Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 36 comments

Behold some winecups, Callirhoe involucrata, at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on May 6th. Below is a closeup of a standing winecup, Callirhoe pedata. In both species, the petals are about an inch long.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 13, 2018 at 4:56 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , ,

36 Responses

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  1. One of my favorite characteristics of the flower is the way it so often seems to be lit from the inside. You’ve captured that well with this one. And that little sly peek into the interior through the split in the petals is terrific. There may not be an infinite number of ways to photograph these flowers, but there always is a new way to see them.


    May 13, 2018 at 6:40 AM

    • For some reason your “lit from the inside” carried me out of the realm of flowers and photography and over to the movie “The Philadelphia Story.” At one point the James Stewart character says to the Katharine Hepburn character: “”You’re lit from within, Tracy. You’ve got fires banked down in you, hearth-fires and holocausts.” That was in 1940, only a few years before the last word in the sentence took on its current association.

      I think that qualifies as a new way to “see” a winecup.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 13, 2018 at 7:18 AM

  2. I guess so. As familiar as I am with that movie, I never “heard” the holocausts part. As Tracy would say, “Golly Moses!!”
    These sure are pretty little flowers.


    May 13, 2018 at 8:01 AM

    • And you may not have “heard” the connection you just made between Moses and the Holocaust.

      Winecups are indeed little flowers. They make up for their size by their rich color.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 13, 2018 at 8:35 AM

      • I did, actually, one of those wild connections that happen in life and language.
        They do indeed. Few wildflowers that I know of are so richly colored.


        May 16, 2018 at 3:48 PM

  3. Next to bluebonnets, winecups are the wildflowers I most look forward to seeing every spring. Sometimes they show up before bluebonnets.
    That second photo is gorgeous!

    Jenny Meadows

    May 13, 2018 at 8:08 AM

    • The second photograph is the “real” one. I included the overview as what you might call documentation.

      Not sure I’ve ever seen a winecup before the bluebonnets come out each spring. In any case, I’m glad to have brought these flowers back to you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 13, 2018 at 8:56 AM

  4. The color of these is fantastic! I’d love t see them growing. I love your second photo!


    May 13, 2018 at 9:14 AM

    • I’m fond of the second photo, too. The other picture provides an overview of winecups but isn’t especially artful.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 13, 2018 at 11:51 AM

  5. Oooh; that is an alluring color. The flowers resemble those of evening primrose.


    May 13, 2018 at 3:46 PM

    • I can see why you note some resemblance in shape to evening primroses, but it turns out winecups are in the mallow family.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 13, 2018 at 8:09 PM

  6. These are beautiful, Steve! They almost look like they have their own internal light source.

    Lavinia Ross

    May 13, 2018 at 5:31 PM

    • It does look as if they’re glowing from within, doesn’t it? So much the better for nature photographers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 13, 2018 at 8:11 PM

  7. Beautiful work Steve. I like how the flower (and stem) gradually emerge from the background, and all in focus.


    May 14, 2018 at 8:35 AM

  8. Wow! These are so beautiful and that close up just glows.


    May 14, 2018 at 10:17 PM

  9. It occurs to me that the white center could be viewed as the ‘kiss within the cup’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drink_to_Me_Only_with_Thine_Eyes


    May 16, 2018 at 3:08 AM

  10. Lovely🌷👌👌


    May 17, 2018 at 4:11 AM

  11. Delightful colour .. it looks like a little lamp, glowing.


    May 17, 2018 at 2:30 PM

    • You’re the third person from NZ who’s commented on this post, and your mention of glowing reminded me of the glowworms we saw there in Waiomio last year. Those creatures can glow, all right, but they can’t produce the rich color of a winecup.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 17, 2018 at 2:46 PM

  12. I only knew this wildflower as Purple Poppy Mallow, but I love the name “Winecup”. Last year I noticed two small areas of them in the pasture, just beyond our house. Even when not in bloom, the plant leaves are easy to spot and quite unique. I trimmed around them with the mower and told Forrest to avoid them with the brush hog, which he did giving me that “silly girl” look. Just yesterday I noticed both patches of winecup had increased in size and there were a few other areas where the plant had taken root out in the pasture. Again I trimmed around them, leaving a bright show of deep pink, and reminded FD to “miss” them with the brush hog. I also noticed this year a great show of Tragopogon dubius (yellow salsify) which is called yellow goats beard around here. I left those to bloom and seed out as well. I’m hoping one day we won’t be mowing the pasture, and instead, allowing the wildflowers to take over!

    You’ve done an amazing job of capturing the blast of color from these beauties in your photographs. Stunning!


    May 19, 2018 at 8:09 AM

    • For me it was the reverse: I knew the name “winecup” years before I became aware of “purple poppy mallow.” When it comes to vernacular names, I tend to stick with the one by which I first learned to identify each plant. Usually that’s a function of which wildflower book I found the plant in. In any case, I’m glad you appreciate this “blast of color.” It’s hard to beat the richness of a winecup.

      Goatsbeard hasn’t made it down to Austin but I saw it in many places on our trip last year through the Great Plains. Unfortunately, like that other puffball, the common dandelion, it’s an alien invasive.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 19, 2018 at 10:06 AM

      • Yes, but there are many insects that love the goatsbeard, and the dandelion is a favorite of many mammal, bird, and insect species!


        May 19, 2018 at 12:43 PM

        • And whether people like it or not, the common dandelion is here to stay. Everyone in the suburbs of Long Island, which is where I grew up, had dandelions on their lawns. Likewise for European clover.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 19, 2018 at 1:08 PM

  13. also thought these looked a lot like primroses.. no matter what the name, they’re delightful, and your close-up definitely illustrates whey they’re called ‘winecups.’ That fluted shape at the bottom looks like it was made for champagne!

    • I’m afraid the champagne would quickly leak out. What effect the quick contact might have on the flower, we can only wonder.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 25, 2018 at 10:14 PM

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