Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Texas bindweed flower and basket-flower

with 64 comments

In Great Hills Park on June 15th I found a Texas bindweed flower (Convolvulus equitans) close enough to a basket-flower (Plectocephalus americanus) that the latter* could serve as a pretty backdrop for the former. Note the color harmony between the center of the bindweed blossom and the basket-flower beyond it.

* Because of the way we Americans pronounce latter, Britons are amused when they hear us saying what sounds to them like the former and the ladder.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 17, 2020 at 4:47 AM

64 Responses

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  1. Wow, Steve, your juxtapositioning with your main subject in the foreground and the complementary one in the background is exemplary.


    June 17, 2020 at 5:59 AM

    • Just call me Mr. Juxtaposition, as I’ve been doing it for years. Some of the flowers I’ve applied it to are better situated and in a better condition than others. I’ll agree that circumstances worked in my favor here—and I didn’t even have to leave my neighborhood.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 17, 2020 at 6:21 AM

  2. In PA our bindweed flower is pure white with a tinge of pink or violet in the bottom. This flower is marked and shaped more like the rose of sharon here. Either way, I find it pretty when it’s growing on someone’s fence but not when it binds my garden plants together.


    June 17, 2020 at 6:28 AM

    • Not having a garden or farm, I don’t have to worry about the downside of bindweed binding other plants, and am happy to take advantage of its photographic possibilities. In fact rather than “its” I should say “their” because we have another common bindweed species here whose flowers are purple. Do you know what species of bindweed the common one in your area is?

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 17, 2020 at 6:40 AM

  3. Awesomely beautiful. This is a keeper!!


    June 17, 2020 at 6:47 AM

  4. Lovely image, Steve.

    Michael Griffiths

    June 17, 2020 at 7:50 AM

  5. nice, Steve


    June 17, 2020 at 8:10 AM

  6. Simply magnificent! I like the way you chose another flower to provide a blurry background, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    June 17, 2020 at 8:42 AM

  7. I can’t say corona anymore without unpleasant associations but if we can just blow past those associations, corona is the word. Great picture.

    Michael Scandling

    June 17, 2020 at 10:25 AM

  8. Wonderful framing Steve! You would be immensely surprised if I told you it initially fooled me to believe it was an Amapola. Okay, I know it’s nowhere near when you see the anthers, I just thought I’d let you know. Take it as a joke. It’s beautiful.


    June 17, 2020 at 1:31 PM

    • Thanks. I did my best to line up the two flowers concentrically and in this frame I succeeded. What each of us sees is influenced by our experiences, and I assume you have strong associations with the amapola.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 17, 2020 at 2:23 PM

      • You’re right about that, as I come from the tropics, but plant ID is ultimately my goal. I just thought it was funny because bindweed is not even in the mallow family.


        June 18, 2020 at 7:02 AM

        • Biologists speak of what they call convergent evolution, in which animals or plants in distinct families independently develop the same feature. For example, birds and bats both developed flight.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 18, 2020 at 7:33 AM

          • Yes, what memories from biology class! Do you know I looked up ‘amapola’ again just to double check, and it’s also used for ‘poppy’ here in the U.S.. I thought it was exclusive to hibiscus. Live and learn.


            June 18, 2020 at 8:06 AM

            • I only knew amapola as a poppy. I see from your comment and from the DRAE that in the Americas people have transferred the word to other flowers that look similar in some way:


              Steve Schwartzman

              June 18, 2020 at 8:13 AM

              • I have no idea why hibiscus looked liked poppies to the people in the tropics. In fact, the ‘amapola’ name is from Arabic origin (or so I found out here: https://bit.ly/2ACXkox).


                June 18, 2020 at 8:43 AM

                • ‘Amapola’ is a very innocent name when you use it in the Caribbean. However, in other places, it may be associated with the illegal trafficking of opium. So I’m sticking with Hibiscus, although I still prefer the other name.


                  June 18, 2020 at 9:13 AM

                • There are many kinds of poppies and many kinds of hibiscus, so a relationship between some species in one group and some species in the other wouldn’t be unusual.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  June 18, 2020 at 10:20 AM

  9. Excellent composition, Steve!

    Ellen Jennings

    June 17, 2020 at 5:32 PM

  10. What lovely shade of blue, Steve. It never ceases to amaze me that we celebrate some bindweed flowers, and vilify others (our “lawn” is riddled with the latter kind).


    June 17, 2020 at 6:57 PM

  11. When I was a kid, I knew the (native) bindweed as ‘morning glory’. It does not sound so bad that way. It grew on the edges of the orchards.


