Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Paloverde portrayed at different scales

with 17 comments

Here are two treatments of paloverde trees (Parkinsonia aculeata) that differ in scale and aesthetics. In Austin it’s common to see a paloverde (Spanish for ‘green tree’) springing up on untended ground, like the sapling above that looked so wispy in the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183 on August 22nd. A view at that distance doesn’t reveal the many thorns that grow on these trees; the second picture, from September 14th at the Riata Trace Pond, rectifies that.

The long thorn could symbolize the fact that yesterday we got our booster shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine six months to the day after we’d gotten our second shots. I’m happy to say that although our muscles around the injection sites are achy, our arms didn’t turn either of the prominent colors in this closeup.

What I continue to be not at all happy about is the current American administration’s claim to be “following the science” while refusing to follow the science. Back on August 28th I linked to an article in Science that reported the results of a large Israeli study of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. As the article noted: “The newly released data show people who once had a SARS-CoV-2 infection were much less likely than never-infected, vaccinated people to get Delta, develop symptoms from it, or become hospitalized with serious COVID-19.”

And yet this administration stubbornly denies that proven reality. This régime refuses to accept that people who have acquired protection from COVID-19 by having caught and recovered from the disease should not be subject to vaccine mandates. The people in charge of the government are science deniers.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 28, 2021 at 4:33 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , , ,

17 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. The first show looks so nice and feathery, and the 2nd, not so much, those are pretty wicked-looking thorns.

    Robert Parker

    September 28, 2021 at 5:33 AM

    • Even when the thorns are still a lot smaller and less colorful than the one in the second picture, they give me pause when interacting with paloverde trees.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 28, 2021 at 8:04 AM

  2. Paloverde is one of those plants that’s still growing in the construction zone on 146. That ground’s as disturbed as any plant could wish. I’d really love to be able to walk that stretch of highway to do an inventory, but it just isn’t possible. So far, I’ve noticed the paloverde, common and swamp sunflowers, bindweed, trumpet vine, ruellia, Mexican primrose-willow, and — one rain lily!

    It’s interesting that I first met this plant through friends; they called it Parkinsonia. They weren’t aware that they were using the scientific name, and, at the time, neither was I.


    September 28, 2021 at 7:25 AM

    • As soon as I got to your words about a paloverde growing in a construction zone I thought about common sunflowers often doing the same. A few sentences later you confirmed it.

      I’ve not come across anyone using Parkinsonia as a de facto common name. A couple that I have heard used that way are Agalinis and Liatris; I’ve heard them because those are two that I say.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 28, 2021 at 8:10 AM

    • Wow! My mother grew this small tree known as Parkinsonia, when I was a child, and yes it had monumental thorns. I’d forgotten about it till now☺


      September 29, 2021 at 7:48 AM

      • Then I’m glad for your happy memory from childhood. Now you know (if you didn’t then) where these trees come from. I just went back to the text’s first sentence and added a link to more information about the species.

        Steve Schwartzman

        September 29, 2021 at 8:04 AM

        • Thanks Steve, and yes the description fits. I remember those seed pods now. It would be a terrible plant to go feral in Australia, but fingers crossed that hasn’t happened. In the 1960s people didn’t consider the consequences of importing foreign flora, but it’s clear to see the damage now, particularly with South African plants rife in many areas I visit.


          September 29, 2021 at 8:24 AM

          • Amen. And speaking of South Africa, that’s the origin of the ice plants that have taken over large swathes of the California coat. Let’s hope paloverdes don’t become another menace in Australia.

            Steve Schwartzman

            September 29, 2021 at 8:28 AM

  3. The photo of the thorn looks so sharp! Very pretty from close. I think they’ve made two mistakes with Pfizer. Administer the doses too close to each other, then not have a dose strong enough. But I’m grateful that there is any vaccine at all and hopefully in the future they will have learned. The problem with accepting infection as vaccine is that it’s hard to prove. I wish this was the only instance when the government doesn’t follow science.

    Alessandra Chaves

    September 28, 2021 at 8:19 AM

    • I ensured (visual) sharpness in the thorn by using flash so I could stop down to f/22 for good depth of field.

      In health authorities’ understandable rush to get as many people immunized as possible once vaccines began becoming available at the beginning of this year, it does seem the spacing of the two doses may have been too close together. Some have speculated that that’s why the Moderna, with one extra week of spacing, has held up better. And yet the Pfizer vaccine’s two doses are still spaced three weeks apart.

      It seems that to get infection recognized as proof of a person’s immunity, all that would be needed is documentation of a positive COVID test. That could be faked, but vaccine cards have been getting faked too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 28, 2021 at 8:31 AM

      • Yes, you are correct. However, asymptomatic covid and light infection may not confer as good immunity as more severe covid… if I’d had covid, I would take a one dose some six months after.

        Alessandra Chaves

        September 28, 2021 at 8:35 AM

        • That’s what the large Israeli study showed: the best resistance of all came in the group that had had the virus and later received a single Pfizer shot.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 28, 2021 at 9:56 AM

  4. That close-up of the long thorn is fantastic, Steve!


    September 28, 2021 at 9:36 AM

    • Thanks. This is a tree that knows how to tell animals (including people) to keep their distance.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 28, 2021 at 9:57 AM

  5. Today I finally remembered the nickname our family had for this tree – we called it THE WITCH TREE! 😁


    September 30, 2021 at 6:03 AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: