Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Velvet gaura

with 12 comments

Velvet gaura (Oenothera curtiflora) has a long, slender, and sinuous or otherwise curvy inflorescence.
I portrayed this one on the Blackland Prairie in far south Pflugerville on May 23rd.



✳︎         ✳︎         ✳︎



 It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.


On Memorial Day weekend, Johnny Belisario went to the beach at New York’s Coney Island and questioned young adults to see what they know about the wars in American history. Here are some of the questions and some of the wrong answers people gave. (The wrong answers greatly outnumbered the right ones.)


Who did America fight in the Revolutionary War? — Russia, Ukraine. — America. — Japan, China.

Who won the Cold War? — Antarctica.

Why do they call it the Cold War? — During the winter? They were fighting in cold conditions. — There was a disease going around.

Who bombed Pearl Harbor? — We did, the United States. — Russia. — China.

Who won the Civil War? — George Washington.

World War 2: who fought there? — Dominican Republic. Puerto Rico.


To which I, a former New Yorker, can only say: oy vey!


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman







Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 12, 2022 at 4:30 AM

12 Responses

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  1. I well remember the first time I came across this flower, at the Brazoria refuge. It took some time for me to sort out what I was seeing. Now, in season, you can see it waving across the bluestem prairie, often mixed in with Texas prairie parsley. It’s such a graceful plant.


    June 12, 2022 at 7:40 AM

    • I’ve read that many people think of velvet gaura as “weedy.” Not me. I’ve always found it graceful, as you mentioned, even if getting all its parts in focus simultaneously presents a challenge. You’re fortunate it’s widespread on the bluestem prairie.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 12, 2022 at 8:31 AM

  2. Focussing on thinking skills and not learning the facts is the recipe for a national disaster. My question to the educators who promote thinking skills is this. How can you think without the facts?

    Peter Klopp

    June 12, 2022 at 9:43 AM

    • You said it! And yet the educational establishment stubbornly refuses to believe it, and children keep coming out of school ignorant.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 12, 2022 at 3:23 PM

  3. A relative of the Evening Primroses we have in the yard and also in the wild up here.

    Steve Gingold

    June 12, 2022 at 10:58 AM

    • We have many Oenothera species here—even more since several other genera got reclassified as Oeonthera.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 12, 2022 at 3:31 PM

  4. I did like the Antarctica answer. It would be so cool (😉) if it were true.

    • Well phrased!
      Speaking of cool things, the current issue of Archaeology has an article about the Galloway Hoard in Scotland. It’s “the richest, most diverse, and most curious collection of Viking Age artifacts ever unearthed in Great Britain or Ireland.” Have you heard of it?

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 12, 2022 at 5:15 PM

      • I was quite pleased with that turn of phrase!

        Yes, I have heard of the Galloway Hoard but I haven’t seen it. It was quite famous when it was uncovered a few years ago with some controversy over who got the reward for finding it. I’m glad you mentioned it though, because I looked it up to check my memory of the controversy and discovered that it was not, as I assumed, sitting in the National Museum in Edinburgh waiting for me to visit at any time I choose, but on tour. Currently in Kirkcudbright, near where it was found – which could make a nice little day trip. (You might also be interested to know that Kirkcudbright is pronounced Cur-coo-bree).

        • Understandably, I’d never have guessed the pronunciation of Kirkcudbright from its spelling. Sounds like that nice little day trip is in the offing for you.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 13, 2022 at 6:12 AM

  5. It is funny and also sad how little people know about our history and government. Jimmy Kimmel often takes it to the streets of LA to ask similar questions and the answers are similarly funny but sad.


    June 15, 2022 at 10:00 AM

    • What I find worrisome is that our schools are teaching even less history and civics than ever before. They’re giving high school diplomas to kids who know practically nothing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 15, 2022 at 1:47 PM

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