Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Greenthreads among the bluebonnets

with 25 comments

One of Austin’s most common wildflowers is Thelesperma filifolium, which has yellow-orange flowers but is called greenthread because of its threadlike leaves. This year greenthread flowers began appearing along the edges of highways in my part of town in January; the flowers have become more conspicuous since then. The view above is from March 18th at the intersection of Mopac and Braker Lane. Last spring the people in charge of mowing prematurely cut down all the wildflowers along the entire length of Mopac, so in spite of overcast, occasional slight drizzle, and a breeze, I went out to get some pictures in case the opportunity didn’t last.

The arc of greenthreads shown below especially caught my attention.

Of course the bluish-purple flowers are bluebonnets, Lupinus texensis.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 21, 2020 at 4:31 PM

25 Responses

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  1. It’s my favourite colour combination, thanks for getting it before it disappears.


    March 21, 2020 at 5:35 PM

    • You’re welcome. Texas has many wildflower color combinations, including what we now know is your favorite.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 22, 2020 at 4:28 AM

  2. This is a spirit-lifter, Steve. Thank you for sharing it with us.


    March 21, 2020 at 5:41 PM

    • Sure thing. Last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I went out in nature, and probably would have done so again on Friday except that we finally got some much-needed rain.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 22, 2020 at 4:29 AM

      • Glad to hear of the rain reaching you. This is the first spring I can remember with no water standing in the back yard but we had a nice thunderstorm the other night.


        March 22, 2020 at 11:16 AM

  3. Conspicuous, you say? They really stand out among all that blue and, of course, blue and yellow are very complementary. Dare I use the ‘z’ word again?

    Steve Gingold

    March 21, 2020 at 6:13 PM

    • Now you’ve reminded me of the 1950s television show in which Zorro would use his sword to trace out a conspicuous Z in three quick motions. What I didn’t know then is that zorro is Spanish for ‘fox.’ I also didn’t know about wildflowers. I remedied that and also learned Spanish, but never became adept with a sword.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 22, 2020 at 4:39 AM

  4. Beautiful, a refreshing sight for the eyes, Steve. Mother Nature is still working on upping the color trend here.


    March 21, 2020 at 10:21 PM

  5. Another one of these wonderfully textured floral carpets, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    March 22, 2020 at 8:32 AM

  6. Brilliant!!


    March 22, 2020 at 9:34 AM

  7. That arc of greenthreads is wonderful, and quite a focal point. I remember your experience last year. Robert Herrick would have approved your willingness to brave the elements to stay ahead of the mowers. He wrote something like this:

    “Gather ye photos while ye may,
    Those mowers will be flying;
    And these same flowers that smile today
    Tomorrow will be dying.”


    March 22, 2020 at 11:35 AM

    • At, ’tis well said, but sorrowful if it comes true again this spring. Might the virus keep the mowers home?

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 22, 2020 at 2:07 PM

  8. A Seuratian moment.

    Michael Scandling

    March 22, 2020 at 11:48 AM

  9. I still like the bluebonnets. As if we need more lupines here, I intend to grow some.


    March 23, 2020 at 7:26 PM

  10. Beautiful Steve … 🙂


    March 31, 2020 at 3:01 AM

  11. […] recently showing you greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium) at a distance, as a nutant bud, and then as another bud with riders, I figured I finally owe you a good view of […]

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