Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Red + white – blue

with 30 comments

For the Fourth of July four years ago and two years ago I showed photographs with red, white, and blue in them. This year the blue blew away, so to speak, and the red and white combined to make the color of mountain pinks, Zeltnera beyrichii (until recently Centaurium beyrichii). Notice how some of the pink was fading toward white as the flowers aged.

In contrast, one nearby mountain pink plant had flowers that were white from the outset:

I took these pictures on June 23rd along Loop 360, also known as the Capital of Texas Highway, on the hilly west side of Austin where mountain pinks find themselves at home.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 4, 2018 at 4:44 AM

30 Responses

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  1. A Happy Fourth of July to you, too,


    July 4, 2018 at 6:27 AM

  2. Beautiful detail, Happy 4th Steve!


    July 4, 2018 at 10:46 AM

    • Thanks, Donna. Mountain pinks are beautiful. Some of the plants grow into a cone of dense buds and flowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 4, 2018 at 10:57 AM

  3. Happy 4th July – and birthday!

  4. I’m not sure about that “minus blue” in your title. After all, if you mix red and white, you get pink, and if you mix blue and white with a bit of red, you can create a lovely shade of lavender or lilac: exactly what I see peeking out in that second photo. In short, you’ve created a unique take on the red, white, and blue with a flowery trio that’s perfect for the day.

    Last week, the cenizo started blooming here. Since last night, rainfall in the area’s ranged from 2″ to 7″. When the rain started, I couldn’t help laughing. Score another one for nature. Happy Independence Day!


    July 4, 2018 at 12:05 PM

    • And, by the way, happy birthday. I have no doubt you’ll put another 365 days to good use, traveling and photographing the sights along the way.


      July 4, 2018 at 12:06 PM

      • Thanks, Linda. We’re barely settling down from the most recent trip, but thoughts of more adventures keep welling up.

        Steve Schwartzman

        July 4, 2018 at 12:17 PM

    • You’re right that I discounted the bits of purple in the second image, which wasn’t originally in the post but got added late in the process. Those flowers came from a member of the mint family—sage or skullcap, I’m not sure which.

      The cenizos here were at their peak flowering two days ago. The weather Underground forecast that I checked just now says 50% chance of thunderstorms tonight. If storms emerge they’ll validate the cenizo but will cause unhappiness to a lot of picnickers, boaters, and people out to see fireworks.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 4, 2018 at 12:15 PM

      • A couple of hours after I wrote that, we began to hear thunder, and rain soon followed. We didn’t get a lot of rain (so far, at least), but we’re grateful for what we got.

        Steve Schwartzman

        July 4, 2018 at 5:31 PM

  5. Beautiful! Huzza for the Glorious Fourth!

    Robert Parker

    July 4, 2018 at 1:01 PM

    • Huzza(h) indeed! That’s what the Revolutionaries would have said. Maybe you can start a campaign to revive the word.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 4, 2018 at 1:07 PM

  6. Glad to see you are in the pink for July 4th and your birthday. Wishing you and the US the very best.


    July 4, 2018 at 8:27 PM

    • Well said: in the pink. On behalf of the country and myself, we thank you for your best wishes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 4, 2018 at 8:45 PM

  7. Some know lily-of-the-Nile as firework flower because the blooms look like exploding fireworks, and they happen to be in full bloom on the Fourth of July. They happen to bloom both blue white.


    July 5, 2018 at 9:18 AM

    • Maybe someday I’ll get to see the actual Nile. I’ve never been anywhere in Africa.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 5, 2018 at 9:38 AM

      • There are probably more lily-of-the Nile in California than there are in Africa.


        July 5, 2018 at 7:15 PM

        • I’m sorry to hear that.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 5, 2018 at 7:20 PM

          • It is fine with us. I just do not get the impression that lily-of-the-Nile is a desirable perennial within the region that it is native to.


            July 5, 2018 at 7:38 PM

  8. Thank you for helping me to ID this pretty little bunch of flowers. I’ve not seen it down here nearer the coast; must be a central Texas squatter. Oh .. and happy birthday! My best friend shares the day as well.


    July 5, 2018 at 9:34 AM

    • You’re welcome. You’re correct that mountain pinks grow in the “mountains,” which is what nineteenth-century settlers called the hills in the Edwards Plateau of central Texas. About a decade ago I found some mountain pinks growing along US 290 on the east side of Austin, which is further east than the accustomed range of the species. It was so unusual I took botanist Bill Carr over to see it. He speculated some seeds might have accidentally gotten into a mix that the highway people sowed along the roadsides. I went back each spring for several years to take pictures of the isolated colony, but unfortunately a few years ago that stretch became part of a tollway and construction destroyed the colony.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 5, 2018 at 9:46 AM

    • Maybe some year a bunch of the people in an area who share the Fourth of July as a birthday could get together.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 5, 2018 at 9:48 AM

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