Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: Lake Taupo

with 32 comments

A year ago today we stopped at the south end of Lake Taupo, where I photographed some graceful toetoe (pronounced in Māori tó-eh-tó-eh, placed in botany in the genus Austroderia). Here’s a closer looks that lets you see the detailed structure in one of the seed heads:

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 17, 2018 at 4:42 AM

32 Responses

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  1. The NZ Ministry of Tourism should employ you; you make New Zealand look so good!


    February 17, 2018 at 5:38 AM

  2. these are lovely –


    February 17, 2018 at 5:49 AM

  3. The drape of the seed heads is lovely. Each time you’ve written of toetoe, I’ve thought of ballerinas: also graceful. There’s a plant along some coastal bayous and in the refuges that has a seedhead much like this, but I don’t know what it is, and I can’t even find an image of it online. Clearly, I need better search terms!


    February 17, 2018 at 6:39 AM

    • You’ve seconded Gallivanta’s “lovely.” The vote is in and the motion passes resoundingly.

      Can you submit pictures to the people who run the refuges or to your local NPSOT chapter or the established NPSOT chapter in Houston? I see that the latter has a Facebook page:


      People submit plant ID requests on the Austin NPSOT Facebook page. For example:


      Steve Schwartzman

      February 17, 2018 at 7:24 AM

      • Submitting a photo to Facebook would be great, except I choose not to be on Facebook. I have joined iNaturalist, so that’s a possibility. There’s a grass expert who’s quite active in our NPSOT chapter, and if I don’t have an ID by then, I can ask him at our next board meeting.

        Anyway, I don’t mind wandering into dead ends on these ID searches, since I learn a good bit along the way about things I wasn’t searching for. You know: Serendipitista commonalis.


        February 17, 2018 at 7:47 AM

        • Yeah, Facebook can be a nuisance; I understand why you choose not to go there.

          I thought you might be the first in the genus Serendipitista; you’re not:


          One of the joys of browsing library shelves, and now the Internet, is finding new things and unexpected connections.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 17, 2018 at 8:09 AM

  4. Beautiful pictures, Steve! 🙂


    February 17, 2018 at 9:48 AM

  5. The seed heads are very nice. They seem longer than those of C. selloana (Pampas Grass). I just read Pampas Grass is now in New Zealand and even Australia. It also found its way also to California. It spreads readily by seed. I love your image and how the light makes it glow.


    February 18, 2018 at 8:34 AM

    • Thanks, Maria. Alas, New Zealand is heavily afflicted with non-native species of both plants and animals that were brought there accidentally or on purpose. Why anyone felt the need to import pampas grass when the country already had its native toetoe, I’ll never understand. I’ve read that a good way to distinguish the two is that toetoe seed heads droop.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 18, 2018 at 8:59 AM

      • P.S. For more info, you can follow the link I provided in my first reply to ksbeth, above.

        Steve Schwartzman

        February 18, 2018 at 9:02 AM

      • Yes, I read about it, and one of the distinguishing features of Toetoe is that it gracefully bends at the tip. Australia is also dealing with Pampas too. It’s amazing how much they have spread.


        February 18, 2018 at 10:41 AM

        • Lots of people plant pampas grass in Austin. Fortunately it hasn’t spread to the wild here.

          One showy native grass that landscapers have increasingly been using is gulf muhly:


          Steve Schwartzman

          February 18, 2018 at 11:03 AM

          • Beautiful image. Gulf muhly is also native in P.R.. I also remember seeing this beautiful pink over there. I looked it up in Spanish and they call it ‘Rabo de pavo real, or Yerba de pelos’. This is new to me since I rarely photographed grasses.


            February 18, 2018 at 4:40 PM

            • I can more easily see gulf muhly as pelos than as rabo de pavo real (the colors aren’t right).
              Grasses offer a lot to photograph, though many details are small enough to require a macro lens to do them justice.

              Steve Schwartzman

              February 18, 2018 at 4:58 PM

              • The ‘pavo real’ I think refers to the fan-like shape of the grasses as they grow, from one point, spreading out, although I don’t know where the allusion comes from.


                February 18, 2018 at 5:19 PM

  6. So much stupidity done by humans too. Beautiful shots.


    February 18, 2018 at 9:54 AM

    • The British did their best to cut down as much native forest as possible and replace it with fast-growing trees like pines, which now cover huge swathes of territory.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 18, 2018 at 10:27 AM

      • Sad


        February 18, 2018 at 12:00 PM

        • Yes. I wanted to tell people over there that I didn’t need to travel half-way around the world to see pine trees. I can see them right here in Texas.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 18, 2018 at 2:15 PM

          • And here. But my impression is that the New Zealanders are very attentive to and caring for their nature. I was very impressed.


            February 18, 2018 at 3:43 PM

            • True, there’s a consciousness now to save and preserve, but so relatively little remains.

              Steve Schwartzman

              February 18, 2018 at 3:49 PM

  7. I really like that first photo!


    February 18, 2018 at 10:14 PM

  8. It is such an elegant plant and the image is beautiful with the clouds hanging in the background 😃


    February 21, 2018 at 12:14 PM

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