Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Halberdleaf rosemallow flower up close

with 23 comments

From October 18th at the Arbor Walk Pond, here’s a close abstraction that plays up the curves in a halberdleaf rosemallow flower, Hibiscus laevis. If you’ve forgotten or never knew what one of these flowers “normally” looks like, you can skip back to a post from September.

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You may never have heard of Trofim Lysenko, whose ideology-over-science approach to agriculture led to the deaths of millions of people in the Soviet Union and China. The group Minding the Campus has now begun giving the Trofim Lysenko Award for the Suppression of Academic Speech to similarly benighted ideologues in academia. The first awardee is Williams College Professor Phoebe Cohen, who said: “This idea of intellectual debate and rigor as the pinnacle of intellectualism comes from a world in which white men dominated.”

That raises the interesting question of whether Prof. Cohen will live up to her professed belief and stop culturally appropriating anything that was rigorously developed entirely or mostly by white men. If so, she should give up using insignificant little things like radios, televisions, telephones, airplanes, automobiles, washing machines, air conditioning, and light bulbs. Fat chance she’ll do that.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 4, 2021 at 4:33 AM

23 Responses

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  1. What a nice surprise to still have rosemallow around. It’s such a stunning flower. Mine is but a memory until next spring.

    Fat chance indeed. I think many people make ignorant comments these days.


    November 4, 2021 at 6:55 AM

    • A stunning flower indeed. Fortunately I’m aware of three properties just a few miles from home where halberdleaf rosemallow grows. We’re finally beginning to get cooler weather here (it’s 49° now), so I don’t know how much longer these large and attractive flowers will last.

      It’s a sorry state of affairs for the country that so many people in academia scorn the very things that academia was created to foster, most notably free inquiry and rigorous thought.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 4, 2021 at 7:25 AM

  2. I love all the mallows, and I especially enjoy the art deco-like patterns they often display; this is a lovely example.

    I’ve found this flower in both pink and white, and I noticed that this one has some hints of the pink that sometimes predominates. I was surprised to find it mentioned on one TPWD page with the name ‘soldier rose mallow’ (under the section ‘Similar Species’). I didn’t recall coming across that name before, and found the explanation: “Sources indicate that this plant is also known by H. militaris, an apt name since the leaf shape resembles a halberd, a type of spearlike weapon utilized in early warfare.”

    I’ll confess I’ve been assuming ‘Halberd’ was a person rather than a thing.


    November 4, 2021 at 7:41 AM

  3. Hibiscus is such a joy to photograph.

    Alessandra Chaves

    November 4, 2021 at 7:56 AM

    • As much as I (and many others) focus on the distinctive stamen column in flowers from this botanical family, the view from behind has plenty to offer as well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 4, 2021 at 8:30 AM

      • Indeed it does – the view from behind can be interesting in a lot of flowers – here it looks like the pleats of an upside-down skirt.

        Ann Mackay

        November 7, 2021 at 7:00 AM

  4. : “This idea of intellectual debate and rigor as the pinnacle of intellectualism comes from a world in which white men dominated.” Why does it matter, the sex and race of the originators of good ideas?

    Alessandra Chaves

    November 4, 2021 at 7:59 AM

  5. The inside of the rosemallow flower looks like part of a vase to me. Great perspective!

    Peter Klopp

    November 4, 2021 at 8:30 AM

  6. They found a halberd (the steel kind) at the bottom of a well at Jamestowne, Virginia. It almost certainly had belonged to one of the governor’s guards from 1610. Mostly ceremonial in a time of muskets and wheel lock pistols, but still a pretty imposing weapon and deadly in the hands of a trained soldier.

    Robert Parker

    November 4, 2021 at 5:28 PM

  7. Great intimate look at the lesser noticed beauty of an hibiscus.

    Steve Gingold

    November 4, 2021 at 6:42 PM

  8. Great detail!


    November 5, 2021 at 1:56 AM

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