Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

The other wildflower I hadn’t seen in years

with 18 comments

The other wildflower I encountered on June 12th along a clifftop trail above the Colorado River on the west side of the Capital of Texas Highway after not having seen the species for years was Acourtia runcinata, known as peonia and stemless perezia. No one could fault you for adding the name ribbonflower or bowflower. As happened minutes earlier with the Texas milkweed, this wildflower grew in a tree-shaded area and yet a shaft of sunshine coming through the canopy provided the dramatic spotlight I needed at the time.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 14, 2019 at 4:47 AM

18 Responses

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  1. I’ve never seen one of these! What a beauty! Nature provided just the right light for you to showcase this lovely wildflower.


    July 14, 2019 at 7:38 AM

    • No, you wouldn’t have seen one: my county marks the northeastern corner of the range of the species, which in the United States grows only in Texas. Over 20 years I doubt I’ve seen one of these more than five times, always in northwest Austin. I really was fortunate to have such good lighting, both for the peonia and the Texas milkweed a few minutes earlier.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2019 at 8:06 AM

  2. I must confess I have not seen this beautiful wildflower before. Wonderful capture, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    July 14, 2019 at 8:27 AM

    • No, you wouldn’t have seen it unless you’d visited certain parts of Texas and Mexico. And yes, the lighting was ideal for a portrait.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2019 at 9:14 AM

  3. Lovely shot. I can see why it is also called ribbon flower.
    This morning my long-awaited enormous yellow dayflower sent out a bloom. As the trees have matured my garden has been cast in ever deeper shade, and I wondered whether the dayflower would bloom this year but indeed it did. I mention it because there was the bloom, lit up in a single ray of light, with all else in shadow, and I thought of you.


    July 14, 2019 at 8:32 AM

    • Actually, as far as I know, it isn’t called ribbonflower; that’s my contribution (along with bowflower) to nomenclature.

      How nice that your lit-up-through-the-shadows bloom reminded you of this. Lighting is so important to artists.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2019 at 9:32 AM

      • It sure is. When I started writing a blog, I had no idea what to expect. What a wonderful surprise to discover that I have acquired what I shall call companions of the mind, people who keep me company as I go about my business, inspire me and prod me to grow. Thank you for being one!


        July 15, 2019 at 9:34 AM

  4. Ah. We both featured naturally lit dark background flowers today. What a bonus it is when we can find it. It’s a pretty little flower. The petals remind of the cut ribbons we used to curl with the edge of scissors.

    Steve Gingold

    July 14, 2019 at 10:48 AM

    • That’s it all right, straight out of childhood memory: ribbons curled by scissor-blade rubbing.
      And yes, another coincidental showing, this time a subject naturally lit against a dark background.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2019 at 11:08 AM

  5. A new one for me (and for others, apparently). Thank you for sharing this beauty with us!


    July 14, 2019 at 12:49 PM

    • You’re welcome. This native plant is indeed new for most people, even those in the northwestern part of Austin where it grows. The first one I ever found was growing in the L of a staircase at Mount Bonnell, where people stepped right over it without paying any attention.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 14, 2019 at 1:30 PM

  6. Not only have I never seen this, I’ve never heard of it. The common name listed by Eason — featherleaf desert peony — seems just right. It is rather peony- like in appearance, although my first thought was the same as Steve’s; it looked like scissor-curled ribbon. I still use that technique, especially for gifts that have to go through the mail, since curled ribbons stand up to the postal system better than most fancier decorations.

    I grinned at this part of Eason’s description: “Common in south and west Texas, less common in southern Edwards Plateau; often found in shady areas.” I’d say you just confirmed that.


    July 16, 2019 at 5:27 AM

    • In looking back through my pictures I found that the last time I’d come across this species was in 2016. I remember where it was, and I’m pretty sure it was out in the open, even if in the same general part of Austin that’s home to lots of Ashe juniper trees and the shade they cast.

      To my mind the resemblance to bows and curled ribbons is so strong that I don’t understand why ribbonflower and bowflower never took hold as common names.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 16, 2019 at 5:56 AM

  7. Delightful .. and ribbon flower would be a perfect name!


    July 19, 2019 at 2:54 PM

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