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A closer view of cynanchum

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Three Cynanchum Flowers 8205

Click for greater clarity and size.

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, here’s a close look at three Cynanchum barbigerum flowers, each of which is only about 1/8 of an inch (3mm) long. Can you see the little white “beards”—clicking the image helps—implied by the species name barbigerum and the colloquial name bearded swallow-wort? Note the strongly recurved corolla lobes that seem more like mustaches than beards; you can count five on each flower because milkweeds do things in fives.

This picture once again comes from a July 3rd jaunt through the Bull Creek Nature Preserve, and in fact these flowers were on the same vine that you saw in the last photograph. Obviously this time I didn’t aim upward into the blue sky but sideways toward something dark, probably a group of shaded Ashe juniper trees.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 24, 2013 at 6:21 AM


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Cynanchum Vine Flowering with Pod and Crab Spider 8129

Click for greater clarity and larger size.

On the way back from my discovery of meadow parasol on July 3rd, I discovered that on the outward-bound portion of my hike through the Bull Creek Nature Preserve I’d walked right past a plant that I have seen before, but only a couple of times. It’s Cynanchum barbigerum, a delicate vine (some call it thicket threadvine) in the milkweed family, and this one had plenty of small flowers on it.

I’ll add that the vine has a rather unpleasant smell that might be described as rubbery or fishy, much like the odor of the pearl milkweed vine that’s a lot more common in central Texas. Notice the mature pod, quite svelte, which I estimate was about an inch and a quarter to an inch and a half long. Note also the pale spider in what seems to be a defensive position near the lower right corner of the photograph; I didn’t even see it at the time I took the picture.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 23, 2013 at 6:14 AM

Viny competition

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The previous post featured a flower of Cynanchum racemosum var. unifarium, known as talayote. The plant is a milkweed vine, and its viny nature is clear in the picture above, which shows some talayote twined around the stalk of a Mexican hat, Ratibida columnifera. Also in evidence in the photograph, and likewise looking for a foothold on other plants, is some Clematis drummondii, known as old man’s beard based on its appearance in a later phase.

They say you can’t tell the players without a scorecard, so here it is.

Twining vine: talayote
Linear vine: old man’s beard
Heart-shaped leaves: talayote
Tripartite leaves: old man’s beard
Whitish-green buds: talayote
Darker buds: old man’s beard

Below, also from May 25, 2011, in my northwest Austin neighborhood, is a closer look at talayote grabbing a Mexican hat seed head.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 22, 2017 at 4:47 AM

Posted in nature photography

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An exchange of comments last month with Linda at The Task at Hand brought up a milkweed vine classified as Cynanchum racemosum. The vernacular name is the four-syllable talayote, the form in which Spanish borrowed an indigenous word for the plant. Talayote rang a bell, so I searched my archive and discovered that the one time I ever found the species was May 25th, 2011, and right in my neighborhood. That was a couple of weeks before this blog started up, and with a world of native plants to highlight in the ensuing posts, I lost sight of talayote. Here then, six-and-a-half years late, is a photograph of a talayote flower. Notice once again that milkweeds do things in fives.

While I never showed talayote here till now, I did feature a different Cynanchum species in 2013.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 21, 2017 at 4:42 AM

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