Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Flowering huisache tree on a cloudy day

with 23 comments

I’d gotten to thinking that 2020 was one of those years when the huisache [wee-sáh-chay] trees (Vachellia farnesiana) in my area weren’t going to put out any flowers. Finally on March 16th I noticed some on the two trees I’d been keeping an eye on in my neighborhood. Encouraged, the next day I drove around and found several fully blooming trees in Round Rock. Normally I’d have waited for a clear day to play off the blue of the sky against the saturated yellow-orange of these trees’ flowers, but we’d had weeks of mostly cloudy weather and the forecast was for more of the same. “If you can’t beat them, join them,” so I incorporated clouds into some of my pictures, as you see here.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 20, 2020 at 4:41 AM

23 Responses

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  1. You handled the clouds well. When I saw the title I immediately thought, “How is that pronounced?” and you had it covered!!


    March 20, 2020 at 5:03 AM

    • The word has also been Texanized to the two-syllable wée-satch but I, having lived for two years in Honduras, always pronounce it the Spanish way. As for the clouds, the brightest area of sky came close to getting overexposed; fortunately processing managed to keep it on the good side of the line.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 20, 2020 at 5:54 AM

  2. It looks like the clouds were doing their job right and providing a nice diffuser for you and make the golden yellows pop!

    I’m glad you spelled out the pronunciation of this tree/bush phonetically or I would have been lost.


    March 20, 2020 at 8:15 AM

    • You’re the second person in a row to mention the pronunciation. English uses the Spanish spelling of the Aztec word for this tree, so it’s twice removed from the original word. I’ve always gone with the Spanish pronunciation, which seems more elegant than the blunter wée-satch that some Texans say.

      It’s true that the cloudiness worked in my favor by reducing harsh shadows. Even so, the sunny part of me still would’ve liked a bright blue sky to play the flowers off against.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 20, 2020 at 8:29 AM

  3. The clouds add some dramatic effect to the photo of the flowering huisache tree, Steve. Well done, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    March 20, 2020 at 8:56 AM

  4. That’s quite a shot. I love the clouds atop the yellow, though the blue would work, too. 🙂 There’s a gorgeous specimen not far from me at Foster Lane/Shoal Creek, growing in a drainage area. I need to pop over there, see if it’s happening yet.


    March 20, 2020 at 9:01 AM

  5. I quite like the clouds. It makes for a dramatic image.


    March 20, 2020 at 9:36 AM

  6. We’ve been admiring the yellow-green young oak leaves against the slate sky out here and enjoying the color combination. Better than blue in our opinion. So you get a blessing in da skies.

    Michael Scandling

    March 20, 2020 at 10:08 AM

  7. ’twas a dark and stormy sky but much beauty in the Huisache below.

    Steve Gingold

    March 20, 2020 at 6:28 PM

  8. I like the clouds…very nice, Steve. 🙂


    March 20, 2020 at 8:06 PM

  9. What a lovely specimen. Like you, we’ve been afflicted with cloudy skies, with occasional fog, so those lovely blue and gold combinations have been in short supply. Still, I was lucky enough to find some blooming on my trip to Rockport, in somewhat sunnier conditions. I remembered huisache when I read this line in D.H. Lawrence’s poem about spring: “Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke…” I have no idea whether he was thinking of this tree (I suspect not), but the line certainly fits.


    March 21, 2020 at 7:33 AM

    • I remember your mention of the huisaches you saw on your trip, which I assume we’ll be seeing one of these days. I’m optimistic the flowers on Austin’s huisaches will last through this coming week, when the forecast finally calls for some sunshine. “Thorn-blossom” is appropriate, given that the meaning of Nahuatl huixachin, the forerunner of huisache, was ‘lots of thorns.’

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2020 at 10:04 AM

  10. The three syllable pronunciation reminds me of our local lizard, the green anole. Having grown up with Mexican families, I have always added ‘ay’ on the backside. Today when I say it, people look at me sideways. I like the way you played the clouds off the blossoms.


    March 22, 2020 at 8:03 AM

    • I’ve always done the same with a-no-le. In fact I didn’t even know till recently that most English speakers drop the last syllable.

      Playing the clouds off the tree’s flowers seemed like the right thing to do under the circumstances. I’d have included at least a little more at the bottom but for the fact that human elements would’ve intruded.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 22, 2020 at 9:09 AM

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