Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Huisache tree flowering in a field of bluebonnets

with 69 comments

Along FM 1470 northeast of Poteet on March 21st I found this flowering huisache tree at telephoto length in a large field of bluebonnets (probably Lupinus subcarnosus) and Texas groundsel (Senecio ampullaceus). Huisaches for the last several decades passed as Acacia farnesiana but recently became Vachellia farnesiana. What an inconstant world.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 25, 2019 at 4:37 AM

69 Responses

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  1. The names of plants may change but their beauty seldom does.


    March 25, 2019 at 4:53 AM

    • I believe an English playwright once wrote: “That which we call a huisache, by any other name would smell as sweet.” In fact the little flower globes of this tree are unusually fragrant.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 25, 2019 at 5:39 AM

  2. Wonderful colors; fine shot!


    March 25, 2019 at 4:56 AM

    • I’m fond of combinations, and I don’t remember ever photographing this combination before.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 25, 2019 at 6:06 AM

  3. Stunning with the yellow against the blue!

    Ms. Liz

    March 25, 2019 at 5:11 AM

  4. Wow…great find. You are generous to publish the location.


    March 25, 2019 at 5:38 AM

    • Unless something is rare or endangered, I normally give the location as part of my documentation (always the teacher). The reason I was on this road in the first placewas because someone in the Texas Wildflowers group at


      had mentioned a graveyard covered with flowers and I was on my way there. People help each other out in finding good places.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 25, 2019 at 6:16 AM

  5. Oh, my. What in the world was wrong with me? I never thought to pull out my telephoto lens: not once. I don’t know why, either — now I want a do-over! You certainly did find a beautiful huisache, in a perfect setting. Add in the sunshine, and this one glows, even on a computer screen.


    March 25, 2019 at 6:17 AM

    • My 100–400mm telephoto lens is heavy and I use it by far the least of the three lenses I normally carry around with me. Still, I put up with lugging it around so I’ll have it for occasions like this, where the tree was pretty far out in a fenced field and would have shrunken to insignificance with the wide-angle lens I used for most of the many other pictures I took that day. If the good thing about a telephoto is that it can bring things closer, one consequence is that the depth of field becomes shallow. While that helps with and is usually considered desirable for blurring the background around the subject in a portrait, landscape photographers traditionally want everything sharp from front to back. You’ll notice that the nearest and farthest parts of the image are somewhat out of focus, but I think that’s okay here because this is effectively a portrait.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 25, 2019 at 6:52 AM

      • I was thinking about it, and remembered a couple of springs ago when I really had trouble using my telephoto to capture long stretches of flowers alongside the roads. The blurring of the foreground as well as the background was problematic, and I suspect that’s part of the reason I stayed with my 18-135mm. Without a wide-angle lens, I suspect it was the better choice.

        Of course, it’s always possible to purchase a wide-angle lens. Now if I just can find the store that sells sunshine, I’ll be all set!


        March 25, 2019 at 7:07 AM

        • If you find that sunhine-selling store, let me know.

          I wasn’t sure what you meant about not having a wide-angle lens, because 18mm is quite a wide-angle lens. Then I realized that you probably have a camera with an APS-C sensor that produces a 1.6X crop factor, so 18mm on that camera would be the equivalent of 28mm with a full-frame sensor. While a 28mm equivalent is a respectably wide-angle lens, I imagine you mean something like 16mm or 17mm. To get that on a crop-sensor camera, you’d have to use an extremely wide-angle lens like 10mm.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 25, 2019 at 7:28 AM

          • Yup. I do have an APS-C. Of course, there’s another aspect to all this: more practice with the equipment I have will do far more for me than getting another lens. I’m perfectly clear on the futility of the “let’s improve by buying better stuff” approach, even though it can be tempting. After all, real improvement takes longer than placing an Amazon prime order!


            March 25, 2019 at 7:42 AM

            • And getting better acquainted with the equipment you already own has the added benefit of not costing any more money.

              Steve Schwartzman

              March 25, 2019 at 7:52 AM

              • And that’s a considerable benefit!


                March 25, 2019 at 12:46 PM

                • Yes, it gives you reason to reconsider purchasing a new lens.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  March 25, 2019 at 1:03 PM

                • Oh, I wasn’t going to buy one. I just had to get myself past thinking that would be the magical solution to my “problems.” Magical thinking generally causes more problems than it solves.


                  March 25, 2019 at 1:05 PM

  6. Stunning shot! That particular yellow is a perfect match with its blue carpet. The huisache are really full of golden goodness this year. There are several near my neighborhood and I’m enjoying them. I wonder if my bees are visiting? I expect so!


    March 25, 2019 at 7:21 AM

    • I suspect so, too. The huisaches I’d been keeping my eye on in two places in northwest Austin, which is the part of town I live in, hadn’t done much till now, but yesterday I saw that the one half a mile from home was finally putting out flowers. I guess the huisaches I saw below San Antonio last week were far enough south that the season came to them a couple of weeks earlier than in Austin.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 25, 2019 at 7:33 AM

  7. Absolutely Texas beautiful.

    automatic gardener

    March 25, 2019 at 8:08 AM



    March 25, 2019 at 8:52 AM

    • I hope you see some huisaches like this near you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 25, 2019 at 8:57 AM

      • We’ll see. 🙂


        March 25, 2019 at 8:58 AM

        • The one half a mile from our house is just now beginning to flower. Austin has been understandably behind places further south, and I imagine the same applies to Fredericksburg.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 25, 2019 at 9:00 AM

  9. What a wonderful pairing this is.


    March 25, 2019 at 9:12 AM

    • If this scene were near you I suspect you’d make a painting of it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 25, 2019 at 9:36 AM

      • I expect I would. Paul sent me some wonderful photos on his phone~in one, a black and white horse is grazing in a sea of lupines. I believe that was a poster of the hill country that he took a photograph of. Then later he saw a tapestry of flowers along the highway he was traveling. Hooray! He’s a car guy, so I’m pleased you and I were able to persuade him to look for flowers too.


        March 28, 2019 at 8:33 AM

        • It’s good to hear. I’m a car guy, too, in the sense that I use a car to get to fields of wildflowers.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 28, 2019 at 11:19 AM

          • 😀 Before I met him cars had virtually no interest for me, but over the years I’ve become infected. Now I drive my dream car~a royal blue New Beetle. I’ve vowed to replace the engine with a solar powered one when I can and drive it forever.
            Yesterday my friend and I were out at Grant Woods, celebrating a day warm enough to be out walking in. Everywhere all we saw was mud, and I kept thinking of the beautiful carpets of flowers you are enjoying down there. Kinda seems unfair that after that wretched winter we just survived, all we get at the end of it is bare mud.


            March 29, 2019 at 8:58 AM

            • I’m sorry to hear about all the mud. Presumably it foreshadows wildflowers.

              From what I see online, no solar-powered car is commercially available yet.

              Steve Schwartzman

              March 29, 2019 at 12:58 PM

              • It seldom does, honestly. We get a lot of green, with splashes of color here and there. Incidentally, you would not recognize Grant Woods. The staff worked all winter on clearing, with equipment that nips off trees at the base and carries them to a pile. Old records of this area speak of being able to gallop a horse through the woodlands which has been a joke, but no more. It will be interesting to see what happens next. Hopefully they didn’t simply prepare all those acres for a weed invasion. Years ago I saw work like this done down in the Peoria area and really, it was like Disney’s paintbrush in the spring. Wildflowers that had lain dormant under heavy brush sprang up and sang their song for the first time in 50 years.


                March 30, 2019 at 8:15 AM

                • That must’ve been quite a song to hear. I hope you made some drawings or paintings of it.
                  Happy horse galloping.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  March 30, 2019 at 2:14 PM

                • Oh, it was. It is hard to believe, but that was 25 years ago and I wasn’t really painting that much, yet.
                  Yes, happy horse galloping. That would be fun but my friend would sure frown at me!


