Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

More from the beach

with 10 comments

On September 19th we spent hours on Galveston Island. One of the plants that drew my attention formed distinctive mounds wider than they are high. I recognized it as a species of Croton; it turned out to be Croton punctatus, appropriately called gulf croton and beach tea. One website says that “it forms compact, seemingly manicured mounds in dunes that are accumulating sand and tends to disappear from eroding landscapes.” In the top picture, the grass behind the croton is sea oats, Uniola paniculata, which you last saw here from the Florida panhandle in 2019. In the second picture, the wildflowers behind the even broader mound of gulf croton are beach sunflowers, Helianthus debilis, which the post two days ago showed you a big colony of.




Alan Dershowitz’s new book, The Price of Principle: Why Integrity Is Worth the Consequences, praises American philosopher John Rawls.

He contemplated a nether world in which none of us knows whether we will be rich or poor, male or female, Black or white, Republican or Democrat, healthy or sick, intelligent or average, young or old. Blinded by this “veil of ignorance” we must articulate principles that would be maximally fair to all of us without any of us knowing into which categories we would fit in the real world. So even if one wanted to act out of self or group interest, he could not, because he would not know what he would be or what group he would belong to when the time came to apply the principles.

The laudable moral stance of treating everyone fairly, in the same way, is quickly falling out of fashion among a segment of our population. That unfortunately increasing faction insists on favoring people in certain groups and disfavoring—discriminating against—people in certain other groups, even though that discrimination violates the “equal protection” clause of the 14th Amendment as well as the 1964 Civil Rights Act and all U.S. state constitutions.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 3, 2022 at 4:27 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , ,

10 Responses

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  1. oh, that’s pretty –


    October 3, 2022 at 4:57 AM

  2. Excellent.


    October 3, 2022 at 7:33 AM

  3. Seeing these posts, I realized that I’ve not yet made it to the Gulf side of the state park. It was closed for renovation for such a long time I stopped even thinking about it. Clearly, it’s time for another visit.

    The name ‘beach tea’ led me to wonder if anyone has tried making a tea from the plants. When I looked on Mark “Merriwether” Vorderbruggen’s foraging website, the plant wasn’t mentioned by either scientific or common name. Apparently beach ‘tea’ doesn’t belong at a tea party any more than sea ‘biscuits.’


    October 3, 2022 at 7:42 AM

    • “Sea biscuits” might more properly be called “Jawbreakers,” but that name’s already attached to a hard candy I remember from vending machines when I was a child.

      I seem to remember you mentioned something about Galveston Island State Park. I’m glad we went there and checked out the bay side as well as the gulf side; good things awaited us on both sides.

      People have traditionally made tea from doveweed, Croton monanthogynus, so it’s plausible people have done the same with this beach croton.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 3, 2022 at 8:14 AM

      • By the way: I noticed yesterday that the goldenrod is ready/beginning to burst into bloom, and when I was leaving Brazos Bend there were yellow fields filled with a different flower. Some seemed to be sunflowers, and they were very tall. It may be that the Maximilian season is going to arrive soon.


        October 3, 2022 at 8:17 AM

        • If those sunflowers were very tall, it’s indeed likely they were Maximilians. For your sake, let’s hope they are. I photographed a few here yesterday, as well as the best field of goldenrod I’ve found so far this year.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 3, 2022 at 8:23 AM

  4. I like the combination of tall grasses, blue sky, and clouds.

    Peter Klopp

    October 3, 2022 at 9:17 AM

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