    June 17, 2020 at 9:38 PM

    • This bindweed (and every other one, for all I know) is indeed in the morning glory family, Convolvulaceae. I’ll grant you that “morning glory” has much better PR value than “bindweed.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2020 at 6:12 AM

      • Incidentally, there are some garden variety morning glories out in the vegetable garden right now. I left them because I thought they would be pretty. I have no idea how they got there.


        June 18, 2020 at 7:52 PM

        • Birds and other animals are spreaders of seeds.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 18, 2020 at 8:28 PM

          • Yes, but I can not imagine what a bird or rodent or other animal would want with morning glory seeds. The seeds must not be toxic to whomever brought them here.


            June 18, 2020 at 9:02 PM

  12. That sure looks special! Nicely done 🙂

    Ms. Liz

    June 18, 2020 at 4:30 AM

    • Thanks. I knew I was onto something and took pictures from different angles and depths of field.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2020 at 7:19 AM

  13. It’s beautiful and so well isolated!


    June 18, 2020 at 2:04 PM

    • Thanks. The shallow depth of field that comes with a wide aperture accounts for some of the isolation. Lining the two flowers up concentrically also contributed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2020 at 3:27 PM

  14. Another great background!


    June 18, 2020 at 8:55 PM

  15. This is one of your prettiest basket-flower portraits, I think; it certainly is unusual.

    Of course, now I’m smiling to realize that I saw the basket-flower as the center of interest, rather than the bindweed. My continuing unsuccessful search for basket-flowers apparently has me keying in on them wherever I see them — even when they’re serving as background. Its role here certainly elevates the bindweed: from annoyance to art.


    June 19, 2020 at 5:27 AM

    • You ought to use the phrase “from annoyance to art” as the title for something; it’s intrinsically good, and a Google search for those exact words turns up no hits.

      I certainly noticed your casting the photograph as a portrait of the basket-flower rather than of the Texas bindweed. I think of the two here as equally the subject. For some reason basket-flowers are uncommon in central Austin, and normally I go out to places on the periphery where I know to find them in quantity. The one here was an exception. A patch of ground at my normal entrance to Great Hills Park has been designated a wildflower area, and for the past few years it has gotten sown with seeds from a wildflower mix. I counted exactly two basket-flowers, and the other one was past its prime. Fortunately all it took is one fresh one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 19, 2020 at 7:20 AM

  16. What a glorious aura you have created for the bindweed. Since you usually just share native plants and the name is “Texas” I guess this isn’t an invasive foreigner although bindweeds are consider rather pesty…if only they were considered pesto worthy. Our bindweed is not friendly albeit beautiful also and there is some climbing the front step railing I installed earlier this year. I am not sure whether we will mind it or not but it will be nice, at least initially, to have flowers festooning the front entry. It is also climbing some our encouraged milkweed plants that are spreading in the yard in hopes of continued Monarch visits and day now.

    Steve Gingold

    June 21, 2020 at 9:27 AM

  17. A great spot (quite literally) – you’ve lined these up perfectly. Regarding accents, it makes me smile that my sweetheart and his friends say tin not ten, but is less funny when I struggle to get a glass of water because I didn’t ask for waah-der.


    June 23, 2020 at 12:23 PM

    • So you know all about the voicing of intervocalic t in standard American speech. As far as tin ~ ten, that’s a feature of southern speech. Because of that, people in the south often say inkpen when they mean pen, because otherwise listeners might hear the word as pin. I, having grown up in New York, pronounce the two words differently. In some parts of the United States people pronounce Mary, merry, and marry identically; for me, all three are distinct.

      And as for the picture, yes, the concentric arrangement of the two flowers was key.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 23, 2020 at 6:02 PM

      • All three are distinct for me too. One of the hardest things for me to learn has been the use of a-a to mean both yes and no, with minor differences in inflection. I still don’t really get that.


        June 28, 2020 at 10:01 AM

        • I understand how that’s a problem for you. In the opposite direction, some British expressions are hard for Americans.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 28, 2020 at 4:58 PM

          • Together offering plentiful resources for all of us who love language. 🙂


            June 29, 2020 at 9:21 AM

            • That’s for sure. One of the funniest differences between American and British English I ever experienced was in Lisbon in 1966, when I was part of a group of foreign students who were studying Portuguese. I don’t remember what the occasion was, but one night one of the British girls asked me if I would knock her up in the morning.

              Steve Schwartzman

              June 29, 2020 at 11:34 AM

  18. Wonderful shot Steve … we have convolvulus here. Nasty weed


    June 23, 2020 at 2:11 PM

  19. […] recently saw a Texas bindweed flower (Convolvulus equitans) with a basket-flower serving as a complementary concentric halo. On June 2nd […]

  20. Such soft, appealing colors. I like the subdued lighting here.


    July 2, 2020 at 8:02 PM

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