Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Dense wildpflowers

with 74 comments

Now that it’s already the middle of May, if you thought I was done showing vast colonies of wildflowers this spring, think again. Above from May 9th in Pflugerville (hence the spelling of wildpflowers in the title) is a densely flowering colony of Gaillardia pulchella, called firewheels, Indian blankets, and blanketflowers. The yellow flowers mixed in are greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium), and the leaves forming a green mound belong to compass plants (Silphium albiflora).

In the picture below, the cream-colored flower at the bottom is a kind of foxglove (Penstemon cobaea). A few of the bright yellow spots further right are square-bud primroses (Oenothera berlandieri). The trees are Ashe junipers (Juniperus ashei). The clouds are clouds. I’m me.

And speaking of me, be aware that my pronouns are the exalted one and Mr. Wonderful.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 12, 2021 at 4:38 AM

74 Responses

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  1. I thought you would have been in Pflugerville by the spelling and sure enough.

    Steve Gingold

    May 12, 2021 at 4:59 AM

    • It’s commendable that you’d remember the little burg of Pflugerville. Actually it’s not so little anymore, having grown from maybe a thousand people when I moved to the area in 1976, to about 68,000 now. Of course a lot of that growth has come at the expense of nature.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 12, 2021 at 7:39 AM

  2. Pflugerville… It’s an odd name. I found it was known for being stuck between a rock and a weird place (Round Rock and Austin)
    *thanks texashighways.com : )
    This field is so beautiful, as it is left untouched. I am sure the birds & others really enjoy it.

    Dawn Renee

    May 12, 2021 at 6:07 AM

    • The town got its name from an early German settler. Pflug means ‘plow,’ and so a Pfluger is a ‘plower.’ Much of the Blackland Prairie did in fact get put to the plow. What you say about being stuck between a rock and a weird place is both funny and true.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 12, 2021 at 7:42 AM

      • That is interesting. I didn’t realize it, that name does indeed sound German. If I had followed through with my decision to learn German, at least a word a day, I may had known that by now.
        Yeah, I thought that description from someone was comical too.

        Dawn Renee

        May 12, 2021 at 8:02 AM

        • It’s never too late to start learning a language. Because of heavy immigration from Germany in the 1800s and early 1900s, plenty of towns and roads in central Texas bear German names. That’s true even for San Antonio, which is so heavily Hispanic. As for the capital of Texas, “Keep Austin weird” has been a slogan here for two decades:


          Steve Schwartzman

          May 12, 2021 at 8:09 AM

          • No, it isn’t. Thanks for the link, that’s going to keep me busy. There’s many links in there of interest to look into.

            Dawn Renee

            May 12, 2021 at 9:57 AM

  3. Another lovely carpet of wildflowers, Steve! No surprise for me anymore!

    Peter Klopp

    May 12, 2021 at 7:43 AM

    • Yes, by now you’re used to our magic carpets. I wish there were a way to keep the surprise alive.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 12, 2021 at 8:11 AM

  4. What a beautiful field of pflowers! Exalted One and Mr. Wonderful… 🤣🧡 I like it!


    May 12, 2021 at 7:44 AM

    • I wish more people in Pflugerville appreciated their pfloral delights. As for the pronouns, one way to counteract trendiness is to mock it. A little self-aggrandizement in the process doesn’t hurt.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 12, 2021 at 8:18 AM

  5. A splendid post, Steve!


    May 12, 2021 at 8:10 AM

    • With such splendid wildflowers as a subject, an attractive post comes naturally. You’ll be seeing more from this field.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 12, 2021 at 8:27 AM

  6. A sea of flowers….. gorgeous pictures.


    May 12, 2021 at 8:25 AM

  7. It’s a good time to be a bee.

    Jason Frels

    May 12, 2021 at 10:53 AM

  8. We currently have magic carpets of fallen autumn leaves and you have magic carpets of wildflowers. Your photos of swathes of wildflowers are always a wonder to me, I love their vast expanse of colour! Thanks for sharing these beauties (not just these particular blooms but your many posts that share the wild colour you find).

    Ms. Liz

    May 12, 2021 at 4:56 PM

    • You’re welcome. I understand how our swathes of wildflowers are a wonder to you. It’s not just the reaction of a New Zealander, either: parts of the United States also envy Texas its wildflower carpets. Firewheels (the mostly red flowers with yellow fringes) are probably at their apogee now. Tomorrow I’m going out to follow up on a report of some large fields of them 30–40 minutes north of home.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 12, 2021 at 6:57 PM

  9. Wow!


    May 12, 2021 at 8:21 PM

  10. Stunning! Great shots, Mr. Wonderful. 😉

    Eliza Waters

    May 12, 2021 at 8:33 PM

  11. Juniper! . . . that’s not quite an Eastern red cedar. Well, it is interesting anyway. (I should have grabbed one while I had the chance.)


    May 12, 2021 at 9:01 PM

    • The two species are similar. Both exist here, but the Ashe juniper is far more common—in some places almost ubiquitous.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 12, 2021 at 9:29 PM

      • Yes, I remember that from earlier. I did not drive through the native range, but was told that some of the junipers I saw were Ashe juniper. I still do not know what they really were, since I did not investigate. There are several that live where I saw them. Some must have been Juniperus scopulorum. As I so gleefully pulled up Juniperus virginiana to bring back, the neighbors watched as if I were crazy. It is not exactly a desirable species there.


        May 12, 2021 at 10:09 PM

        • Nor, for many people, is Ashe juniper here. On the USDA map you can see where in Oklahoma it’s native:

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 12, 2021 at 10:18 PM

          • Hey, I just noticed that, although Ashe juniper is not native where I supposedly saw it, it does happen to be native to Cleveland County in Oklahoma, where we stayed! How could I have missed that?!


            May 13, 2021 at 1:11 AM

            • Maybe it’s been found in that county but is uncommon there.

              Steve Schwartzman

              May 13, 2021 at 4:54 AM

              • Like the Indian paintbrush that is native here. Really though, I was not looking for it. I could have seen it, and not known it. I distinctly remember something that looked like a small Arizona cypress. It was out in the wild, but I suspected that it was a feral Arizona cypress for the nearby homes.


                May 13, 2021 at 9:07 PM

  12. My pronouns are who, what, where.

    Michael Scandling

    May 13, 2021 at 12:43 AM

  13. At least it’s the field of wildflowers that’s dense, and not the photographer. I amused myself trying to decide on my own wry pronouns. I tentatively decided on ‘Little Miss Gullible’ and ‘the easily perplexed One.’

    That’s one gorgeous field. The sight of a lone Ashe juniper in the midst of wildflowers feels unusual to me; it certainly is attractive. A friend near Wharton posted a photo of a field filled to the brim with clasping leaf coneflowers. I need to get out and have a look around this weekend.


    May 13, 2021 at 7:34 AM

    • The photographer has been known for density at times, too, but haven’t we all? Densificari humanum est, and all that. On the other hand, if you’re going to have wry pronouns, shouldn’t you err on the side of self-aggrandizing rather than self-deprecating ones?

      Back to nature. I think you’re right that a lone Ashe juniper in a field is less common than a line of them, as in the background, or a thicket of them (so-called cedar breaks). Good luck at the Wharton School of (Clasping-Leaf) Coneflowers. I had hopes for a repeat of last year’s great colony of them on the still-remaining piece of prairie adjacent to the new construction site I lamented last month. Unfortunately the vagaries of nature are such that when I went there the other day I found that this year’s crop of them is paltry compared to 2020’s.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 13, 2021 at 7:53 AM

  14. Happy to see that Pflugerville still provides you with interesting pfields. So many have been developed. I have one nearby and love to walk alongside it, on the very civilized concrete sidewalk.

    • Yes, I’m still finding places in Pflugerville, but unfortunately this year construction claimed the great one on the west side of Heatherwilde Blvd. just south of spring Hill Elementary School. For the past five years or so it had been great each spring.

      The field in this post is at the northwest corner of Wells Branch Parkway and Immanuel Rd. Where’s the one you love to walk alongside?

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 13, 2021 at 5:47 PM

    • By the way, I like the indicated pronunciation of your name.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 13, 2021 at 11:11 PM

  15. What gorgeous flowery scenes.


    May 13, 2021 at 10:54 PM

    • I’m happy to say that more will be coming your way in the weeks ahead. (As usual I’m backlogged.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 13, 2021 at 11:10 PM

  16. Amazing scenes, O Exalted One. I kinda suspect the Exalt was via some Single Malt when you wrote that. But you’re certainly entitled to exult in these scenes.

    Robert Parker

    May 14, 2021 at 7:46 AM

    • You read my mind: I originally was going to say “O exalted one” but I switched from the second-person-singular to the third-person-singular—both without benefit of single malt. I also considered an unpronounceable word like mxwgchpsk as something outlandish to satirize the outlandish demands some people are making. And some of those zealots certainly exult over what they’ve been able to make some regular folks do.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 14, 2021 at 8:10 AM

      • This also reminded me how long it’s been since I had a malted milkshake. I’m moving to a new apartment, and will be within easy walking distance of the best ice cream place in the city.

        Robert Parker

        May 14, 2021 at 8:42 AM

        • Sounds like “Calorie City, here I come.” Maybe you should make yourself walk there and back several times before going inside for your milkshake.

          And now it’s your turn to remind me of the malted milks I used to get as a kid at the Manos Ice Cream Parlor, which stood on the northeast corner of the main intersection in the suburb where I grew up. The building is still there (as far as I know) but the ice cream parlor is long gone.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 14, 2021 at 9:00 AM

  17. Beautiful ❤️❤️


    May 15, 2021 at 1:38 PM

  18. I can tell from the tree photo the direction of the prevailing wind. Such a beautiful meadow of flowers!

    Lavinia Ross

    May 17, 2021 at 11:18 AM

    • It’s a great wildflower meadow, one I hadn’t photographed before. And yes, the tree does seem to indicate the direction of the prevailing wind. Good of you to notice.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 17, 2021 at 6:20 PM

  19. […] are two more pictures from May 9th showing the great wildpflower pfield in Pflugerville that you saw in a previous post. Most of the flowers are firewheels (Gaillardia pulchella) and […]

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