Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Basket-flower colony on the Blackland Prairie

with 25 comments

Click to enlarge.

From May 10th, here’s a happy colony of basket-flowers (Plectocephalus americanus) on a piece of the Blackland Prairie at the southern edge of Round Rock. The numerous yellow flowers farther back are known as sundrops or square-bud primroses (Oenothera capillifolia). People call the red flowers firewheels and Indian blankets (Gaillardia pulchella). The white flowers in the distance are prairie bishop (Bifora americana).

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 14, 2020 at 4:41 AM

25 Responses

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  1. i love your prairie views


    May 14, 2020 at 4:48 AM

  2. Another nice non-embarrassment of riches.

    Steve Gingold

    May 14, 2020 at 5:12 AM

  3. It’s a beautiful sight – is this prairie a survivor, or is it a restoration?

    Robert Parker

    May 14, 2020 at 5:57 AM

    • A survivor, but I don’t know for how much longer. One of my favorite prairie parcels just a quarter of a mile from this one is now under development.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 14, 2020 at 7:40 AM

      • That’s too bad, you’ve mentioned a number of times, places where you’d photographed, that were now being built up.

        Robert Parker

        May 14, 2020 at 7:41 AM

        • I’ve lost count by now of how many properties in my area have been developed in just the past decade. With two added from 2020 so far, the total must be at least 25.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 14, 2020 at 8:02 AM

          • Urban sprawl is pretty sad.

            Robert Parker

            May 14, 2020 at 8:11 AM

            • I understand the necessity for development as the population increases. I just wish municipalities would buy up more properties and set them aside as nature preserves, even if houses and roads and businesses surround them.

              Steve Schwartzman

              May 14, 2020 at 8:14 AM

              • I haven’t read in depth about their strategy, but I’ve heard that Ithaca is perhaps a model – – they’re trying to promote greater density, with incentives to build “up” instead of “out” – -trying to avoid having farmland and woods gobbled up by developments. They’ve got a pretty active conservation group, too, that’s connected to The Nature Conservancy, buying land or securing conservation easements.

                Robert Parker

                May 14, 2020 at 8:30 AM

                • Austin has done reasonably well creating greenbelts on the west side of town, which is hilly and maybe not surprisingly home to wealthier people on average. Not so on the eastern side, the prairie side, which is poorer and therefore easier for developers to buy land in and create subdivisions and commercial buildings. Naturophiles in the United States have been saying for as long as I’ve been aware of such things that prairie is the most endangered type of habitat in the country. A couple of decades a group of people (including me) from the Native Plant Society and Native Prairies Association went to a city council meeting in Round Rock and tried to convince them to buy and set aside a certain property as a nature preserve; unfortunately we didn’t succeed.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  May 14, 2020 at 8:41 AM

  4. Did I just check the distance between League City and Round Rock? Why, yes: of course I did. Lucky, lucky you to have these so close, and blooming so prolifically. They’re beautiful.


    May 14, 2020 at 6:14 AM

    • This is the “original” site that some people from the Native Plant Society took me to 20 years ago. Parts of it have been built on but this section has somehow held on for all those years even though it borders a highway. The land doesn’t know how not to be a prairie in the spring. The basket-flowers had more buds than flower heads when I visited, so a return is warranted in another few days.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 14, 2020 at 7:51 AM

    • By the way, under normal circumstances I’d say “Come on down!”

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 14, 2020 at 8:15 AM

  5. Wow!! I think I could just plop down in a field like this and spend hours watching the swaying flower heads in the breeze/wind. Do you notice many bees in heavily-blossomed areas like this?


    May 14, 2020 at 7:57 AM

    • I’ll bet you could indeed spend hours there. I returned the next day and took more pictures. You mentioned the breeze: it’s a pretty constant feature out on the prairie. As for bees, I’ve certainly noticed some, but not more than what might be called the usual number for so many flowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 14, 2020 at 8:09 AM

  6. I love the sight of your prairie flowers which grow in abundance in your warmer climate. When we lived in Alberta the prairie had a short period of beautiful prairie flowers after a long winter. Then everything turned a rusty colour under the blazing sun of summer.

    Peter Klopp

    May 14, 2020 at 8:45 AM

    • As long and cold as your winters are, that’s how long and hot our summers are, and then things bake in the seemingly never-ending heat. From what you say, spring is the most luxuriant time in both places.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 14, 2020 at 8:49 AM

  7. Love it when nature can answer spring’s call in such abundant flowering.

    Nature on the Edge

    May 14, 2020 at 9:27 AM

  8. Thanks so much for the beauty AND educating us.

    Margie McCreless Roe

    May 14, 2020 at 2:55 PM

  9. You have the best prairie flowers/fields!


    May 14, 2020 at 4:23 PM

    • We do. Texas is justifiably famous for them, and the local prairie this May has lived up to its reputation.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 14, 2020 at 5:23 PM

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