Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for March 18th, 2023


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I didn’t know if the people in Bebe pronounce the name of their town Beeb or Beebee. This morning I checked a Handbook of Texas article which says the name “supposedly derived from the B. B. Baking Powder signs that lined the road into the place,” so I presume the name is pronounced Beebee. In any case, there can be (or be be) no doubt that the front and back yards of the Oak Vally Baptist Church there on March 13 and 15 (yes, we returned) were covered with great wildflowers. The red ones are Phlox drummondii and the yellow ones are buttercups (Ranunculus sp.) The little white flowers are a species of Aphanostephus, probably A. skirrhobasis, known as lazy daisy.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 18, 2023 at 4:29 PM


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First came a tree branch. Then lichens partly surrounded the branch. Then on top of the lichens came a ball moss, Tillandsia recurvata. (If your imagination turns the ball moss into a supernumerary spider, that’s on you.) I played botanical archaeologist with the layers on March 4th on the grounds of Central City Austin, which despite its name is a church far from the center of Austin.

I seem able to get away with epiepiphyte [from Greek epi, meaning ‘upon, over, around’] in my title because there’s ambiguity in the term epiphyte. All the dictionaries I’ve checked give a definition like ‘a plant that grows on another plant but is not parasitic on it.’ The key word in such definitions is plant. Outside dictionaries, some sources use epiphyte more broadly by replacing plant with organism. For instance, the Wikipedia article on epiphytes says “Epiphytes in marine systems are species of algae, bacteria, fungi, sponges, bryozoans, ascidians, protozoa, crustaceans, molluscs and any other sessile organism that grows on the surface of a plant, typically seagrasses or algae.” While Wikipedia isn’t always to be trusted, I’m finding the more expansive sense of epiphyte in indisputably scientific sources as well. For example, the book Forest Conditions in a Changing Environment speaks of “epiphytic lichens, which grow on the branches and trunks of trees.” And so it seems I can get away with calling the ball moss in this picture an epiepiphyte.



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I recently came across Alan Levinovitz’s article “The info equivalent of junk food,” with subtitle “Ultra-processed information is hijacking our appetites much like ultra-processed snacks do.” Check it out.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 18, 2023 at 4:36 AM

Posted in nature photography

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