Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Two more wildflower extravaganzas

with 13 comments


From March 13th adjacent to the McKeller Cemetery along US 183 in Gonzales comes this floral panorama of sandyland bluebonnets (Lupinus subcarnosus), bladderpod (Lesquerella sp.), lazy daisies (Aphanostephus skirrhobasis), and phlox (Phlox drummondii). A few miles north of there I’d indulged in the classic combo of bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) and Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa). Click to enlarge each picture.




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I’ve been reading Superabundance, a 2022 book by Marian L. Tupy and Gale Pooley. They make the point that, despite predictions of doom and gloom, the world has been improving:

Let’s start with income, for richer societies can afford more food, better healthcare, higher levels of education, and so on. Between 1950 and 2019, the average income per person in the United States rose from $15,001 to $63,233, or 322 percent. In the United Kingdom, it rose from $12,008 to $44,960, or 274 percent. Between 1952 and 2019, the population-weighted average global income per person rose from $4,063 to $18,841, or 364 percent (all figures are in 2018 U.S. dollars).

Increased prosperity was not confined to developed nations. Some of the world’s poorest countries benefited handsomely from income growth over the last few decades. The growth in Chinese incomes, from $238 in 1952 to $19,800 in 2019, amounts to a staggering 8,219 percent. India saw its average income rise from $930 to $8,148, or 776 percent. Even sub-Saharan Africa, the world’s poorest region, saw its income per person rise from $2,222 to $3,866, or 74 percent (all figures are again in 2018 U.S. dollars).

Except for a handful of war-torn African countries, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and failing socialist countries, such as Venezuela, real incomes rose throughout the world over the last half-century—often substantially.

Now, consider the population-weighted average global life expectancy, which rose from 52.6 years in 1960 to 72.4 years in 2017, or 37.6 percent. In the United States, it rose from 69.8 years to 78.5 years, or 13 percent. In the United Kingdom, it rose from 71.1 years to 81.2 years, or 14 percent.

Once again, the world’s poorest nations experienced some of the greatest life expectancy gains: China, from 43.7 years to 76.4 years, or 75 percent; India, from 41.2 years to 68.8 years, or 67 percent; and sub-Saharan Africa, from 40.4 years to 60.9 years or 51 percent. There is not a single country in the world where life expectancy was lower in 2017 than it was in 1960.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 21, 2023 at 4:30 PM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with ,

13 Responses

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  1. Incredibly beautiful wild meadows!

    Eliza Waters

    March 21, 2023 at 7:21 PM

  2. You threw me into perplexity with your mention of the bladderpods. I couldn’t make sense of it, until I figured out I was confusing them with bladderworts: carnivorous, semi-aquatic plants I’ve seen in east Texas, and that surely couldn’t have lived on the prairie!

    Those sand mounds you mentioned are interesting. I’ve seen them in the Rockport cemetery, and they’re quite common in areas south and west of Gonzales. Out around Monthalia, they were everywhere. The thought crossed my mind that they were like baby pimple mounds: those features of the prairies. I’ve not pursued that, so don’t know if a relationship exists or not.


    March 21, 2023 at 10:02 PM

    • I understand how easy it is to confuse bladderpods with the similar-sounding bladderworts. Not familiar with the latter, I looked them up and found they also have yellow flowers. Similar name and similar-colored flowers—nevertheless, seeing the two plants puts an end to the confusion.

      West of Gonzales I saw a lot of those little sand mounds, too. So far the suggested causes have included ants, gophers, and moles. I’m sure someone knows the actual origin. All the searches I’ve done have frustratingly failed to turn up even a mention of them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 22, 2023 at 4:15 AM

  3. The only way to view such profusion of colour in our region is to get up into the alpine meadows at the end of summer.

    Peter Klopp

    March 22, 2023 at 9:26 AM

  4. […] Two more wildflower extravaganzas […]

  5. It sure looks like you’re having a super bloom! Those fields are gorgeous.


    March 22, 2023 at 7:44 PM

    • Some people have spoken of it as a superbloom. Even if this season doesn’t qualify for one—assuming there’s some official definition—it’s still an excellent spring we’re enjoying.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 22, 2023 at 8:45 PM

  6. Good summary of the rise in income and life expectancy. One thing though is that average income does not mean that one has a better life, because costs of living is what determines quality of life. For example a mean income of 100,000 U$ here in California right now is a salary one can just scrape by.

    Alessandra Chaves

    March 23, 2023 at 8:22 AM

    • Cost of living can vary a lot from place to place, as you point out. Even taking that into account, though, the figures show that on average the world’s population is considerably better off now than before.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 23, 2023 at 8:30 AM

  7. I’m always happy to see a superabundance of wildflowers! 🙂

    Ann Mackay

    March 26, 2023 at 5:01 AM

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