Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Another water-loving plant

with 14 comments

In addition to pickerelweed, another water-loving plant I found at the edge of the pond along Gault Lane on July 7th was Ludwigia octovalvis, known as narrow-leaf water primrose, Mexican primrose willow, and seedbox. Its yellow flowers always bring cheer, and its drying seed capsules make colorful miniature sculptures; the one above even suggests a windmill.


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I was familiar with the school choice movement but hadn’t ever heard it called backpack funding till two days ago. As things are structured in the United States, property owners pay taxes based on the value of their property, and a portion (usually the largest portion) of those taxes is given to local public schools. That’s the case even for taxpayers who don’t have children because education is considered a public good.

Two main objections to that system have arisen in the past few decades. The first objection is that many public schools receive plenty of tax money but fail to educate their children. You can go online (as I reported last year) to see how abysmal many of the scores on standardized tests have been, even as funding has kept going up. The second and more recent objection is that increasingly many public schools have been turning into “social justice” factories to indoctrinate students in “woke” beliefs.

While people in the school choice movement agree that education is a public good, they also believe that tax money should not automatically go to our existing public schools but instead should follow each student to a school the student’s parents choose. The idea is that if a certain public school is failing to educate its students, parents can send their children to a public school that does a better job with education. If no public school in a given area is doing a good job, discontented parents can choose a private school that does a good job. If no good private school exists in the area, parents can pool their children’s allocated tax money and fund a new school that will follow principles designed to provide a good education.

Objections to the school choice movement come from where you’d expect them to come from: vested interests like educational bureaucrats and teachers’ unions, who don’t want to give up their monopoly and the sinecures that come with it. Objections also come from ideologues who don’t want to lose their power to indoctrinate students.

Me, born on the Fourth of July, I’m all for freedom here: my school, my choice.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 15, 2022 at 4:29 AM

14 Responses

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  1. That last image is so cheerful! The top one reminds me of a wind turbine.
    I’m in your camp with school choice.


    August 15, 2022 at 8:28 AM

  2. The seed pod of this primrose reminds me of the windmills we used to build when we were children. We took a square of paper, cut, folded, and pinned it to a stick. We would run to get the windmill twirling when the wind did not blow.

    Peter Klopp

    August 15, 2022 at 9:21 AM

    • I’ll bet you thought back fondly on those escapades from your childhood. Windmills have turned many times since then.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 15, 2022 at 9:49 AM

  3. The windmill-version of the flower looks really amazing!

    (Sorry to comment via Twitter… WP won’t let me in today.)

    rabirius (@rbirius)

    August 15, 2022 at 12:07 PM

    • I was really pleased with the way the “windmill” picture turned out.
      I’m not pleased that WordPress is giving you a hard time today. Sorry.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 15, 2022 at 1:07 PM

  4. A sheet of construction paper, a length of dowel rod, and a thumbtack, and you, too, can have your very own pinwheel. Rich kids had ones made of plastic, but when theirs broke, their parents usually said, “I told you to be careful” and moved on. When ours came apart, we just made another.

    As for the plant itself, I’d only seen this species until recently, when I discovered an odd look-alike that I assumed was a variant of this one. Instead, it is a different species: Ludwigia peploides.


    August 16, 2022 at 7:14 AM

    • I seem to remember having a store-bought plastic pinwheel. I know I never constructed one in the way you described. I’ll bet you could still put one together.

      I remember finding L. peploides years ago. What’s “worse” is that Bill Carr lists five other Ludwigia species in Travis County that I don’t know how to distinguish from one another. Chances are I’ve seen at least a few of them without knowing it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2022 at 8:38 AM

      • No construction paper or dowel rod? A sheet of sandpaper, a stick, and a finishing nail will work, too. Apparently making a pinwheel’s like riding a bicycle; once learned, the technique’s not forgotten.


        August 20, 2022 at 8:55 AM

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