Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Indian paintbrush colony flowering

with 19 comments

On April 10th we followed leads from Craig78681 and Betty Wilkins to head southeast in search of good wildflower displays. We ended up driving a 114-mile circuit that took us as far to the southeast as the intersection of TX 20 and TX 71 outside Bastrop. Today’s photograph shows the welcoming Indian paintbrush colony (Castilleja indivisa) we found there. That display made quite a contrast with Austin, where we didn’t see a lot of Indian paintbrushes this spring.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 18, 2018 at 4:51 AM

19 Responses

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  1. As I look at your Texan wildflowers tonight, I am thinking of former First Lady, Barbara Bush. Reading through an obituary I came across this interesting description:”For all she presented as a well-manicured bluebonnet she was fierce as a Texas bobcat..” Well-manicured and bluebonnet don’t seem to go well together, but I do believe she was an elegant as well as a very determined woman.


    April 18, 2018 at 6:29 AM

    • Ah, how quickly the news travels. We happened to be watching television last night when the story broke.

      Another American president’s wife, Lady Bird Johnson of Texas, is well-known for her love and promotion of wildflowers. In contrast, I believe your quotation is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone mention Barbara Bush in connection with a wildflower. Barbara Pierce Bush was better known as a blueblood than a bluebonnet. Wikipedia notes:

      “Barbara Pierce was born in Manhattan and raised in the suburban town of Rye, New York. She was the daughter of Pauline (née Robinson) and Marvin Pierce, who later became president of McCall Corporation, the publisher of the popular women’s magazines Redbook and McCall’s. She grew up with two elder siblings—Martha and James—and a younger brother named Scott. Her ancestor Thomas Pierce Jr., an early New England colonist, was also an ancestor of Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the United States. She was a fourth cousin, four times removed, of Franklin Pierce and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.”

      As you said, bluebonnets don’t seem to go with “well-manicured.” I wonder how familiar the person who wrote that is with bluebonnets.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 18, 2018 at 8:20 AM

      • I also wondered about the writer’s knowledge of bluebonnets. It may have been more apt to link Barbara Bush to a well-manicured rose, the rose being the state flower of New York ( or so Google tells me.)


        April 18, 2018 at 8:44 AM

        • I confirmed what you said about the rose being the official flower of New York. Apparently my former state doesn’t have an official wildflower.

          By the way, Rye, mentioned in the biographical passage quoted above, is in Westchester County, not far from where I seem to recall you lived for a time.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 18, 2018 at 9:00 AM

  2. This is a visual treat!!


    April 18, 2018 at 7:12 AM

  3. I agree, a real treat.

    Robert Parker

    April 18, 2018 at 8:21 AM

  4. It’s fun to see them en masse like this. I can only imagine what it was like in person.


    April 18, 2018 at 8:30 AM

  5. What a neat display of paints! It’s amazing at how many you have. We get a few later in the summer but never in big displays like that.


    April 18, 2018 at 10:02 AM

    • And this isn’t the best display of paintbrushes we sometimes get, even if it’s the best I saw this year.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 18, 2018 at 11:50 AM

  6. The paintbrushes weren’t as thick here this season, either. The best displays I saw were around San Antonio and along I-10, but I suspect those may have been helped along by the highway department.

    The linking of Mrs. Bush to bluebonnets may have arisen because of her blue eyes. They apparently were so striking that many people think of them as much as her pearls when they speak of her. In fact, there’s going to be a public memorial here in Houston — I believe it’s tonight — and everyone has been asked to wear blue, or pearls, or both.


    April 19, 2018 at 5:41 AM

    • You’re probably right about the highway department helping along the paintbrushes lining the highways you mentioned. That seemed not to be the case with the paintbrushes shown here, which had colonized a field.

      What I share with Barbara Bush isn’t blue eyes or pearls, but hair color.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 19, 2018 at 7:29 AM

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