Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Crab spider on prairie paintbrush

with 36 comments

One of the flowers I expected to see at the Doeskin Ranch on April 27th was prairie paintbrush, Castilleja purpurea var. lindheimeri, based on what I found there last year (though a month earlier in the season, when things were on a normal schedule rather than the delayed one we had this spring). As I got close to one prairie paintbrush I noticed a little crab spider on it, as you see here. The plant bumping up against the paintbrush was white milkwort, Polygala alba, which was out in force at the Doeskin Ranch. Below is a somewhat dreamy view of white milkwort near a few sensitive briar flower globes, Mimosa roemeriana.


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“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”

— President Harry S. Truman
Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States. August 8, 1950.

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman







Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 8, 2022 at 4:31 AM

36 Responses

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  1. Nice spider and I specialy like the second shot of the white milkwort.


    May 8, 2022 at 6:15 AM

  2. Last Sunday I found what I think was an identical crab spider on a pink prairie gentian. Its behavior was interesting, but it wasn’t quite as pleasing aesthetically as yours. I like the way the white spider and the white flower emphasize the orange of the paintbrush.

    Now I’m wondering if the large patches of low-growing white I saw in ditches yesterday might have been milkwort. My guess at the time was white-topped sedge, but I suspected that wasn’t right. By the time I noticed them I was remembering my promise to arrive before dinner time, so I kept going. I’ll check them out tomorrow on my way home.


    May 8, 2022 at 6:24 AM

    • ps: Truman was right. I grew up listening to Truman vs. Roosevelt discussions at the dinner table, but there’s no question in my mind that even those on the Roosevelt side of that particular fence would have agreed with Truman on that point.


      May 8, 2022 at 6:26 AM

      • Yes, Truman was right. His party has changed enormously. The only thing I remember my father saying about Truman, and more than once, was that all three of his children were born while Truman was president.

        Steve Schwartzman

        May 8, 2022 at 7:14 AM

    • Upside-down spiders of this type always look to me like they have a face on their abdomen. I wonder if that makes predators think the spiders are bigger than they really are.

      For your sake, I hope the white turns out to be milkwort so you can experience a new species. I did see some of them in ditches along the road, though many more not in ditches at the Doeskin Ranch.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 8, 2022 at 7:11 AM

      • I did see some milkwort on the Willow City loop a couple of years ago, so I’m hoping to find it there. Since I found the sensitive briar at Cost, it may be around, too. There’s a species of the briar on that loop that climbs, and is rather more like a vine; I need to refresh my memory on that when I get home.


        May 8, 2022 at 7:20 AM

  3. Beautiful picture. And yes, I like spiders.


    May 8, 2022 at 8:16 AM

    • Thanks. It’s more obvious in German Spinne than in the English cognate spider that a spider is a spinner. Me, I spin pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 8, 2022 at 8:28 AM

  4. Carbbie is just hanging there somewhat camouflaged waiting for a tasty fly to drop by. You did a nice job lining up the White Milkwort with the gap in the background Sensitive Briar flowers.
    Truman was a no-nonsense guy and, in my view, an excellent president. I’d say that both parties have changed enormously.

    Steve Gingold

    May 8, 2022 at 11:14 AM

    • Btw, I might have missed it, but I don’t think you informed us that last week was National Wildflower Week. I’ll have to remember that for next year.

      Steve Gingold

      May 8, 2022 at 11:18 AM

    • Thanks for appreciating the alignment of the white milkwort and the sensitive briar globes. I tried various compositions and ended up liking this one the best.

      “No nonsense” is a good way to describe Truman. He left office with very low approval ratings, probably due to the Korean War more than anything else. His reputation improved a lot in later decades.

      The founders of our country were worried about the rise of factions, which was their word for political parties. I’ve toyed with the idea of a Constitutional amendment that would outlaw political parties and would require each candidate to run as an individual. In a post last year I also put forth a proposed amendment which would let a candidate accept money only from people entitled to vote for that candidate. For example, it’s crazy that most of the money donated to the candidates for the 2020 Senate seats in Georgia came from outside Georgia.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 8, 2022 at 11:26 AM

      • I can’t argue with that idea for an amendment but good luck even having it discussed much less enacted. Every single candidate for any office above dog catcher (an exaggeration I know) would never suggest keeping all money as local as they say politics are. As much as I may wish certain individuals to win their races, I don’t send money to Georgia or any other state. Well, maybe Texas…just kidding. The amount of money spent on political ads is mindblowing and the attack tactics of those ads disgusting in almost all cases.

        Truman was indeed a man of the people and probably shocked many by his performance after FDR died. Obviously not all were shocked in a positive manner but he made a lot of moves that improved not only life in the U.S. but also helped rebuild Europe. From what I’ve read he wasn’t chosen because he was thought to be executive material.

        Steve Gingold

        May 8, 2022 at 12:37 PM

        • I usually refer to my proposed Constitutional amendments as fantasy amendments, for the reason you mentioned: the existing powers would never hear of anything that would give the people more power and themselves less. And yet I think most citizens would be for those changes.

          I believe I’ve heard what you said about Truman, that he was picked as an inconsequential party pawn. I guess the leaders of the party figured they could control him after Roosevelt died, which most of them probably realized he would during his fourth four-year term, given how sick Roosevelt had become by the end of his third term.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 8, 2022 at 12:47 PM

          • He was the product of a local party boss and was appointed to a judgeship that led to becoming a U.S. Senator. The idea was that he was not only controllable but beholden to the party bosses.He was probably the most humble of our presidents and lived a simple life once out of office. Although not considered one of our better presidents, I think Jimmy Carter was cut from the same humble material.

            Steve Gingold

            May 8, 2022 at 2:32 PM

            • Yes, after Truman’s presidency he went back to Missouri and lived in his simple house. According to Wikipedia, “Before 1958, the U.S. federal government provided no pension or other retirement benefits to former United States presidents.”

              Steve Schwartzman

              May 8, 2022 at 5:13 PM

  5. Some spider!


    May 8, 2022 at 7:17 PM

  6. I love the white spider on the red background. The latter really highlights the details of the former.


    May 9, 2022 at 8:59 PM

    • You’ve probably heard me say, with only some exaggeration, that the three most important things in a portrait are the background, the background, and the background.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 9, 2022 at 9:50 PM

  7. Very delicate photos, of delicate creatures.

    Alessandra Chaves

    May 10, 2022 at 9:18 AM

  8. That crab spider is a beauty .. wonderful images love the white and the smudges of purple, nice combination


    May 15, 2022 at 10:18 PM

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