Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Fall foliage at Meadow Lake Park

with 23 comments

I try to go to Meadow Lake Park in Round Rock at least once a year because I always find some good native plants to take pictures of there. On the afternoon of November 4th I visited the park and photographed this colorful bald cypress tree, Taxodium distichum, set off by fleecy clouds. (From a month-ago post you may remember an earlier stage in color change.) The trees beyond the bald cypress are black willows, Salix nigra.

By the stand of black willows visible at the left edge of the first photograph I found a tall, slender stalk with yellowing leaves that Joe Marcus of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center identified as likely a species of Morus, which is to say mulberry. What the vine whose leaves were turning warm colors was, I don’t know, but the combination of yellow and red and orange against the blue sky certainly appealed to me.

Click to enlarge.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 28, 2018 at 4:34 AM

23 Responses

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  1. Autumn foliage always makes for gorgeous colours. 🙂


    November 28, 2018 at 9:19 AM

    • It sure does. The past few days in Austin have seen lots of trees turning whatever colors they’re going to turn. I’ve gone out several times taking pictures of any natives I can find that have good color.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 28, 2018 at 10:35 AM

  2. Lovely! Happy autumn for sure in your photos. Bald cypress are a favorite of mine (except when it’s time to rake the needles).

    ‘All we’re missing is red, Mom. We should plant a red maple.’ That’s what my son — currently learning about all the trees in America — told me last week. The orange of five bald cypress out front and the yellow of several box elder out back (related to maple??) are showy in our yard at the moment. Until the next windstorm.

    And Scott’s right. All we need is red.


    November 28, 2018 at 9:51 AM

    • Happy autumn indeed. I’ve gone out several times in the past week to document whatever native plants I can find that are turning colors. While you may lack red over by the coast, here in the center of the state we have oaks, flameleaf sumac, and rusty blackhaw among the trees that can (but don’t always) provide it, along with poison ivy and Virginia creeper. I’ll put up pictures of some of them over the next few weeks.

      You asked whether box elder is related to maple. Better: box elder is a maple, as shown by its genus, Acer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 28, 2018 at 10:44 AM

        • No, I hadn’t seen that, so thanks. The factors outlined there make sense. I only wish more of the colorful trees here were native ones. That’s why we spent some time at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center today: we could be pretty sure any colorful fall foliage we saw is native in Texas (though some species there aren’t native in Austin). I added to my color inventory for posts that will come out over the next few weeks.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 29, 2018 at 4:34 PM

  3. I love the juxtaposition of the clouds and the direction of the tree in the upper photo. And the beautiful autumn colours. Or, if you prefer Fall colors. 🙂


    November 28, 2018 at 10:21 AM

    • Fall is the operative word today, as a stiff breeze is causing some of the remaining tree leaves to fall to the ground. Because you’re so much farther north than central Texas, you have more vivid fall colors than we do, but that’s all the more reason for us to value whatever we can get. I agree that the clouds in the first photograph added a nice balance to the reddening and leaning bald cypress tree.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 28, 2018 at 12:45 PM

  4. Gorgeous colours! Autumn has given way to bare branches in Toronto so these photos are a welcome sight.


    November 28, 2018 at 9:04 PM

    • You’re way ahead of us up there, that’s for sure. By Texas standards we were getting good color these past few days but today was windy and may have put an end to it. Even so, I did manage to get some pictures before the wind arose, and I’ll be showing a few of them over the next couple of weeks.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 28, 2018 at 9:56 PM

  5. Beautiful!


    November 28, 2018 at 11:56 PM

  6. We’ve suddenly become awash in color, and it’s some of the best I’ve seen in this area for years. Unfortunately, we’ve had only one sunny day since the color change, and that was a day I couldn’t get out and about. Still, the leaves are clinging, and if they make it until the weekend, there might be a chance for some photos, since Saturday, especially, is predicted to be a gorgeous day.

    I always enjoy bald cypress, and that sky makes a great backdrop. I had to smile at your helpful consultant. I’ve been seeing Joe Marcus’s name everywhere recently, and wondered whether he still was around. Obviously, the answer’s ‘yes.’


    November 29, 2018 at 8:33 AM

    • It’s great to hear that fall color has come your way, even if, as here, a portion of it is from heavily planted nonnative species like Bradford pear and Chinese tallow. Similar to what you experienced near the coast, overcast skies in Austin earlier this week also got in the way of pictures I’d otherwise have taken. Good luck on a clear and colorful Saturday. Blue skies here today are about to send us out into nature again. And yes, Joe Marcus continues as a good person to turn to for identification of native plants.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 29, 2018 at 10:49 AM

  7. […] (Andropogon glomeratus) that had caught my eye there but that I hadn’t photographed during my afternoon visit 11 days earlier. This is the showiest of the native grasses I regularly see in central Texas as the end of each […]

  8. I remember both of those from Oklahoma. The red mulberry happened to be native there. I should have taken cuttings. All the mulberries here are exotic. Black mulberry trees used to be grown on the outskirts of the orchards to distract birds from ripening apricots, prunes or whatever grew in the orchards. Bald cypress is a popular street tree in Oklahoma City. I thought that was odd, since they develop those weird knees. We happen to have two at work. One is down and out of the way near a creek. The other is in a very public space, where knees would be a problem. Roots are already making burls right at the surface.


    November 29, 2018 at 10:10 PM

    • Several species of mulberry grow here natively, and my contact at the Wildflower Center couldn’t be sure which one I’d photographed, especially since mulberry leaves are quite variable. What you say about black mulberry get planted as a decoy is interesting, like people at a picnic throwing some food out a ways to attract ants away from the picnickers.

      Here in Austin people have also planted bald cypresses away from their natural predilection for the shores of creeks and lakes. I guess whoever plants them assumes they’ll get watered enough from sprinklers or hoses, though I’ve seen some that apparently don’t and end up suffering. And as you say, the “knees” could present problems along city streets.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 29, 2018 at 11:16 PM

      • Our bald cypress seem to be quite happy; but both happen to be in riparian situations. (One is on the bank of a creek, right near the water. The other is in a poorly drained lawn that used to be a pond.)


        November 30, 2018 at 10:22 PM

  9. Very colorful! And nice clouds! Always enjoy seeing your images!

    Reed Andariese

    November 30, 2018 at 2:32 PM

    • Thanks again for your vote of confidence. In this warm climate, nature photographers are grateful for all the fall color we can find.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 30, 2018 at 5:30 PM

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