Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Ten years

with 79 comments

Today marks 10 years since I put up the first post on Portraits of Wildflowers. Even after a decade I’m happy to occasionally bring you native wildflowers that haven’t appeared here before, like the snake herb you saw the other day and now this yellow passionflower, Passiflora lutea.* Less flashy than some other passionflower species, it puts out flowers no more than about 3/4 of an inch (18mm) across—meaning that the image of this one is significantly larger than life, thanks to my trusty macro lens. Looking only at the flower, could you have predicted its buds would be bullet-shaped, as confirmed by the two in the upper right? I took this photograph on May 21st in a thankfully undeveloped (but more often mowed than I’d like) lot on Balcones Woods Dr. a couple of miles from home.

* While it’s true that you’ve never seen a flower of this species here before, I did show an abstract portrait of a tendril way back in 2012.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 4, 2021 at 4:38 AM

79 Responses

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  1. wow, 10 years, and they are all still each beautiful in their own way. may you continue to share your beautiful flowers with us for a long time to come


    June 4, 2021 at 4:45 AM

  2. Happy Blogiversary to the blog that always helps me get through winter 😃.


    June 4, 2021 at 5:23 AM

    • You may have heard me say that one reason I moved south from New York was to get away from northern winters. I’d have a hard time in Ontario during the cold half of the year. I’m glad our Texas wildflowers in December, January, and February help you through that time of year.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2021 at 7:47 AM

  3. Congratulations, Steve.   I look forward to your Wildflower posts every day. Much love to you and to Eve from Ariana and Michael down here in soggy Houston.                                                    Michael.


    June 4, 2021 at 6:16 AM

    • Same to you guys from a similarly soggy Austin, where the forecast holds chances of more rain every day through next Tuesday. With the pandemic gradually lifting, let’s hope we can get together soon.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2021 at 7:50 AM

  4. Congrats!! Decade but not decayed. Seriously that’s impressive, maintaining a high standard for your main photographic theme, as well as coming up with all the unexpected topics you’ve introduced. So, one of the best blogs bar none, you’ve set a high bar and included countless interesting sidebars. It’s a bit early for a drink, but cheers.

    Robert Parker

    June 4, 2021 at 6:23 AM

  5. To paraphrase a common Texas saying, I wasn’t here at the beginning, but I got here as soon as I could. Thanks to your portraits, I’ve learned more than I would have anticipated about both our native plants and photography.The etymological lessons and humorous wordplay are, of course, lagniappe.

    I had to smile at the sight of this passionflower. I’ve seen only one of these, and it was blooming not ten feet from the unusual purple pleatleaf I posted today. When I looked at the USDA map, it was interesting to see how patchy the plant’s appearance is in the state, and it was another reminder that the maps aren’t always the final word. I found mine in Tyler County, despite its presence not being indicated on the map.


    June 4, 2021 at 6:30 AM

    • And thanks for being a faithful reader and commenter for so long, plus a game word player yourself. You’ve reminded me once again of the the interesting etymology of lagniappe:


      I can think of two reasons for the USDA map makers not to have marked a county where you found a species. One is that no botanist or other contributor to their database had happened across it; that’s especially plausible if the species is uncommon in that county. The other possibility is that the species has moved into that county since the last revision of the USDA map.

      I once led botanist Bill Carr to some Neptunia I’d found in Travis County. He confirmed it as Neptunia pubescens. That was in 2008, and yet that species still isn’t marked for Travis County on the USDA map:


      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2021 at 8:19 AM

  6. Congratulations! And thanks for having let us see those wonderful pictures.


    June 4, 2021 at 7:08 AM

  7. Hearty congratulations!


    June 4, 2021 at 7:09 AM

  8. Congratulations, Steven, on a really significant milestone. I don’t have any statistics, but ten years of blogging almost certainly make you a graybeard in the blogging universe. I’ve followed your postings for quite some time and have learned a lot about flowers and photography from you. Equally importantly I have had a lot of fun along the way with your philosophical, literary, and linguistic tangents at the end of many of your postings.

    Mike Powell

    June 4, 2021 at 7:20 AM

    • Better a milestone than a millstone, right? The sound of mill in millstone, plus your knowledge of French, reminds me of a French card game that became popular in the United States way back when, and that you may remember:


      As for being a graybeard, I was that well before there was such a thing as a blog. I’ve also long felt a special kinship with the establishing of our country (it doesn’t hurt to be born on the Fourth of July), and that’s why I’ve started adding news of and comments about the surge in threats to our freedom. Because this is ostensibly a nature photography blog, I’ve been putting those additions at the end, so a reader who only wants nature photography can get that and then stop.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2021 at 8:31 AM

  9. Congratulations and Happy Blogiversary!! 🥳

    Khürt Williams

    June 4, 2021 at 7:41 AM

  10. Ten years! Congratulations! Your blog is very interesting, I look forward to your clever posts, and I like to learn about wildflowers through your beautiful pictures.

