Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Red phlox

with 27 comments

In much of the area south of San Antonio that we visited in late March magenta dominated the phlox. On April 2nd, as we came up TX 304 north of Interstate 10, it was red phlox, as fluorescent as the magenta, that grabbed our attention and made me turn around and go back for pictures. (I suppose I should also go back and tell you that phlox in ancient Greek meant ‘flame, blaze.’)

Click to enlarge.

While photographing the vibrant reds, I found a few individuals that were white with pronounced red accents.

Click to enlarge.

A day after I’d prepared this post up to the second picture I happened to look back through my recent archive and was reminded of some phlox I’d photographed on March 21st and then forgotten about, given the large number of wildflower displays we kept seeing. On TX 80 north of Nixon that day the color of the phlox was mostly between ultra-vibrant magenta and super-saturated red.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 13, 2019 at 4:47 AM

27 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. And now, a confession. Somewhere around Hallettsville or Shiner, I passed a yard filled with red phlox. They were so brilliant I slammed on the brakes and got out to take a look. There were butterflies everywhere, and I took a lot of photos, trying to get a decent one of a butterfly.

    But I didn’t realize those brilliant red phlox were native. I thought the homeowner had planted them in the garden, and they’d escaped. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, and sometimes it’s just ignorance. I figured it out a couple of days later, but I suspect dramatic red phlox photos will have to wait for another season.


    April 13, 2019 at 8:19 AM

    • Ah, too bad. When I was in Maine last year I saw great lupines in various places but ended up not photographing any of them because I figured they were some sort of cultivated species. Later, after I’d already traveled south of that area, someone told me they’re native. I’d say it’s a lot more likely you’ll get back to your red phlox in another spring than that I’ll get back to Maine’s lupines.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 13, 2019 at 8:24 AM

  2. This startles me…say “phlox” to me and I see mauve to blue in my mind. These are shockingly different from the phlox species i see here. I really like how, in the third photo, the red and magenta vibrate against each other.


    April 13, 2019 at 8:23 AM

    • And I suppose you were humming along to “Good Vibrations” after you saw the red and magenta phlox playing off each other. When we visited the fifth wildflower-covered cemetery Eve found some pure white phlox flowers but there were in a place where I couldn’t get good pictures of them. Now you know that phlox comes in lots of colors.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 13, 2019 at 8:29 AM

      • Yeah, “Good Vibrations” does often run through my mind 🙂
        I believe I see some white phlox right now out my window…oh wait, that’s snow. sigh.


        April 14, 2019 at 8:05 AM

        • You’re funny, even if the snow isn’t. Historically speaking, however, snow in April in northern latitudes is hardly unusual. I remember in around 1970 we got snow on Easter Sunday in New York City—and that’s the warmest part of New York State because it’s on the Atlantic Ocean.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 14, 2019 at 11:32 AM

          • You’re right, absolutely. This turned out to be quite a storm. According to the weatherman, the last time this area had snow like this on April 14 was in 1961. I’m pretty sure my daffodils will survive the 5 1/2″ we got, but I am not sure all the other things that had come up will . Fingers crossed.


            April 15, 2019 at 8:04 AM

            • For a botanist it should be “Keep your calyxes crossed.”

              Steve Schwartzman

              April 15, 2019 at 8:27 AM

              • I love it! I’m going to use it with the first botanist I see today 😀


                April 15, 2019 at 8:28 AM

                • And if you want to be a hoity-toity botanist, you can use the Latin plural and say “Keep your calyces crossed.”

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  April 15, 2019 at 8:38 AM

                • Oh, my botany teacher would be so pleased with you!


                  April 17, 2019 at 1:59 PM

                • Taking three years of Latin in high school has stood me in good stead.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  April 17, 2019 at 2:49 PM

  3. As I said to Linda of the “Shoreacres” blog a few days ago, my eyes have some (slight) difficulties in the red/green part of the spectrum and for this reason red flowers in green grass don’t show up as well as they do for others, but I can still see this amazing colourful picture with the flowers in all their glory.


    April 13, 2019 at 9:30 AM

    • It’s interesting that you can see the red~green distinction here better than you often can in reality. I wonder if computer technology renders the colors on the computer screen differently from what reaches your eyes in nature.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 13, 2019 at 10:14 AM

      • I might not have worded things properly. Actually, there’s not much difference for me between pictures on the computer screen and in reality. I only wanted to say that in spite of my slight difficulties I can still see that there are gorgeous colours, even if the red doesn’t show up that well among the green.


        April 13, 2019 at 10:17 AM

  4. Super-saturated red certainly fits that first image. I guess a bounty of riches clouded your memory for the third image. I can’t conceive forgetting it but then I don’t see meadows full of, mostly, single species around here.

    Steve Gingold

    April 13, 2019 at 3:18 PM

    • We saw so many dozens of wildflower spreads each time we drove down below San Antonio, and I took so many pictures of them, that I couldn’t remember them all. I have plenty of other showable pictures in my archive from those days. I’d been posting every two days but with so much wildflower wealth I felt pushed to go back to daily for a while. At the same time, there’s a limit to what people can absorb.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 13, 2019 at 3:44 PM

      • I guess we could say that you have an embarrassment of riches except I don’t think that you feel at all embarrassed.

        Steve Gingold

        April 13, 2019 at 4:03 PM

  5. What vivid color! I have been thoroughly enjoying your flowers this year!


    April 13, 2019 at 10:43 PM

  6. White phlox that looks like it is of the variety ‘David’ appeared in our landscape a few years ago. It started out as a single seedling, but has since seeded white a few plants in the same region. Whatever it is, it has been true to type so far. It is my FIRST phlox! I can see why people like it, even if it is not exactly like the wildflower types.


    April 19, 2019 at 12:40 PM

    • The bright colors definitely appeal to people, including me. We don’t see much phlox in Austin, but in this post and a couple of weeks earlier I featured large colonies from 1–2 hours south of here, and I’ve also found some good stands not that far east of here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 19, 2019 at 12:51 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: