Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Groundplum flowers

with 24 comments

While at the Doeskin Ranch in Burnet County on March 24th I found a happily flowering colony of Astragalus crassicarpus. var. berlandieri, a Texas endemic known as Berlandier’s groundplum, groundplum milkvetch, or just groundplum. The species has appeared here only twice before, the first time as a limited-focus view of the plant’s leaves. A straightforward portrait of the flowers, as in today’s view, has a naturally pastel look to it.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 6, 2021 at 4:47 AM

24 Responses

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  1. Great capture !


    April 6, 2021 at 5:21 AM

  2. Very elegant and lovely. What size are these blossoms?

    Robert Parker

    April 6, 2021 at 5:58 AM

    • “Elegant and lovely” sounds good to me. A Texas wildflower guides says each flower grows up to an inch long. Because the plant produces its flowers in clusters, a casual viewer might mistakenly conclude that a cluster is a single larger flower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 6, 2021 at 6:10 AM

  3. What a beauty. The structure of the bloom reminds me of clovers, with their clusters of individual flowers. Since I’ve never heard of this one, when I read ‘ground plum,’ I imagined a fruit the size of buffalo gourd. I suspect that isn’t going to happen. Does it produce some sort of edible fruit? That would explain the common name. (That Berlandier fellow certainly got around.)

    Speaking of new discoveries, do you have the Anaqua tree in Austin? They’re blooming around Goliad and Gonzalez now, and the fragrance is strong enough to be detected some distance from the trees. I was surprised to see that they’re native. It’s too bad they don’t seem to favor the areas where the Bradford pear is the landscapers’ choice. I might have had a hard time identifying the tree, but a woman told me what they are.


    April 6, 2021 at 6:44 AM

    • The resemblance you see comes from the fact that this plant belongs to the same botanical family as clovers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the fruit, but there’s a picture of it at https://www.wildflower.org/gallery/result.php?id_image=1439. The anacua tree reaches the edge of its range in Travis county and is rare in the wild this far north; however, people have been planting anacuas for their pleasant flowers. Whether the sustained February freeze killed them off, I don’t know. The Mexican white oak on our front lawn has shown no signs of life since then.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 6, 2021 at 7:12 AM

  4. Beautifully captured, Steve!

    Eliza Waters

    April 6, 2021 at 8:23 AM

  5. A portrait of a wildflower honouring your blog with its beauty, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    April 6, 2021 at 8:31 AM

  6. That’s so delicate – both the details of the structure and the colouring. Beautiful!

    Ann Mackay

    April 6, 2021 at 10:05 AM

    • It does look delicate, and yet these perennial plants manage to make it through the torrid Texas summer to flower again the next spring.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 6, 2021 at 11:55 AM

  7. Beautiful – love the focus work on this one

    M.B. Henry

    April 6, 2021 at 2:21 PM

  8. When I clicked on your website and saw this photo, I sighed. It was an uplifting vision on a harried morning, a beautiful, calming capture. I don’t know this plant, but looked it up on the LBJWC’s site. Thanks for the intro!


    April 6, 2021 at 5:43 PM

    • You’re welcome, especially if it brought some relief on a harried morning. I haven’t often seen this species, so to come across a bunch of it flowering in one place at the Doeskin Ranch was a good opportunity for portraits—as was the prairie paintbrush I showed here two days ago.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 6, 2021 at 6:44 PM

  9. Beautiful intricate detail


    April 6, 2021 at 8:33 PM

  10. What a beauty! It looks like (according to the NRCS) I’ll have to come to Texas to see it in person.


    April 7, 2021 at 9:16 AM

  11. a keeper


    April 9, 2021 at 6:52 AM

  12. Such a pretty flower and a lovely capture of that beauty.

    Steve Gingold

    April 12, 2021 at 1:56 PM

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