Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A multitude of white

with 10 comments

On March 30th in a meadow underlain with limestone I found a dense colony of flowering Valerianella amarella, known by the strange common name of corn salad. By comparing the size of the prickly pear cactus pads, you can see that corn salad flowers are small. In fact they’re even smaller than you might think, because each dab of white in the picture above is actually a cluster of little flowers. Here’s a closeup of one cluster:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 6, 2017 at 4:55 AM

10 Responses

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  1. Could this photo have been taken on Yaupon Drive, by any chance? Those prickly pears look vaguely familiar; I think you’ve visited that spot before. I’d go back again and again, too. Those are delightful flowers, and well worth a closer look. Of course, you know me. The only thing better than a white flower is a cluster of white flowers, and these are especially nice.


    April 6, 2017 at 7:31 AM

    • If you were not only observant but psychic, you’d have reported that I happened to go to Yaupon Drive again yesterday afternoon. I did a similar post last year,


      with photographs taken in approximately the same place. The same prickly pear plant might appear in both posts, but the loss and growth of pads from one year to the next makes it hard for me to tell.

      Speaking of white, I’ll add that rain lilies began appearing here last week. Let’s hope they’re coming up near you as well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 6, 2017 at 7:44 AM

  2. So delicate and beautiful. Also, I am enjoying the photos of natural scenes in NZ. It is a beautiful place and so rich in scenery. I loved the uniqueness of the birds there to include penguins. I don’t really remember many small plants.


    April 6, 2017 at 7:38 AM

    • As scenic as New Zealand is, it presents a problem for a native plant photographer because the British cleared a large part of the land and introduced many alien species. That’s true to such an extend that I created a flippant but largely true adage: if you see a wildflower, it’s not native. On both trips to New Zealand, my best hope for finding native wildflowers was to go to [p]reserves where people had replanted native species, some of which had signs identifying them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 6, 2017 at 7:54 AM

  3. Excellent.


    April 6, 2017 at 12:10 PM

  4. I have grown corn salad (or lamb’s lettuce) in my garden. It’s very good to eat. But your corn salad may be a little less palatable because its common name seems to be hairy corn salad. I don’t remember white flowers on my garden variety but that’s probably because I ate it before it had a chance to flower.


    April 7, 2017 at 6:09 AM

    • I’d never considered eating this plant. I searched and turned up a site saying that all the species in the genus are edible, but it was a blog post and I don’t know how trustworthy the statements there are. If I feel adventurous I may nibble a tiny bit and see what happens.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 7, 2017 at 6:52 AM

      • My experience with hairy leaves is that they usually need to be cooked to be even mildly tasty eg raw pumpkin leaves are not nice (in my opinion) but cooked pumpkin leaves are delicious.


        April 7, 2017 at 7:25 AM

        • I agree that hairy leaves don’t sound all that palatable. Cooking may indeed be the answer. Either way, the species of corn salad shown here has small leaves, so it might be difficult to gather enough to make a normal portion. I’ll let you know if I found out anything.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 7, 2017 at 7:34 AM

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