Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

From the prairie to the “mountains”

with 10 comments

On September 12th in the town of Cedar Park I checked out a property where I used to take pictures. Part of the property has gotten built on, and the part that temporarily remains undeveloped is no longer as lush with native plants as it used to be. Even so, I still stopped to photograph the one remaining cluster of snow-on-the-mountain, Euphorbia marginata. A look downward rather than upward reveals that some of the snow-on-the-mountain towered over a rich colony of silverleaf nightshade, Solanum elaeagnifolium, as well as a small stand of peppergrass, Lepidium sp.

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 20, 2022 at 4:27 AM

10 Responses

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  1. When I read your title in the email, I suspected you’d joined snow-on-the-prairie and snow-on-the-mountain. The richly colored colony of silverleaf nightshade pairs equally well. The top photo brought to mind the pattern in square dancing that involves two people forming an arch that other dancers pass under. Flowers in the Nutcracker may waltz, but these are prairie flowers — they dance differently!


    September 20, 2022 at 6:01 AM

    • You were onto my prairie-to-mountain trick. After seeing and photographing snow-on-the-prairie for weeks, on September 12th I finally came across some snow-on-the-mountain during a jaunt to and from Tejas Camp in Williamson County, of which more anon (anon in this case meaning tomorrow’s post). I’m sure my imagination could never have linked the top image to square dancers. On the other hand, my mind has no trouble segueing from a different square dance movement, do si do, to the French that the term came from, dos à dos, meaning ‘back to back.’

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2022 at 7:51 AM

      • And if you did a different kind of reversal and titled this ‘from the mountains to the prairies,’ it might have recalled the next phrase of the famous song: ‘to the oceans white with foam.’ I suspect we might see something of that third element one of these days.


        September 20, 2022 at 7:58 AM

        • The Irving Berlin song did go through my head when I chose the title for this post. The one bit of foam that might eventually turn up here would be behind a shore bird I took some pictures of yesterday. The coastal way around from Houston to Austin took 300 miles and lasted till 7 in the evening.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 20, 2022 at 8:04 AM

  2. It’s sad to see more and more natural habitats become victims of urban development.

    Peter Klopp

    September 20, 2022 at 8:36 AM

    • Over the past decade I’ve unfortunately lost dozens of properties in and near Austin where I used to take nature pictures. There’s been no slowing of the pace.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2022 at 4:05 PM

      • Such a pity to see that happen. These natural habitats are so valuable for both plants and wildlife – the natural world will be very much poorer as a result of their loss.

        Ann Mackay

        September 21, 2022 at 5:45 PM

  3. We have a fair amount of development here but most of it is single lots that have been held for development for years. It’s not very often locally we have a large tract of land plowed and built upon and for that I am thankful. There are large projects in other towns though.
    That second shot would make a cruel jigsaw puzzle.

    Steve Gingold

    September 22, 2022 at 6:40 PM

    • As you gathered, over here housing development has almost entirely been via subdivisions. Even during the height of the pandemic we would drive around outlying areas and see new subdivisions springing up.

      Over the years people have occasionally suggested certain pictures as jigsaw puzzle candidates. I ought to follow through on a few.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 22, 2022 at 10:01 PM

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