    Alessandra Chaves

    June 4, 2021 at 7:44 AM

    • You’re welcome, and I appreciate your many comments and insights. There’s always more to learn.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2021 at 1:43 PM

  11. Steve, It’s been a remarkable 10 years of photos for viewers like us.  Thank you so much for the photos. And, thank you very much for your recent—within the last year—commentaries in the political arena. Bill Sterling. Long time member of Williamson County NPSOT.

    Bill Sterling

    June 4, 2021 at 8:17 AM

    • Thanks for your vote of confidence, Bill. Even though this is a nature photography blog, the turn our country has been taking for the past year is dangerous, so I felt I had to begin speaking out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2021 at 2:22 PM

  12. Congratulations on your decade-long blogging activity on Portraits of Wildflowers! I am so glad to have discovered your blog, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    June 4, 2021 at 8:27 AM

  13. Congratulations on your Blogaversary!!


    June 4, 2021 at 9:20 AM

  14. Happy Anniversary of your lovely wildflower posts. I am always appreciative of the gems in my e-mails. Much gratitude for the bursts of nature to remind me of the infinite variety of plants and spectacles that Mother Nature provides for those who will only look around.


    June 4, 2021 at 10:11 AM

  15. Happy Tenth. I wasn’t paying attention this past May when I had my 11th. I’m closing in on 1900.

    Steve Gingold

    June 4, 2021 at 11:28 AM

    • Depending on when in May it was, you might still be in time to announce 11 years and 11 days. In any case, you’ll have to mark your calendar now so next May you can announce your 12th anniversary.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2021 at 2:29 PM

  16. My blog will be 10 in July! Didn’t we do well? I know little of flowers or photography, so I can rarely comment intelligently, but I do like your posts.

  17. Congratulations on your anniversary, Steve. May you continue to enjoy taking and sharing nature’s wonderful portraits for many more years to come.
    Best wishes,


    June 4, 2021 at 3:50 PM

    • Thanks, Tanja. I didn’t imagine I’d still be doing this after 10 years. It remains enjoyable, though it sometimes tires me out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2021 at 3:58 PM

      • Time flies. I was surprised to learn recently that I have been blogging for 6 years.
        I’m glad you continue to enjoy what you do. What’s nice is that you can decide to post as little or as much as you would like in order to stave off fatigue!


        June 4, 2021 at 4:33 PM

        • In 2019 I was cutting back a little, posting twice in three or four days. Then came the pandemic, and I was spending so much time taking pictures out in nature, where it was safe, that I accumulated lots of photographs and have been posting daily since then. I hope the break that you took for a while recharged your batteries.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 4, 2021 at 5:00 PM

          • You could always cut back again, Steve, if it gets to be too much for you. Your photo archive won’t disappear, only grow.
            My break was good in some ways, not so good in others (Covid, political mayhem, etc.). I wouldn’t mind posting more often, but I’m still reluctant to spend so many hours online. When I do, I’m missing out on a lot of other activities I really enjoy.


            June 4, 2021 at 6:15 PM

            • The online world has its good points, like interacting with people who could be anywhere, and finding information (assuming it’s from a trustworthy source). But you’re right that it’s not the real world.

              Steve Schwartzman

              June 4, 2021 at 9:31 PM

              • I agree, Steve, and also have enjoyed meeting people from all over the world and learning new information. But I really like being outdoors, or reading or writing a book, and there are only so many hours in any given day.


                June 5, 2021 at 5:10 PM

                • What kinds of books have you written, or are in the process of writing?

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  June 5, 2021 at 7:39 PM

                • Thanks for asking, Steve. I am in the process of finishing my first book, which is a collection of essays about local places and people. Stay tuned for more on my blog when it’s ready. 🙂


                  June 6, 2021 at 6:46 PM

                • Okay, I’ll keep my radio tuned to station KTANJA.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  June 6, 2021 at 7:30 PM

                • Much appreciated!


                  June 6, 2021 at 9:33 PM

  18. I began my blog ten years ago too, back in February. I’m not sure when we became acquainted, but it was Lynda from “Life on the Farmlet” in Alabama who told me I would love your blog. She was right. I have learned so much about plants and photography here, Steve. You have even kindly corrected me when I stated an incorrect name for some plant species I posted on my own blog. Beginners always need help, so thanks for that!

