Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

The twining and the twined upon

with 44 comments

From June 24th in Great Hills Park here’s the tendril of a Texas bindweed, Convolvulus equitans, that had twined its way around a developing Mexican hat, Ratibida columnifera. (Unfortunately jpegging and WordPressing have made the background somewhat splotchy.)

And here’s what a nearby Texas bindweed flower looked like.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 2, 2019 at 5:00 PM

44 Responses

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  1. I love bindweed, even if many species are invasive. Texas Bindweed sounds like a native species. Is it?


    July 2, 2019 at 6:31 PM

  2. Beautiful shots. I love the curved lines of the tendrils, and the lovely shapes and colors of its flower below.

    Birder's Journey

    July 2, 2019 at 6:56 PM

    • I’m especially happy with the portrait of the flower. It’s good to hear you favor it too. This former calculus teacher is also fond of the tendril’s curve (and notice the spiraling disk florets in the Mexican hat).

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2019 at 7:20 PM

  3. That first photo — such exuberance! The very minute I saw it, I thought of Edith Piaf, especially in poses like those shown in the photos used in this video between about 1:13 and 1:25. If I were to title this one, I’d call it Chanteuse. It’s a photo that really sings.


    July 2, 2019 at 10:23 PM

    • You do have quite an imagination. I could never have come up with Edith Piaf as a vine on my own. I’ve known that song since my late teenage years and occasionally played it for my UT French students after passing out copies of the lyrics.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 3, 2019 at 5:50 AM

      • Sometimes I surprise myself. When an odd association arrives instantaneously, as this one did, I’m sometimes loathe to share it just because it seems so odd. In this case, knowing your background with French language and culture, I thought you’d get a kick out of it.


        July 3, 2019 at 7:33 AM

  4. It’s fascinating. I spent a long time staring at it just trying to figure it out. Are you sure this is Earth?

    Michael Scandling

    July 3, 2019 at 1:47 AM

    • Not only earth but right in my neighborhood. You’ve made me wonder whether central Texas has more kinds of vines than many other places; they’re certainly common here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 3, 2019 at 5:56 AM

      • You are far more attuned to plants and vines and such than I am. So I see something like this so beautifully portrayed and it creates an awareness that I didn’t have before. To me, this looks otherworldly. Like something I might see in a

        Michael Scandling

        July 3, 2019 at 9:47 AM

        • One reason I’m attuned to vines is that I’ve often enough tripped over them, gotten tangled in them, or in the case of greenbrier gotten scratched by them. Yet my experience in nature has been almost all in central Texas, which is why I wondered how common vines are in other place.

          I’m happy to have you see this as otherworldly. Thanks.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 3, 2019 at 11:30 AM

          • In many ways, Texas is another world. Of course, you could say exactly the same thing about California.

            Michael Scandling

            July 3, 2019 at 12:32 PM

            • And like Texas, because of its huge size, California is a collection of many smaller worlds. When we stayed in the Bay area in 2016 for a week I noticed that places not very far apart often had different weather forecasts.

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 3, 2019 at 12:44 PM

              • In my neighborhood there’s a microclimate that changes in the space of 50 yards. And, you know, Mark Twain supposedly said that the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.

                Michael Scandling

                July 3, 2019 at 12:56 PM

                • That’s impressive: 50 yards is much less than the several miles I had in mind.
                  I’ve heard that supposed quote from Twain. I wouldn’t out it past him, though lots of statements have been mistakenly attributed to him, and to Einstein, and to Confucius,…

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 3, 2019 at 12:59 PM

                • And Yogi Berra, who never said half the things he said.

                  Michael Scandling

                  July 3, 2019 at 1:06 PM

                • My neighborhood has some really weird topography.

                  Michael Scandling

                  July 3, 2019 at 6:34 PM

                • That sounds like a photographic advantage for you.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 3, 2019 at 6:39 PM

                • Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

                  Michael Scandling

                  July 3, 2019 at 6:41 PM

  5. Bindweeds are beautiful but a little bit pushy. They certainly do live up to their name. We have a couple trying to get established in our yard and I haven’t decided whether to disallow that or not.

    Steve Gingold

    July 3, 2019 at 2:48 AM

    • Bindweeds are fine by me, so if I were you I’d allow them to stay. What’s troublesome here is greenbrier, with its sharp thorns that too often love my skin.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 3, 2019 at 5:58 AM

      • We’ve got something like that in our garden in the form of stinging nettles. Not as bad as giant hogweed or water hemlock but nasty just the same.

        Steve Gingold

        July 4, 2019 at 12:35 PM

  6. I’m also a fan of bindweed and have never understood the hatred.

    Good composition!

    Misti Little

    July 3, 2019 at 8:15 AM

    • Based on what I’ve read, the hatred originated with farmers whose crops got compromised by various species of bindweed. I expect some gardeners have the same attitude. As a nature photographer I get to enjoy bindweeds for their intrinsic characteristics and not for their effect on other plants or people.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 3, 2019 at 11:37 AM

  7. Like paintings in oil, your macro images of flowers are of outstanding quality, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    July 3, 2019 at 9:13 AM

  8. Two beautiful flowers images.

    Otto von Münchow

    July 3, 2019 at 11:07 AM

  9. Great title, great photos 😊


    July 5, 2019 at 4:00 PM

  10. Hey Steve …your photography just gets better and better!


    July 9, 2019 at 3:33 AM

  11. Missed this one, somehow. I like the splotchy background, but I’m sure that won’t come as a surprise to you. Very pretty, both the twiner and the twinee. This spring I was introduced to a false bindweed that is apparently very rare. There it was, blooming its heart out right next to the trail! We suppose it has been there all along, waiting for a wet spring.


    July 14, 2019 at 8:35 AM

    • Happy splotchiness to us. Both the twiner and the twinee shown here are common wildflowers in Austin, though I don’t recall whether I’d previously photographed the two interacting. They certainly made a handsome couple.

      Did you sketch or photograph your “false” bindweed?

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2019 at 9:38 AM

      • It will be a pen and ink drawing. In the field I generally just take a load of photos, because they are growing in such delicate habitat I want to minimize my presence there. Well. That and the mosquitoes. I’m very pleased to have finally reached the “C’s” in my native plant treasure hunt. Of course, over the years I’ve drawn plants all throughout the alphabet (of the genus) so at this point I’m filling in the blanks. I’m really slowing down, though.


        July 15, 2019 at 9:31 AM

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