Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

We had rain on Saturday and Sunday, so by Thursday…

with 30 comments

We had rain on Saturday and Sunday, so by Thursday, April 11th, rain-lilies (Cooperia pedunculata) were coming up around Austin. I was fortunate with the picture above because a tiny red mite was running around pretty quickly on the flower but somehow I caught it in an instant of relative stillness. Some of the rain-lilies I photographed were growing near a colony of four-nerve daisies (Tetraneuris linearifolia), including the one shown below. Notice how the circle of orange at the center of the rain-lily coincidentally corresponds in color to the daubs of the daisies in the background.

And finally here’s an abstract take on the subject.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 26, 2019 at 4:42 AM

30 Responses

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  1. The colour connection you mentioned is a very pleasing coincidence!

    Ms. Liz

    April 26, 2019 at 4:46 AM

    • It is indeed. I haven’t usually paid much attention to the small amount of yellow at the center of a rain-lily because I find the shape of the flower and the shades of magenta so much more intriguing. In this case the background flowers made me aware of the little central yellow circle.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 26, 2019 at 6:37 AM

  2. and I just found out we are due for snow tomorrow )


    April 26, 2019 at 4:52 AM

    • If we had snow in Austin tomorrow I’d run out and celebrate photographically. I hope you can enjoy it too, as much as you’re probably longing for spring and flowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 26, 2019 at 6:39 AM

  3. Oh, how I miss the rain lilies that would sprout in my yard in Austin at even a hint of rain.

    Grinning happily, Jen.

    Jenny Meadows

    April 26, 2019 at 6:15 AM

    • Like you, I look forward to the rain-lilies’ first appearance each spring. We’ve never had any pop up in our yard in northwest Austin but I know where to look for them in the neighborhood. The closest are usually only half a mile from home; the ones shown here were about a mile away. Maybe you can arrange for a return visit next spring and renew your acquaintance with Austin’s wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 26, 2019 at 6:47 AM

    • By the way, it’s interesting that two of the first three comments today came from New Zealand.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 26, 2019 at 8:42 AM

  4. I’ve never noticed a yellow center in a rain lily. None of the images of the center I found in a quick search of my files shows that; I’ll have to look for it this year whenever the lilies appear. The hints of pink and more strident magenta are obvious, but that yellow center’s really interesting. It makes for an unusually pleasing second image.


    April 26, 2019 at 7:57 AM

    • The yellow center is something I’ve noticed from time to time. I think you’re right, though, that it’s not all that common, and I don’t know why the occasional rain-lily has it when most don’t. I’ll follow your lead and pay attention to any more of these flowers that I see this season to try for a better sense of how common the yellow is. I still find it strange that no rain-lilies have come your way yet this year.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 26, 2019 at 8:40 AM

  5. Lucky you, with the rain and those gorgeous flowers!


    April 26, 2019 at 9:15 AM

    • Rainfall here has gone from being a couple of inches below average a month ago to a couple of inches above average for this time of year. I’m sorry your area hasn’t been up to par.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 26, 2019 at 1:28 PM

  6. Rain lilies! They are my favorite of the flowers you show. I believe that little red bugger is a chigger, and that makes me shudder. The third a very nice abstract.


    April 26, 2019 at 11:20 AM

    • I didn’t know that these are your favorite flowers from central Texas. They’re among mine, too. I’m glad to hear you appreciate the abstract view. I know the little red critter isn’t a chigger because chiggers are too small to be seen with the naked eye. Prompted by your comment, I did some searching and found a website that in response to a question said: “What you may have are clover mites (Bryobia praetiosa). They are small, reddish mites, about the size of the head of a pin and usually moving around very quickly.” That could’ve been what I photographed on the rain-lily.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 26, 2019 at 5:53 PM

      • I don’t know about your chiggers, but our chiggers you can see as adults. What I was told was that it is their larva that burrow under your skin and cause the massive itching. When I see a mite on me I squish it on principle but I guess that isn’t fair, as of course there are a number of species of them.


        April 27, 2019 at 7:41 AM

        • When I searched online, the most common size I found mentioned for a chigger is “less than 1/150th of an inch.” I guess someone with very acute vision might see one unaided, but as far as I know, I’ve never managed to spot one. It’s not clear to me if the adults, which are harmless to people, are bigger than the larvae, which feed on skin.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 27, 2019 at 8:33 AM

          • Yeah, you definitely can’t see the larvae but it was a naturalist who pointed out the adults to me.


            April 28, 2019 at 8:23 AM

            • I only wish I could see the larvae so I could get them off me before they do damage.

              Steve Schwartzman

              April 28, 2019 at 10:49 AM

              • Agreed! Oh, they are a misery.


                April 30, 2019 at 8:35 AM

                • The time has finally come this season to start using a repellent, as repellent as the prospect sometimes strikes me.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  April 30, 2019 at 8:40 AM

                • Yes, same here. I have a friend who refuses. She says, and I think she may be right, that mosquitoes and ticks have come to ignore the stuff anyway so all we are doing is exposing ourselves to chemicals. I don’t think she has ever been bitten by a tick, even though she practically lives in the woods, and I don’t think mosquitoes bother her either.


                  April 30, 2019 at 8:47 AM

                • Some people have a natural resistance. Me, I’m a mosquito magnet, though ticks apparently don’t find me that interesting; I don’t know if that would still be true in a place where ticks are known to be a problem.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  April 30, 2019 at 9:21 AM

                • Probably. Anything that bites finds me appealing 😦


                  May 1, 2019 at 9:08 AM

  7. I love this beautiful flower, Steve, and its common and commonsense name. It shows that former observers once noticed its unfurling after showers of rain.


    April 26, 2019 at 2:29 PM

    • There’s no doubt that here we have one wildflower that lives up to its common name. That quick responsiveness to rain lets me know when I should go out looking for them. Actually it’s even easier than that, because a few usually spring up along the road I drive just about every day to go out of and back into my neighborhood.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 26, 2019 at 5:56 PM

  8. Those are so pretty!


    April 26, 2019 at 5:13 PM

  9. Such lovely flowers. No rain lilies here…just rain.

    Steve Gingold

    April 27, 2019 at 4:26 PM

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