Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for April 2018

More pink (and white) evening primroses

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A recent post showed you two less-than-pristine pink evening primrose flowers, Oenothera speciosa, and then compensated with one fresh specimen. Now here are two flourishing groups from April 10th along TX 20 east of Red Rock in Bastrop County. The colony above was mixed with some Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa. In the group below, the majority of the pink evening primrose flowers were natural white variants.

Two days earlier, at the site in Round Rock documented in the other post, I’d already found a few isolated white pink evening primroses, including the one below that I photographed with the sun beyond it to create shadows of the flower’s interior parts.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 30, 2018 at 4:36 AM

A lily and a lady

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On April 17th I spent a while in the right-of-way beneath the power lines west of Morado Circle. There I photographed some of my springtime floral friends, including Schoenocaulon texanum, known as Texas sabadilla, Texas feathershank, and green lily (which is the name I know from Marshall Enquist’s book). The lily in green lily reflects the fact that botanists used to place this plant in the lily family, Liliaceae. Most botanists apparently now put the genus Schoenocaulon in the bunchflower family, Melanthiaceae.

On one of the green lily flower stalks that I noticed during my outing was a painted lady, Vanessa cardui, a species of butterfly about which I recently learned two things. The first, long known, is that it has a wide distribution around the world, including all continents except South America and Antarctica. The other thing, only recently discovered, is that the painted ladies in the UK fly all the way to Africa each autumn. According to the linked article, radar has revealed that “the butterflies are flying at altitudes up to 3,000 feet, which is why they were never spotted by humans, at speeds up to 30mph.”

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 29, 2018 at 4:40 AM

Two closer looks at Texas dandelions

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The previous post showed you a happy colony of Texas dandelions, Pyrrhopappus pauciflorus. Above is a closer look at a single flower head of one that I found growing by a colony of bluebonnets along Sam Bass Rd. in Round Rock on April 8th. Below from the same location is a Texas dandelion that had already gone to seed and formed the familiar puffball.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 27, 2018 at 4:55 AM

Texas dandelions en masse

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Behold a colony of Texas dandelions, Pyrrhopappus pauciflorus, flowering near a pond on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin on April 16th. This wildflower has occasionally been called a false dandelion because it’s the true one here.

There were parts of the site where pink evening primroses, Oenothera speciosa, outnumbered the Texas dandelions.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 26, 2018 at 4:52 AM

Anemone seeds

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Behold a ten-petal anemone (Anemone decapetala) that was already dispersing its seeds on April 5th. The color in the background came from bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) that were also growing in the median on Morado Circle. Those bluebonnets stayed fresh for about three weeks but are now following the anemone’s lead from back then.

While I was in the median, I noticed that a couple of rain-lilies, Cooperia pedunculata, had somehow crossed each other. One of them had even snagged a couple of wind-borne anemone seeds and their attached fluff.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 25, 2018 at 4:39 AM

Not like my high school, and probably not like yours, either

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What makes Round Rock’s Cedar Ridge High School distinctive in the spring is the great extent to which wildflowers cover the front part of its campus. Mostly that means bluebonnets, Lupinus texensis. Still, several other species put in an appearance; the prominent yellow flower heads in the photo above are greenthread, Thelesperma filifolium, one of the most common wildflowers in central Texas. The few mostly red flower heads are Gaillardia pulchella, known as blanketflower, Indian blanket, and firewheel.

The picture below gives you a sense of scale. By the time I took these pictures on April 16th, visitors had made little hollows in various places where they’d posed for portraits in the bluebonnets. While I aimed to keep those people-pressed hollows out of my photographs, there might be one just to the right of center in the second photograph. I didn’t get close to the trees, which from a distance looked like they might be huisaches.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 24, 2018 at 4:51 AM

White prickly poppy center

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White Prickly Poppy Flower Center 0486

Here’s a close and downward look at Argemone albiflora, the white prickly poppy. Notice the crowd of yellow stamens invariably paying homage to the red-topped pistil that rises above them in the center of the flower. This photograph is from Great Hills Park on April 23, 2013, five years ago today. I’d planned to show the picture soon afterward but put the post aside and only recently rediscovered it. Better late than never.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 23, 2018 at 4:47 AM

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