Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Back to the Gulf

with 9 comments


The first time we made it back to the Gulf of Mexico since the pandemic was at the beginning of June, when we spent a few days in Corpus Christi and Port Aransas. The second time was on September 19th, when we drove-and-stopped our way southwest from downtown Galveston to the far end of the island. The next bunch of posts will document that day in nature.

While Corpus Christi had offered up plenty of purple beach morning glory flowers, Ipomoea pes-caprae, the plants in Galveston put on a greater show of spreading their runners across the beach sand, as you see above. Another great spread that we saw in many places was sunflowers, which formed good-sized colonies right on the beach and in “vacant” lots in town. Local informant Linda suggests we saw beach sunflowers, Helianthus debilis. Look how dense they were:



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On Wednesday Florida suffered devastating damage from Hurricane Ian. It took only two days for our vice president to racialize the suffering by announcing that the federal government would prioritize aid to hurricane victims based on their race:

It is our lowest income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions and impacted by issues that are not of their own making. And so we have to address this in a way that is about giving resources based on equity, understanding that we fight for equality, but we also need to fight for equity, understanding not everyone starts out at the same place, and if we want people to be in an equal place sometimes we have to take into account those disparities and do that work.

For the uninitiated, let me explain that “communities of color” is a euphemism for “everybody except white people.” “Equity” is code for “discrimination according to race, sex, or other personal attributes.” The word sounds like “equality” but means the opposite. “Do the work” is racialist jargon that means confessing that white people are the “root cause” of the country’s troubles and therefore it’s okay to discriminate against them. If that sounds blunt, it’s because race essentialism is blunt.

It’s also illegal: prioritizing aid to hurricane victims based on their race would violate the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and many other laws. If the government follows through and starts to distribute aid based on race, courts will strike that down as illegal, just as they struck down racially based programs the current administration tried to put into effect during the pandemic. No matter how many times citizens and the courts tell government officials they can’t discriminate based on race, they keep trying to do it. That’s not only illegal, it’s immoral.

You’re welcome to read more about this in a September 30th Washington Examiner story by Maria Leaf.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman






Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 1, 2022 at 4:25 AM

9 Responses

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  1. I’ve yet to see any of those purple beauties this year — the goat’s foot morning glory. Perhaps they’ve emerged later in the season, or they bloom later in the day. What I have seen in numbers that seem greater than ever before is another purple morning glory: Ipomoea sagittata.

    I just realized that your pairing of the sunflowers and morning glories provides yet another purple-and-yellow fall combination.


    October 1, 2022 at 6:41 AM

    • Do you know how far from the shore the goat’s foot morning glories range? Latin sagitta meant ‘arrow,’ and I see from your linked photograph that that’s a reference to the shape of the plant’s leaves. I hadn’t noticed the purple and yellow fall combination that came from pairing these two pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 1, 2022 at 6:53 AM

      • I’ve never seen the goat’s foot except around the dunes. At the Brazoria refuge, I’ve only found the saltmarsh morning glories: I. sagittata. Those can be thick in the ditches on Galveston Island, like down by the Artist Boat. The soil there is sandy, but it seems the beach morning glories require actual sand.


        October 1, 2022 at 6:59 AM

        • In other words, beach morning glories really do need a beach. Thankfully we have a long coastline.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 1, 2022 at 7:41 AM

  2. Those morning glory runners almost outdo the pretty pink flowers. Beach sunflowers… I’ve never heard of but so happy to see them flourishing. It makes me hope we can someday visit the coast again. We now have a good many family members living near the Houston area.

    May we stand strong as the colonies of beach sunflowers you posted above, in opposition of the violations, illegal actions and immoral activities of our government.


    October 1, 2022 at 6:59 AM

    • Yes, in the top picture I was playing up the runners, and the flowers, nice as they are, were incidental. Sounds like a trip to the coast is overdue for you; it would be a great change of pace and change of vegetation. The fact that you have a good many relatives in the Houston area would make a trip all the easier.

      I appreciate your solidarity on the human matters.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 1, 2022 at 7:45 AM

  3. Hard to believe that sunflowers and other flowers do so well on a sandy beach! But your photos provide evidence for its truth.

    Peter Klopp

    October 1, 2022 at 9:10 AM

    • Those sunflowers were just flowering away, happy to be under the sun. That species grows inland as well. In contrast, the beach morning glories have evolved to live on beaches and do not grow inland.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 1, 2022 at 9:16 AM

  4. […] behind the even broader mound of gulf croton are beach sunflowers, Helianthus debilis, which the post two days ago showed you a big colony […]

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