Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Red and brown offsetting the green

with 12 comments


The tree that botanists classify as Parkinsonia aculeata is commonly known even in English as paloverde, a Spanish term that we might translate as ‘green wood.’ While parts of the tree’s branches and trunk often turn conspicuously green, its thorns take on warm colors like red and brown, as you see above. Also sporting some colors in that range was the planthopper shown below on one of the paloverde tree’s leaves. The date was June 24th; the location was Fireoak Dr., a couple of miles from home.




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From 2017 through 2019 the folks at Gapminder posed various questions to people. Two days ago I listed four of them for you to try your hand (or brain) at. The correct answer to each is in bold italics.

1)  In 1980, roughly 40% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty, with less than $2 per day.
What is the share today?       A) 10%       B) 30%       C) 50%

2)  During the past 40 years the amount of oil and natural gas remaining in known reserves has:
A) been reduced to less than half       B) remained more or less the same       C) more than doubled

3)  How much of the world’s total land surface has some physical infrastructure built on it, like houses or roads (excluding farm land)?        A) less than 5%       B) around 15%       C) more than 25%

4)  How many of the world’s one-year-old children were vaccinated against some disease in 2019?        
A) less than 20%       B) around 50%       C) more than 80% 

 For all four questions, Gapminder found that the right answer got the smallest share of votes.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 5, 2022 at 4:25 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , ,

12 Responses

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  1. Lovely little hopper and that thorn is sporting the general color of danger in Nature.

    Steve Gingold

    July 5, 2022 at 4:58 AM

    • I’d appreciate the warning from some other things, too, particularly greenbrier, whose spines inconspicuously tear people’s clothing and skin.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 5, 2022 at 6:30 AM

  2. Palo Verde’s one of the plants that’s continued to thrive in our local construction sites, along with prickly pear, sunflowers, and rattlebush. I’ve never noticed the colorful thorns; I’ll have to find a more convenient specimen and take a look. The plant hopper surprised me. I usually think of them as plain white or green; the fancy designs on this one brought a smile.


    July 5, 2022 at 6:18 AM

    • I’d smile more if I could remember how tell a planthopper from a leafhopper. I’m still not sure I picked the right name here.

      My morning mind wanted to read your rattlebush as rattlesnake. I wonder how often the two occur together.

      It’s not clear to me whether paloverde thorns start out green and then turn red or if some of them are red from the start. Like you, I’ll try to take a look at some to find out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 5, 2022 at 6:39 AM

  3. I hear the message of the sharp thorns: Don’t touch me.

    Peter Klopp

    July 5, 2022 at 9:21 AM

  4. There is a reason for the “wicked” look of thorns! That planthopper is cute! I love the low profile!


    July 5, 2022 at 1:48 PM

    • I get the impression that if we scaled up the planthopper it could pass for a streamlined car from the 1940s.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 5, 2022 at 2:52 PM

  5. I think your plant hopper is a sharpshooter leafhopper in the genus Cuerna.

    Alessandra Chaves

    July 6, 2022 at 8:15 PM

    • I appreciate an entomologist’s take on this because I don’t know how to tell a planthopper from a leafhopper. Being a photographer, I’ve often managed to serve as a sharpshooter.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 6, 2022 at 9:55 PM

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