.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 12, 2016 at 9:09 AM

  5. Oh Steve this is beautiful. I never get tired of them either.


    November 12, 2016 at 10:32 AM

    • Thanks, Melissa. Have you painted any Clematis strands?

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 12, 2016 at 10:41 AM

      • I have not. It would be an interesting challenge for next summer.


        November 12, 2016 at 10:42 AM

        • Go for it; summer will be here before you know it.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 12, 2016 at 11:39 AM

          • I’m all in a panic because another artist pal of mine and I have agreed to have a holiday show. A designer we know is going to host it and promote it so we know what to do in the future. It occurred to me this morning that that means I need to have some show-stoppers ready. gulp. Speaking of events being here before I know it…


            November 14, 2016 at 9:53 AM

            • Speaking of being in a panic: Panicum is a grass, so maybe that’s what you should paint.

              Seriously, whatever you do paint, I’d encourage you to do so in your freer, less-realistic style, for maximum effect. Happy holidays!

              Steve Schwartzman

              November 14, 2016 at 10:08 AM

              • I will bear that in mind, Steve. Thank you. It is such a reflex to fall back to my old boring ways in a moment like that. Panicum painted loosely could be a study in color and line…I like that.


                November 14, 2016 at 10:20 AM

  6. A most delightful silky dancer! Beautiful and most charming shot!


    November 12, 2016 at 12:20 PM

    • I see how you could infer the movement of a dancer here. I’ve photographed the strands of this species many times and so am always looking for a new take on it.

      I was going to leave a comment on your blog yesterday but you seem to have turned off comments.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 12, 2016 at 12:30 PM

      • Sorry to hear that Steve and I really don’t know why would be the case because I never turn or turned of my comments. I will have to check it out, thanks for letting me know about it. Have a lovely week!


        November 14, 2016 at 12:25 PM

  7. The silky strands are well worth revisiting. The Disney studios could well have incorporated one of these in a Fantasia-like animation.


    November 12, 2016 at 6:54 PM

  8. I just found my photos of Clematis pitcheri and Clematis texensis strands. Even though the family resemblance is clear, I still prefer Clematis drummondii.

    I was so impressed by how widespread it was between Abilene and Junction. Much of it was quite fluffy, but it was everywhere — fences, trees, pastures — and I’m sure there would have been some of these beautiful strands that you captured. I was tempted to stop and take photos, but I needed to be in Kerrville by late afternoon, and I’d taken preventive measures: removing the battery and card from the camera, and stashing it in the far reaches of the trunk. It was silly, of course, but I know how easily tempted I am.


    November 12, 2016 at 10:23 PM

    • On the return from our Southwest trip two years ago I stopped to photograph some Clematis drummondii on I-10 in west Texas. On the just-ended trip we came back down through San Angelo and Big Spring, and I saw mounds on fences out that way too. In California I saw what I took to be Clematis but I have no idea what species it was. Stranger in a strange land, and all that.

      With the leatherflowers, I like the flowers well enough but the strands are, as you pointed out, a poor cousin to those of C. drummondii.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 12, 2016 at 11:22 PM

  9. Wow! Love this Mr Schwartzman ..


    November 15, 2016 at 3:59 AM

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