Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Another white variant

with 25 comments

In a recent post you saw a pretty white variant of a spiderwort, a wildflower that is normally purple or magenta or violet. Another purplish wildflower that occasionally shades to white is the bluebonnet, Lupinus texensis, one of the five lupine species in Texas that are collectively the official state wildflower. I found this pleasantly pale bluebonnet in the median of Morado Circle in my neighborhood on April 5th. The tiny tan insect is a thrips (that’s one of those nouns ending in -s whose singular and plural are spelled and pronounced the same way, like series and species).

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 17, 2018 at 4:51 AM

25 Responses

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  1. You may have written about his before and I don’t remember it — have you ever seen a white variant of a red, orange, or yellow flower? The only time I’ve seen such a thing was a group of buttercups whose petals were variegated, with yellow and white together. Of course, they might have been in decline, turning white the same way white evening primrose or rain lilies will turn pink.

    shoreacres

    April 17, 2018 at 6:06 AM

      • I didn’t find that one when I looked, and didn’t remember it, even though I commented on it at the time. Good of you to find it. I enjoyed reading the botanist’s comment again, too. It made more sense to me this time around.

        shoreacres

        April 17, 2018 at 8:31 AM

        • I didn’t remember it till after I’d searched and found it. We retraced TX 20 last week; unfortunately the wildflowers along the same stretch that provided the white-tipped firewheel picture and many more were poor by comparison with their showiness in 2013. (I could’ve said they paled in comparison.) At least we found some good Indian paintbrushes near Bastrop; I’ll show a picture of them in the days ahead.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 17, 2018 at 8:46 AM

  2. Here’s a couple of Bluebonnets that aren’t really blue or white. I saw them at the Play for All Abilities park in Round Rock this season.

    https://smile.amazon.com/photos/share/TyPZCvUibQ16u0FN3yosnqoLJKelYXS4eBBS2i56jDs

    craig78681

    April 17, 2018 at 8:03 AM

    • Looks like they were trying to be white and couldn’t quite make it. The one above has slight vestiges of blue, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 17, 2018 at 8:11 AM

  3. Vive la difference!

    melissabluefineart

    April 17, 2018 at 8:52 AM

  4. Going to talk about language in this comment:

    “The tiny tan insect is a thrips (that’s one of those nouns ending in -s whose singular and plural are spelled and pronounced the same way, like series and species).”

    I immediately thought of scissors. I also thought of lens as a singular word that ends with s, but the plural is lenses. (Involvement w/astronomy usually brings lens/lenses to mind.) As for pants (noun), not sure how to discuss singular/plural.
    ++++
    “white variant of a spiderwort, a wildflower that is normally purple or magenta or violet. Another purplish wildflower that occasionally shades to white is the bluebonnet”

    I’m collecting info about purple for blogging about next. Crayola purple is my first encounter with the color. In later years, I’ve run across variants, which confuse me–violet, lilac, lavender, mauve, …
    +++
    Nice pic of the spiderwort! Also checked out links about past spiderwort topics.

    whilldtkwriter

    April 17, 2018 at 11:05 AM

  5. I’m sure I must have had an encounter with a thrips before. They are rather common, although could be easily bypassed because of their size.

    Maria

    April 17, 2018 at 11:14 AM

    • I think many people don’t even notice that a thrips is an insect and not a splinter or other bit of debris.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 17, 2018 at 9:21 PM

  6. Even though white is my favorite color, I would still prefer blue bluebonnets. Have you seen the Texas A&M red bluebonnet? I probably asked that already.

    tonytomeo

    April 17, 2018 at 10:06 PM

    • I don’t remember that you asked that. Yes, I have seen some of the red bluebonnets. Here’s what the website of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center says at https://www.wildflower.org/expert/show.php?id=5237:

      “If you are a UT Longhorn fan, you probably aren’t going to be impressed with having Aggie bluebonnets in your garden. However, if you are a Texas A&M Aggie fan, you probably will be very happy. Dr. Jerry Parsons from Texas A&M developed these bluebonnets and has also come up with other colors of bluebonnets (there’s also one called Barbara Bush Lavender). Actually, you may have the variety called “Henry’s Red” or “Alamo Fire” and not the maroon Aggie bluebonnet. These red bluebonnets have been showing up more frequently (I saw them for sale at my local HEB Grocery last spring). Wildseed Farms in Fredricksburg has seeds of the Alamo Fire/Maroon bluebonnet for sale.

      “Just so that you know, if your red flowers are near enough to normal blue-colored bluebonnets so that at least some cross-pollination occurs, your next year’s crop will not have all red flowers. It will probably be a mixture of blue, lavender and red. Red bluebonnets (or white, pink or lavender ones) are not true breeding. The form of the gene that produces the normal blue color is dominant over any of the other color variations so that any pollen from normal blue-colored bluebonnets that reaches your red flowers will ensure that next year’s crop will not be all red. Only pollen from red bluebonnets fertilizing other red bluebonnets will give you red bluebonnets again next year.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 18, 2018 at 5:44 AM

      • They are getting to be like the California poppies that are now available in all those weird colors. I do happen to like the white though.

        tonytomeo

        April 18, 2018 at 9:55 PM

        • If California splits into three states, each one can have a poppy of a distinctive color.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 19, 2018 at 7:17 AM

          • California had better NOT split into three states. We should just give Los Angeles the boot, and let it be its own third world country.

            tonytomeo

            April 19, 2018 at 9:25 PM

  7. The link for thrips says they are an irritation to humans. I concur. The white variant bluebonnet, however, is a pleasure.

    Gallivanta

    April 18, 2018 at 2:57 AM

    • I, too, would be irritated if I encountered large swarms of thrips, especially on one of our trips. In contrast, I see how you could take the measure of a white bluebonnet and find it a pleasure.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 18, 2018 at 5:52 AM


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