    It’s clear you are talented and enjoy what you do. Your posts are a ray of sunshine!


    June 4, 2021 at 5:26 PM

    • Then happy 10 to you, too. Thanks for letting me know you’ve learned a lot here about plants and photography. I know who to turn to if it’s a question of deer.

      Just yesterday I was thinking about Lynda. She hasn’t posted for half a year, so I was wondering how she’s making out.

      Your last word coincides with the fact that I used to have a small company that I named SunShine, which conveniently contained my initials.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2021 at 7:00 PM

  19. Congrats on your milestone


    June 4, 2021 at 8:35 PM

  20. Happy 10th, Steve! I first learned of your blog from Gallivanta. It’s going on 8 years for me now.

    I am all caught up again. May was a rough month.

    Lavinia Ross

    June 4, 2021 at 10:32 PM

    • Thanks for your good wishes. I don’t think I knew that you came here via Gallivanta, so I’m glad you mentioned it. She has largely stopped blogging but has an active presence on Facebook. In reply to circadianreflections, above, I mentioned that the farthest-away blog friend I’d ever met in person was in New Zealand, and that’s who I had in mind.

      I’m sorry to hear May was a rough month for you. I hope the re-opening of the country now makes things less rough for you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2021 at 11:29 PM

      • Our little Hope cat was diagnosed with abdominal cancer not long after we lost Lucio. Given the location of the tumor and lymph node involvement, palliative care was chosen. She rallied and held her own for a while, but we had her euthanized on 5/21 when the cancer entered the ascites phase, and she was no longer comfortable.

        Lavinia Ross

        June 5, 2021 at 5:35 PM

        • I was afraid it might have been something like that, especially in light of what you described in your last post.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 5, 2021 at 7:48 PM

          • And now it is me. I’ve been asked to go in for an ultrasound – possibility of thyroid cancer.

            Lavinia Ross

            June 17, 2021 at 8:47 AM

            • Oh, let’s hope not. If it is, my understanding is that it can usually be treated.

              Steve Schwartzman

              June 17, 2021 at 10:52 AM

              • I need another problem like a hole in the head, but that is the reality of life.

                Lavinia Ross

                June 19, 2021 at 9:11 AM

                • My grandmother used to say “I need it like a hole in the head,” except she said the last part in Yiddish.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  June 19, 2021 at 9:16 AM

  21. Congratulations Steve .. ten years is an awesome achievement!

    Ms. Liz

    June 5, 2021 at 1:59 AM

  22. Very fascinating flower to look at, full of Christian symbols.


    June 5, 2021 at 3:09 AM

    • I’m glad you mentioned that. When Catholic priests who came here from Europe became acquainted with this kind of flower they gave it the name passion flower, in reference to the passion of Jesus, where “passion” meant ‘the sufferings of Christ on the Cross.’

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 5, 2021 at 6:16 AM

  23. One of Mother Nature’s more intricate designs … interesting specimen and nice shot.


    June 5, 2021 at 5:54 PM

    • As you pointed out, passionflowers have quite an intricate structure. Catholic priests read religion into it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 5, 2021 at 7:50 PM

  24. Love your work! Congratulations and thank you for sharing your passion with us ..


    June 9, 2021 at 1:29 PM

    • Thanks for your vote of confidence, Julie. I’m still going out taking lots of pictures. I wish New Zealand were as close as these wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 9, 2021 at 2:02 PM

  25. Congratulations, Steve, I hope nothing slows you down!


    June 13, 2021 at 8:53 PM

  26. This delicate passiflora might feel insecure if in the presence of one of those giant lavender-colored ones that we have here in Ecuador. The white one is delicate and fragile looking, but I’ll bet it’s hardy. The bud and leaf remind me of a nasturtium!

    Congratulations on 10 years of sharing stunning images as well as trivia and dry wit – always upbeat and improving the quality of our days.

    Emilie Vardaman just published a post about her time in Guatemala/Central America/Mexico in the 1980s. You probably have some interesting stories as well.

    • Texas has flashier passionflowers, too, but somehow this pale yellow one gets the job done. You’re fortunate in Ecuador that you get to draw and paint the giant ones you mentioned.

      Thanks for your appreciation of what I’ve been doing here for a whole decade now. In addition to photographs, facts about nature, etymology, and wit, you may have noticed in the past year that I’ve begun speaking out against the insanity that’s been overtaking our country and threatening to destroy it.

      As for my time in Central America, yes, I’m sure I could tell some interesting tales.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 14, 2021 at 1:24 PM

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