                  March 31, 2019 at 8:35 AM

              • You’re right about there being no solar cars yet but I keep hoping. Paul tells me there are small solar panels you can install on the roof of your car. Arnold Schwarzenneger shipped his truck to Sweden or something like that to have it converted to electric. I’m hoping I won’t have to go that far.


                March 30, 2019 at 8:18 AM

                • When I checked up on solar cars I read that a car’s upper surface area probably isn’t enough for the solar cells required to make the sustained amount of electricity required. Naturally a lot would have to be held in batteries for use on cloudy days and especially at night.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  March 30, 2019 at 2:21 PM

                • Yes. A better bet, I think, would be an electric car powered by solar panels on our house. That’s our plan when we eventually get our “forever” home. If that ever happens.


                  March 31, 2019 at 8:32 AM

                • That’s the approach I read about.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  March 31, 2019 at 9:49 AM

  10. Except for the color, it does not look much like an acacia.


    March 25, 2019 at 5:05 PM

    • I don’t know the technicalities, but huisache must be close enough to other acacias to have been considered in that genus for decades. Current DNA analysis is teasing species and genera apart.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 25, 2019 at 6:53 PM

  11. This one needs to go in a frame!!


    March 25, 2019 at 6:03 PM

    • If nothing else, this is how I framed it through my camera’s viewfinder (though I removed a sliver on left and right to remove distractions).

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 25, 2019 at 6:56 PM

  12. That’s a gorgeous scene!

    Steve Gingold

    March 25, 2019 at 6:31 PM

  13. This is a frame worthy subject. Do you have an online store in mind for the future? Hint…


    March 26, 2019 at 6:42 AM

    • Actually I’ve had a presence on Fine Art America for several years but have sold very little:


      I’m not a good promoter.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 26, 2019 at 6:56 AM

      • I have a bad memory. However, I remembered being there previously. So maybe not so bad…
        My favorites were the closeups of single subjects, and those three grackles with the full moon! As Bob so often reminds me, “If I want it I will have to sell one of my own crafts first.” So I guess this means “Back to work.” Have a blessed day, Steve.


        March 26, 2019 at 7:38 AM

  14. Wow, what a gorgeous sea of blossoms!


    March 26, 2019 at 1:47 PM

  15. Huisache is a new tree for me, Steve. Great complementary colors!


    March 26, 2019 at 8:59 PM

    • It’s a wonderfully fragrant tree when it’s covered with blossoms as you see it here. If you’re downwind from it at that stage, you can smell it from a pretty good distance away.

      And yes, the colors of the flowering tree and the bluebonnets complemented each other well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 26, 2019 at 11:27 PM

  16. Wow, Steve! You are really having a picnic these days, aren’t you? 🙂


    March 29, 2019 at 8:48 PM

    • Yup. This has been one of the best two-week stretches I’ve ever experienced for lush wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2019 at 9:05 PM

  17. That is a painting Steve .. glorious! 😃


    March 30, 2019 at 1:46 AM

  18. […] a solid blanket of gold.” Often isn’t always, and in this case I don’t recall a huisache tree anywhere in sight. In the United States these daisies grow only in Texas; they’re also found […]

  19. […] the huisache surrounded by bluebonnets that I found near Poteet two weeks earlier, which was far away in a pasture made inaccessible by barbed wire, here I could wander freely […]

  20. Even now, in Dec. 2020 when our world has become more inconstant than ever, this photo is a masterpiece, Steve.

    Jet Eliot

    December 9, 2020 at 8:16 AM

    • Thanks, Jet. The spring of 2019 just south of San Antonio was fabulous for wildflowers; someone told me it was the best in a decade. We drove down there at least four times over several weeks.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 9, 2020 at 11:34 AM

  21. […] February of 2021 a days-long freeze killed off all the huisache trees (Vachellia farnesiana) in Austin. I saw no new growth for the rest of that year but am happy to […]

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