Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Viny competition

with 25 comments

The previous post featured a flower of Cynanchum racemosum var. unifarium, known as talayote. The plant is a milkweed vine, and its viny nature is clear in the picture above, which shows some talayote twined around the stalk of a Mexican hat, Ratibida columnifera. Also in evidence in the photograph, and likewise looking for a foothold on other plants, is some Clematis drummondii, known as old man’s beard based on its appearance in a later phase.

They say you can’t tell the players without a scorecard, so here it is.

Twining vine: talayote
Linear vine: old man’s beard
Heart-shaped leaves: talayote
Tripartite leaves: old man’s beard
Whitish-green buds: talayote
Darker buds: old man’s beard

Below, also from May 25, 2011, in my northwest Austin neighborhood, is a closer look at talayote grabbing a Mexican hat seed head.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 22, 2017 at 4:47 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , ,

25 Responses

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  1. That’s quite a stranglehold!


    December 22, 2017 at 6:08 AM

    • At first I read stranglehold as strangehold. Isn’t that strange? Maybe it was under the influence of Noël.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 22, 2017 at 8:00 AM

      • Maybe, but it was also a strange hold.


        December 22, 2017 at 6:03 PM

        • Now you’ve reminded me of “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” which begins with the lines:

          “There are strange things done in the midnight sun
          By the men who moil for gold.”

          Me, I moil for photographs.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 22, 2017 at 11:00 PM

          • That you do!


            December 22, 2017 at 11:43 PM

            • Is there anything that you’d say you moil for?

              Steve Schwartzman

              December 23, 2017 at 5:54 AM

              • If I use this definition ” hard work; drudgery.
                “this night his weekly moil is at an end” I could call my supermarket shop my weekly moil.


                December 23, 2017 at 6:11 PM

                • Sounds like you’ve got that chore under control. May no one ever say of you: “I find her moil turmoil.”

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  December 23, 2017 at 7:09 PM

                • Ha! Well as long as my thoughts are not embroiled in moil, I’ll be okay.


                  December 23, 2017 at 7:29 PM

                • Even so, I’d rather be embroiled in moil than boiled or broiled in oil.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  December 23, 2017 at 7:33 PM

                • Ditto


                  December 23, 2017 at 7:37 PM

  2. A slo-mo wrestling match. The Mexican Hat seeds are neat, very geometric

    Robert Parker

    December 22, 2017 at 6:11 AM

    • Geometric indeed. That’s apparent in an earlier stage, too:


      Steve Schwartzman

      December 22, 2017 at 8:04 AM

      • Most greenhouses & conservatories I’ve visited focus on floral displays & tropical jungle plants – – there are places that have desert climates, I just saw one at the Phipps in Pittsburgh, but I’d like to see more plants from semi-arid regions, and not just succulents. This is a neat plant.

        Robert Parker

        December 22, 2017 at 8:15 AM

        • You make a good point about what’s highlighted in greenhouses and conservatories. Mexican hats are so common here that many Texas have traditionally thought of them as weeds. Not I, who never get tired of photographing the various stages of this species. While Mexican hats peak in May, it’s not unusual to see stray individuals flowering much later in the year, even as late as December.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 22, 2017 at 8:33 AM

  3. Very cool–I’ve seen this plant, had no clue it was a milkweed! There are so, so many…..

    Jeri Porter

    December 22, 2017 at 7:38 AM

    • I believe you’re the first person I’ve encountered who’s seen this plant, which seems not to be common in Austin, unlike some of the many other milkweeds. I hope I’ll get to see this one a second time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 22, 2017 at 8:09 AM

  4. Yikes what a mess. I read somewhere that vines and jelly fish are going to take over the world.


    December 22, 2017 at 9:31 AM

  5. A stranglehold comes to mind for me as well, and I’ve seen time-lapse sequences of vines like this extending their coils around other things in their vicinity, and they remind me of nothing so much as the actions of constrictor snakes.


    December 22, 2017 at 1:57 PM

    • I’ve seen some of those time-lapses too. As you say, they look similar to constrictors. I’ve also seen time-lapses of plants questing after sunlight.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 22, 2017 at 4:39 PM

  6. The talayote leaves remind me of snailseed (Cocculus carolinus). It’s fun to see the bud of Clematis drummondii, too. I’ve only seen the plant on the other end of its life cycle. Now I’ll know what to look for.

    Tangled images like this always remind me of the paintings of Henri Rousseau: minus the fanciful creatures and odd little people, of course.


    December 22, 2017 at 10:53 PM

  7. It looks a little similar to bindweed … again one of those plants that is good at stranglehold


    December 26, 2017 at 12:52 AM

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