Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Red of a sort that shouldn’t be here now

with 41 comments

The warm autumn in Austin this year led to the blooming of some plants that normally wait till spring. Among those were three Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa) that we found in the wetland pond section of Barkley Meadows Park in Del Valle on November 12th. Below is a view looking straight down.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 30, 2020 at 4:35 AM

41 Responses

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  1. What a lovely find this time of year! They’re perfect for Christmas with the lovely orange/red.


    November 30, 2020 at 5:28 AM

    • With the freeze that’s predicted for early tomorrow morning, I’m afraid no Indian paintbrushes will make it to Christmas. November was already enough of a present.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 30, 2020 at 7:17 AM

  2. We had an unusual warm spell but nothing like this came of it. Everyone’s sleeping. Do dogs walk at Barkley Meadows Park?

    Steve Gingold

    November 30, 2020 at 5:32 AM

    • In Facebook’s Texas Wildflowers group over the past month people have been posting current pictures of wildflowers that normally bloom in the spring. Beyond these Indian paintbrushes I’ve seen several more species myself. As for dogs, they’re allowed in Barkley Meadows Park but must be kept on a leash. (It’s not clear to me what connection you were making with your canine question. I could guess but I wouldn’t want anyone to say I was barking up the wrong tree.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 30, 2020 at 7:35 AM

  3. Wow! That is an unusual red to be spotted this time of year! Lucky you!


    November 30, 2020 at 6:58 AM

    • We considered ourselves fortunate for the out-of-season touches of bright red. The next day in a different part of town I found some Engelmann daisies flowering; they’re also normally spring wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 30, 2020 at 7:40 AM

  4. Down here on the Gulf Coast it’s not uncommon to see indian paintbrushes in every month of the year. Not that many but always a few scattered about. I’ve seen them in the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge in January and February.


    November 30, 2020 at 8:20 AM

  5. What a beautiful treat so late in the year, especially on a very stormy day (up here in the Northeast)!


    November 30, 2020 at 8:25 AM

    • We had closer to your kind of day here yesterday, with heavy overcast, falling temperatures, and a brisk wind. The forecast is for 30° by tomorrow morning, so that may put a halt to any more spring flowers popping up. Or it may not—we’ll see.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 30, 2020 at 8:49 AM

  6. The last Indian paintbrushes I saw in our alpine meadows were in late August. With the fiery red of the paintbrushes in Texas, only our rosehips and berries of the Oregon grapes can compete. Great photography as always, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    November 30, 2020 at 9:12 AM

    • Normally the last of our paintbrushes would have faded away by the end of May. From what you say, your colder climate supports them (though a different species) through August. November is way out of season for us both. As you have your rosehips and Oregon grapes, we have reds that are in season in November, like the possumhaw fruit and flameleaf sumac leaves that appeared a few posts back, and probably one or two more still to be shown.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 30, 2020 at 9:21 AM

  7. Very nice. I particularly like the look down at the top of the flower.


    November 30, 2020 at 9:28 AM

  8. Wow–that’s not something I’ve seen before. You’re right though, what a gift! Beautiful shot with the blue sky as the backdrop and I really like photos of flowers looking straight down into them!


    November 30, 2020 at 9:45 AM

  9. That’s a nice colorful surprise.

    Robert Parker

    November 30, 2020 at 9:48 AM

  10. Such a beautiful color, especially against blue sky!

    Lavinia Ross

    November 30, 2020 at 10:31 AM

  11. It’s so beautiful, esp. in contrast against the blue sky.

    Eliza Waters

    November 30, 2020 at 7:59 PM

  12. […] on the heels of the out-of-season Indian paintbrush you saw last time, here’s another prodigy. It’s the Engelmann daisy, Engelmannia […]

  13. I think I mentioned that I’ve seen these in every month, especially at the Brazoria refuge and across the bay along the Bluewater Highway between Galveston and Surfside. Especially at this time of year, finding one always makes me smile; they’re so bright and cheerful. The view from the top’s especially nice. It certainly helps to sort out the bracts from the true flowers.


    December 2, 2020 at 7:11 PM

    • Yes, I remember you mentioning that you’ve seen this species flowering in every month. I found one in December in my neighborhood once. I’m not sure about January; maybe by the end of the month as an advance guard of the spring onslaught I’ve seen a few. You make a good point about the downward view helping people sort out the rather plain flowers from the colorful bracts.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 2, 2020 at 8:55 PM

  14. Delightful colours against that blue sky …


    December 3, 2020 at 12:34 PM

  15. HEY! I remember this one! . . .but I won’t waste your time blathering on about it again.


    December 6, 2020 at 4:11 AM

    • It’s such a well-known wildflower here, just not in the fall.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 6, 2020 at 4:21 AM

      • Well known ‘there’ but not as much here, even though, as you pointed out earlier, there is a species that is native here as well.


        December 6, 2020 at 7:34 PM

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