Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Search Results

Another verbena

with 20 comments

Gray Vervain Flower by Prairie Fleabane Daisy 0298

Over the past five years here you’ve seen two native verbenas that are common in central Texas, prairie verbena and slender vervain, as well as one that I only occasionally come across. Making its debut here today is yet another: gray vervain, Verbena canescens. While it’s fairly common, it’s also diminutive and somewhat nondescript, so I expect not many people pay attention to it.

The background halo in this view from April 4 along Bluegrass Dr. was a prairie fleabane daisy, Erigeron modestus, a species you last saw acting as a perch for a katydid nymph.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 19, 2016 at 4:53 AM

Two slender vervain flower spikes

with 21 comments

Two Slender Vervain Flower Spikes 9656

When I stopped to take pictures along Clovis St. on March 25th I photographed these close-together flower spikes of Verbena halei, known as slender vervain or Texas vervain. Each flower is about an eighth of an inch (3mm) across.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 6, 2016 at 5:08 AM

Like shooting Texas wildflowers in the spring

with 38 comments

Phlox and Other Wildflowers 7873

Click for greater clarity.

I’ve always thought it strange when people use the expression “like shooting fish in a barrel.” To my mind that would lead to a shattered barrel and a wet floor, so to indicate that something is easy I’d rather say it’s like shooting (with a camera, of course) Texas wildflowers in the spring. Texas is known for its fields of densely mixed wildflowers, and here’s a first take on that for 2014. On April 4th I finally bit the bullet (but not the one that broke the barrel with the fish in it) and headed south to see some of the floral fields I’d begun reading reports about on the Internet. Sure enough, once I got as far as Interstate 10, about an hour south of Austin, I began finding plenty of roadside yards and fields covered with wildflowers.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to select some of the photographs from that trip and blend them in with others I’d already been preparing for these pages. My thinking is that if I showed you day after day of flower-filled fields it’d be too much of a good thing (and that’s another expression we can therefore avoid).

This first mixture is from FM 467 southwest of Seguin. The magenta flowers are phlox (Phlox spp.). The yellow are Texas dandelions (Pyrrhopappus pauciflorus). The red are Indian paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa). The blue are some passing-their-prime bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis). The closely bunched slender stems with small violet flowers on them are Texas vervain (Verbena halei). Quite a sight, no?

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 6, 2014 at 5:30 AM

A verve for vervain

with 36 comments

You recently saw a large and dense colony of flowering prairie verbenas. The French word for verbena is verveine, which English has borrowed as vervain; I mention that because today’s picture shows a wildflower known as Texas vervain and slender vervain, Verbena halei. The species is quite common in central Texas, and the plant’s stalks really are slender. The overall effect makes me imagine a delicate floral candelabra, and in this case there’s the addition of several types of wildflowers in the background. Today’s picture is yet another of the many I took on our 294-mile wildflower tour south of Austin on March 31.

To see a state-clickable map of the places across the southern United States where this species grows, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 7, 2012 at 5:40 AM

%d bloggers like this: