Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Switchgrass drying in autumn

with 7 comments

People joke about watching paint dry. In contrast to that, nature lovers take serious pleasure in watching a dense stand of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) dry out in the fall. The one shown here was doing so next to the pond at the Central Market on N. Lamar Blvd. on October 29th. Getting in close, I made an abstraction:

These two takes exemplify points 15 and 14, respectively, in About My Techniques.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 19, 2018 at 4:59 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , ,

7 Responses

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  1. I do love switch grass, in any season.


    November 19, 2018 at 8:51 AM

  2. I still get confused over the light and airy grasses. I found some in east Texas I assumed was Gulf muhly because of the luscious pink color, but now I’m wondering if it might have been switchgrass. In any event, the grass leaves may not be as easily noticed as those on the autumn trees, but the colors are just as vibrant and beautiful.

    That’s some Central Market you have. Ours is surrounded by nothing but concrete, while you have grasses and horsetails to go with the grackles. I looked at some photos of the kids’ playground and the turtle pond, and I’ll admit to being impressed. I’d go there even if I didn’t need groceries.


    November 19, 2018 at 8:05 PM

    • I’ve never seen switchgrass turn the pink of Gulf muhly, so I suspect you really did see Gulf muhly. Not for nothing did Walt Whitman title his book Leaves of Grass. Those leaves are a small yet welcome source of fall color for us in this warm part of the world.

      The people who set up the pond near Central Market made sure to plant it with native species. I’m not sure who administers what. As far as I can tell, Central Market is merely a tenant on that property and has nothing to do directly with the pond and its vegetation. Central Market frequently arranges for musicians to perform on its patio, beyond which is the path around the lake.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 20, 2018 at 6:32 AM

    • I forgot to mention that the Central Market on N. Lamar here is the original one of the 10 that now exist. It was H.E.B.’s answer to Whole Foods, which of course had also started up in Austin.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 22, 2018 at 1:17 PM

  3. I would love to switch our wretched twitch (couch grass) for this.


    November 20, 2018 at 5:14 AM

    • In looking that up, I found in the article at


      that “Elymus repens, commonly known as couch grass, is a very common perennial species of grass native to most of Europe, Asia, the Arctic biome, and northwest Africa. It has been brought into other mild northern climates for forage or erosion control, but is often considered a weed. Other names include common couch, twitch, quick grass, quitch grass (also just quitch), dog grass, quackgrass, scutch grass, and witchgrass.” A linguist can have a good time tracing the soundful common names: couch, twitch, quitch, quick, quack. It’s not clear which came first and in which order it engendered the other ones.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 20, 2018 at 6:55 AM

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