Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Yellow before pink

with 23 comments

While several of the mountain pinks along Capital of Texas Highway on June 19th were white, most of the plants had flowers of their usual color. A few were vibrant, including the ones shown here that I used as the middle ground against which to play off this square-bud primrose flower, Calylophus berlandieri. The stigma in these flowers can be yellow, as here, or black, as I showed a couple of years ago.

UPDATE: the latest botanical classification for the square-bud primrose is Oenothera capillifolia subsp. capillifolia.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 29, 2017 at 4:54 AM

23 Responses

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  1. I wonder if the color of the stigma doesn’t indicate pollination..


    June 29, 2017 at 7:53 AM

    • I remember reading that in the bluebonnet, which is the state flower of Texas, a color change occurs after the pollen gets too old to be viable. In the case of the square-bud primrose, my impression is that the stigma’s color is what it is and doesn’t change—but I don’t know if I’m correct.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 29, 2017 at 8:09 AM

      • Oh that is interesting. Our trillium grows pink over time.


        June 30, 2017 at 7:39 AM

        • What color is your trillium before it turns pink?

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 30, 2017 at 8:29 AM

          • snowy white. There are great stands of the large white trillium, and I know that there are individual nodding white trilliums lurking in the masses. Or perhaps they merely represent individual variation. If botanists got ahold of humans, think how many “species” they’d put us in!


            July 1, 2017 at 7:54 AM

            • That’s a good thought about human species. On the scientific side, I’ve wondered how many generations it might take for people who permanently settle on other planets to become a different species.

              We don’t have trilliums in Austin. Your mention of white flowers turning pink reminded me of a local wildflower that likewise turns pink as it (quickly) ages, the rain-lily:


              Steve Schwartzman

              July 1, 2017 at 8:07 AM

              • Ah, the lovely rain-lily. Wish we had that here…I’ll send you some trilliums for some rain-lilies 🙂


                July 2, 2017 at 9:37 AM

                • I’ll be content to witness each in its native habitat.

                  Yesterday morning I went back out to photograph a lone rain-lily I’d observed near home while driving back from grocery shopping. I photographed the one, then remembered a “vacant” lot about a mile further east where I’ve found rain-lilies in other years. Sure enough, I did find some there. In one morning I managed to get both local species.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 2, 2017 at 9:48 AM

  2. Looks great! I like tha composition – the yellow flower sharp in focus in front of that blurry background.


    June 29, 2017 at 10:26 AM

    • I wished I could get the frontmost petal in focus, too, but it was a choice between that and the rest of the flower, so I went with the rest. I’m still happy with the resulting contrasts between near and far and between colors.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 29, 2017 at 3:24 PM

  3. I remembered that a common name for this is Berlandier’s sundrops. The way this one is shining, it’s certainly an appropriate name. I very much like the square shape. It reminds me of Ludwigia octovalvis, which I managed to figure out is in the same family. I especially like the combination of the bright yellow and vibrant pink. Most mountain pinks I’ve seen haven’t been that bright, but of course they could have been old and fading when I found them.


    June 29, 2017 at 9:09 PM

    • The four-ness of this species is particularly evident in its buds, which have an approximately square cross-section. There’s indeed a similar square-ness in the capsules of Ludwigia octovalvis, as you mentioned and as I just reminded myself by looking at


      The combination of bright yellow and hot pink in today’s photograph grabbed me, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 30, 2017 at 6:45 AM

      • And your post about the Ludwigia also reminded me of that great phrase you used: “sumpy place.”


        June 30, 2017 at 7:14 AM

        • Better a sumpy place than a dumpy place. With a sumpy place there’s usually sumpin good for a nature photographer to take pictures of.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 30, 2017 at 8:30 AM

          • There’s nothing like a giggle in the morning. I rarely feel moved to add a smiley, but that deserves it. 🙂


            June 30, 2017 at 8:34 AM

  4. […] white in the background at the top of yesterday’s photograph came from the rocky cliffs along Capital of Texas Highway north of FM 2222. The most recent cliff […]

  5. You’re beginning to have threads of a riddle or children’s verse!

    yellow before pink
    when pink is white
    red before sunset
    before day turns to night?

  6. The photo is a beautiful example of well-paired complementary colors.

    • And you’ve seen how fond I am of playing off a color in the foreground against a contrasting one in the background. Fortunately nature keeps giving me chances to do that.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 30, 2017 at 5:04 PM

  7. Hey Steve .. love the colours – the purple lifts the yellow and makes it pop


    July 5, 2017 at 2:25 AM

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