Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A differently shaped and colored wildflower in December

with 24 comments

In case you thought yesterday’s picture of bright yellow camphorweed barely counted for wildflowers in December because the flowering came only three days into the month, here’s a picture of a droplet-covered prairie verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida) on the misty morning of December 18th at the Riata Trace Pond.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 24, 2018 at 6:59 AM

24 Responses

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  1. That’s beautiful, and I love the way the droplets are making a pattern on the petals.

    Have a happy Christmas, Steve, and I hope the new year is good to you.


    December 24, 2018 at 8:16 AM

    • Hi, Val. I was thinking of you a few minutes ago and now here you are. Your phrase “a pattern on the petals” has a pleasant lilt to it. Let’s hope 2019 has a pleasant lilt for us all.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 24, 2018 at 8:34 AM

  2. Beautiful! 🙂


    December 24, 2018 at 8:44 AM

    • Thanks. Perhaps you’ll see something similar, given that this species grows in your county. Individual ones can be found in Austin for much of the year, as this picture attests.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 24, 2018 at 9:42 AM

  3. It’s a beautiful color – I’m thinking the petals must be covered with tiny bristles, to have all those droplets clinging like that.

    Robert Parker

    December 24, 2018 at 10:54 AM

    • I hadn’t thought about that. I’m aware of fine hairs on some other species that noticeably hold onto water droplets. Next time I see a prairie verbena flower I’ll have to run my finger over it to see how it feels.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 24, 2018 at 11:37 AM

  4. Beautiful Steve! Merry Christmas 🙂


    December 24, 2018 at 11:29 AM

  5. Every so often I take extra-long looks at the floral images while the cursor in the back of my brain is deciphering the details and computing the best way to draw or paint them. My eyes focused on the flower detail that’s ‘facing’ direct at the lower middle area. I thought, “Wow; that would be very difficult to paint in watercolor….” and after looking a bit longer I thought, ‘but not too difficult w/acrylics.’

    Hopefully these mental calisthenics will keep my brain strong for a long long time!!!

    Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    December 24, 2018 at 11:34 PM

    • And when I looked at that lower central part I was grateful that it faced directly at the camera; whatever else might come out in focus in the photograph, that part would. While you doubted one medium and favored another, you could paint all the parts in focus if you chose to, an advantage I didn’t have.

      May we both fully brandish our brain power for a long time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 25, 2018 at 7:18 AM

  6. Happy Holidays, Steve…thanks for the color.


    December 25, 2018 at 4:48 AM

    • You’re welcome to this bit of color from nature. Happy and colorful holidays to you, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 25, 2018 at 7:20 AM

  7. I really like the effect of the droplets on the flowers – at first glance, they look like polka-dotted petals. The drops falling off the edges are especially delicate and lovely.

    Birder's Journey

    December 25, 2018 at 8:47 AM

    • We’ve had some misty mornings here recently, and I’ve taken advantage of that to do pictures with droplets on plants and caught in spiderwebs.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 25, 2018 at 4:31 PM

  8. The bit of blue on the left is a nice reminder of the color changes that characterize so many of these flowers as they fade. There’s even a hint of blue on the bottom of the petal of the front-facing flower. Sometimes, the answer to the question, “Is it lavender, purple, or blue?” is, “Yes.” Those hanging droplets are quite a treat, too.

    It is nice to encounter color at this time of year. Last weekend, I found a few Texas dandelions, some fading wild cowpea (Vigna luteola) and Verbena halei at the San Bernard refuge. Despite being only a few miles down the coast, I was surprised to find so many differences from the Brazoria refuge.


    December 26, 2018 at 6:37 AM

    • When we visited the San Francisco Bay area we couldn’t help noticing that some places not far apart had different climates. What you say about the San Bernard and Brazoria refuges suggests the same may hold true here, if we allow for such a thing as “vegetative climate.” I wonder if the soil is different in the two places.

      As you encountered another flowering verbena, V. halei, so did I yesterday, V. xutha (I think). I don’t recall ever seeing those species turning blue as they begin to fade, the way prairie verbena so noticeably does. On the other hand, I don’t see those other species nearly as often as the Glandularia bipinnatifida.

      Whatever local species we find flowering, people up north envy us for having any wildflowers putting in an appearance now.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 26, 2018 at 6:52 AM

  9. Hey, in California, some of the desert wildflowers bloom for only three days into a month because they only bloom for three days. They make it count.


    December 29, 2018 at 5:22 PM

  10. And isn’t it a beauty…I like how you captured it. It may very well be hairy~I believe some verbenas are, especially in dry habitats.


    January 13, 2019 at 9:39 AM

    • A beauty it is. I’ll try to remember checking for hairiness the next time I see one. Speaking of winter wildflowers, Eve and I noticed flowers of four native species yesterday, though a stiff breeze and inaccessibilty kept me from taking any pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 13, 2019 at 9:49 AM

      • That is welcome news. It buoys us northerners up to see them!


        January 13, 2019 at 9:57 AM

        • When conditions are better I’ll go out and see what I can document. None of the four were species that normally flower in January.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 13, 2019 at 10:20 AM

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