Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

White on the Blackland Prairie

with 29 comments

Click to enlarge.

Behold the splendor of a prairie bishop colony (Bifora americana)
whitening the Blackland Prairie in Pflugerville on May 4th.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 8, 2020 at 4:37 AM

29 Responses

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  1. what a lovely prairie, i love the sea of white


    May 8, 2020 at 6:27 AM

    • In this picture I was indeed going for “the sea of white.” Future posts will play up the equally dense mixtures of differently colored wildflower species that currently make this piece of prairie so spectacular.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 8, 2020 at 6:40 AM

  2. To really experience the splendour of this outstanding photo one must click on it to view it enlarged on the entire screen. Greetings from Canada, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    May 8, 2020 at 8:13 AM

    • Even the enlargement is still a blog-sized photo. The original high-resolution version has so much more detail. Let’s hope Canada comes to Texas someday.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 8, 2020 at 12:20 PM

  3. This is just lovely. Prairie parsley is making itself obvious now, and in a good year it can be as thick and colorful as this. There are acres and acres of yellow around here now, too. To my eye, fields like this are as pleasing as the bluebonnets and paintbrushes.


    May 8, 2020 at 8:31 AM

  4. Wow, it’s so thick and high! It’s beautiful.

    • It’s hard to tell the scale here. Actually these plants aren’t as tall as they may seem here. My local field guide says 6–24 inches. I’d say these were in the middle of that range. Regardless of height, the flowers sure were dense.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 8, 2020 at 7:00 PM

  5. Pure texture and color. Looks like wall material to me.

    Michael Scandling

    May 8, 2020 at 10:39 AM

  6. I can easily imagine walking through it very slowly with hands outstretched, like Kicking Bird (Graham Greene) in Dances With Wolves.


    May 8, 2020 at 4:03 PM

    • I knew Graham Greene as the name of the British novelist but not the actor in that movie. As for these dense wildflower colonies, I walked around them looking for good angles for photographs but didn’t want to ruin them by walking through the flower. Sometimes even getting close took some deft footwork.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 8, 2020 at 7:22 PM

  7. Ah, my favorite color.


    May 8, 2020 at 8:13 PM

    • Glad to oblige.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 8, 2020 at 8:46 PM

      • Oh, they are all good. White is not necessary. It is nice when it happens to work out that way. Black locust are blooming white right now, but it is too high up for me to see it. Actually, they must be done by now, because the flowers are blowing about.


        May 8, 2020 at 9:25 PM

  8. I recall you mentioned that Hedge Parsley (Torilis arvensis) had invaded an area of Bishop’s weed (Bifora americana) that you had gone to recently. As far as I can tell, for the non-botanist, the main difference is in the shape of the leaves. It would be instructive to myself and others if you did a comparison of the two plants, in your style of photography. When I see a sea of white flowers, I wish to know whether it is the native Texas plant or the invasive weed. Humbly requested, Master!


    May 9, 2020 at 9:54 AM

    • Hi, Bob. Even a decade before I launched this blog in 2011 I’d decided not to (knowingly) photograph non-native plants. As a result, I don’t have a single picture showing the invasive hedge parsley—though I’ve unwillingly brought home thousands of its annoying seeds clinging to my shoelaces, socks, and pants over those two decades. You’re right that the leaves provide an easy way to distinguish prairie bishop from hedge parsley, given that prairie bishop’s leaves are thread-like and hedge parsley’s aren’t. Also, a hedge parsley plant is “looser” and more gangly and can get a foot taller than even the tallest prairie bishop.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 9, 2020 at 10:33 AM

      • Thanks, Steve, I understand your decision only to photograph native plants and to avoid those that are non-native to Texas (or elsewhere, as your travels take you). Having seen only one photo of the leaves of Bifora americana in the NPIN database, I feel fairly confident that I haven’t unwittingly pulled any of it in my occasional attempts to stem the tide of invasive plans in order to allow the natives some room and sunlight in which to prosper. I guess iNaturalist is the next best place to sort the natives from the exotics.
        In “my” little greenbelt bubble (thanks to the presence of a cave with an endangered species) I’ve been fortunate enough to find five species previously unreported in my county. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any evidence of the first one, a native, this year, and the last three have all been non-natives, presumably escaped from cultivation. Thanks, and keep up the good work!


        May 9, 2020 at 1:58 PM

  9. Blackland or Whiteland? Seems it could go either way. One could easily get lost in all that flowery goodness…if one were only 10″ tall.

    Steve Gingold

    May 11, 2020 at 4:27 PM

    • I’d thought about putting “Whiteland Prairie” in the post’s title. And yes, a being 10″ tall could easily get lost in the flowery goodness.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 11, 2020 at 4:44 PM

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