Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Details, details

with 27 comments

In a comment an hour ago on this morning’s post about a Great Plains ladies’ tresses orchid (Spiranthes magnicamporum), Dianne requested a closeup. Okay, I’m easy. Here’s a zoomed-in look at a picture I took yesterday of one of these orchids alone. Actually not alone, as I discovered when I looked at the enlargement: in the upper left corner of the picture you’ll find a crab spider whose body probably wasn’t more than one-eighth of an inch (3mm) long.


Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 22, 2017 at 11:40 AM

27 Responses

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  1. Now that’s a really wonderful close-up! Thanks for sharing.


    October 22, 2017 at 12:05 PM

  2. Isn’t it fun to find those insects hidden away? I went back and looked at my clutch of ladies’ tresses photos from last spring, and discovered a few insects among them, including a syrphid fly called Pseudodoros clavatus and a carpenter bee. I’d forgotten that I have some photos of the orchids in bud and going to seed, too. Every stage is a delight.

    With your first photo, I didn’t catch that this is a different species from any I’ve seen here. In my “orchid field” I’ve identified S. longilabris and S. vernalis. There are two other species that I’m not sure about: S. praecox and S. tuberosa, which might actually be S. lacera.

    I suspect what I saw in Arkansas was fragrant ladies’ tresses. So many orchids, so little time!


    October 22, 2017 at 1:16 PM

    • Look at all the species of Spiranthes we have in the United States, even beyond the bunch you’ve mentioned:


      I don’t know how to tell them apart. I originally assumed, based on Enquist, that the species I was seeing in Austin is S. cernua, but Bill Carr told me otherwise. Let’s hear it for experts.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 22, 2017 at 5:44 PM

      • It’s amazing how many species there are. I’ve resisted joining the hand lens brigade, but it does seem that with these plants small differences in the shape of the flower and its color (yellow stripe? plain white? green and yellow?) are important identifiers. I’m keeping my eye out for a used copy of the Liggio’s book. An aquaintance loaned me her copy for a week, but that wasn’t nearly long enough to do much more than drool over the photos.


        October 22, 2017 at 10:23 PM

  3. Such lovely, delicate petals. Thanks! The tiny 🕷 is a nice feature, too.


    October 22, 2017 at 1:16 PM

  4. Beautiful Steve, both the previous image and this one. Love the tiny spider!


    October 22, 2017 at 6:35 PM

  5. Beautiful, Steve. Thank you for accommodating the request.


    October 22, 2017 at 8:16 PM

    • You’re welcome. I aim to please, and what better way than with a closeup of a native orchid?

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 22, 2017 at 8:51 PM

  6. Delicate details; some of the edges look like crepe (material).


    October 23, 2017 at 6:06 AM

  7. Fabulous Steve .. and I just spotted the tiny spider 🙂


    October 26, 2017 at 1:49 PM

    • It’s pretty inconspicuous up there in the corner, so a viewer could be forgiven for not immediately spotting it. In contrast, not seeing the orchid would difficult.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 26, 2017 at 1:52 PM

  8. […] What would autumn in Austin be if I didn’t show you at least one picture of prairie agalinis (Agalinis heterophylla)? This October 21st portrait is from the same property in my hilly northwestern part of Austin where I found a ladies’ tresses orchid. […]

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