Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Search Results

Huisache daisy colony

with 19 comments

Botanist Bill Carr says that husiache daisies, Amblyolepis setigera, are a western species that reaches the eastern edge of its range in Travis County (which includes Austin), and that they’re uncommon here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any huisache daisies within an hour or two of home. On April 9th I came across a pretty colony of them flowering in what was either far eastern Burnet County or far western Travis County. The few violet-colored flowers mixed in were prairie verbenas, Glandularia bipinnatifida. Speaking of which, in my neighborhood the previous morning I’d found one of those with spittlebug froth on it.

Did you know that the United States Congress has designated April 2021 “National Native Plant Month”? Here’s a letter about that from the Native Plant Society of Texas.

April 14, 2021

Senator Rob Portman
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Mazie Hirono
109 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Re: April 2021 National Native Plant Month

Dear Senator Portman and Senator Hirono:

On behalf of the Native Plant Society of Texas and its 35 local chapters, I am writing to express our thanks for your joint resolution S. 109 designating April 2021 as National Native Plant Month. We are pleased to join all the other conservation organizations, including other state native plant societies, that supported your resolution that was approved unanimously by the Senate on March 26, 2021.

Your resolution stated that there are more than 17,000 native plant species in the United States which are beneficial and part of our natural heritage. Texas, which has over 5000 species of native plants and 11 different ecoregions, is one of the most biologically diverse states because of its size and geography. However, as your resolution clearly stated, there are challenges ahead due to habitat loss, degradation, and invasive species.

Our mission statement responds to the challenges with these words: “To promote research, conservation and utilization of native plants and plant habitats through education, outreach and example”. Through these efforts, we strive to protect the native plant heritage of Texas and preserve it for future generations. We are a non-profit organization, run by volunteers and funded by membership dues, individual and corporate contributions, and foundation grants.

Thank you for your authorship of the resolution designating April 2021 as “National Native Plant Month”. Our Executive Board will definitely inform all of our local chapters of your successful resolution and encourage them to incorporate your observations in their programs in April.

Respectfully submitted,

Clarence E. Reed
VP-Advocacy & Affiliations
Native Plant Society of Texas

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 19, 2021 at 4:43 AM

Huisache daisy colony

with 30 comments

Along Priest Rd. off S. Loop 1604 southwest of Elmendorf on March 27th we found this extraordinary colony of huisache daisies, Amblyolepis setigera. According to Garden Style San Antonio, “Huisache daisy is so called because it often grows in thick stands under huisache and other chaparral bushes, forming a solid blanket of gold.” Often isn’t always, and in this case I don’t recall a huisache tree anywhere in sight. In the United States these daisies grow only in Texas; they’re also found in Mexico. Mixed in with the huisache daisies in this stand you’ll notice some verbenas, and in the background the ubiquitous Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa.

The huisache daisy has appeared only once before in these pages, in a closeup with a tumbling flower beetle.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 6, 2019 at 4:47 AM

More from Shaffer Bend

with 18 comments

Last Thursday’s post was the first ever to feature pictures from the Shaffer Bend Recreation Area along the Colorado River a little east of Marble Falls in Burnet County. During our inaugural April 19th visit I got to see a few huisache daisies, Amblyolepis setigera, a species I don’t find in Austin. The most recent time I showed you some was last year, when you saw a whole colony flowering in a place close to Shaffer Bend. Above are a huisache daisy bud and open flower head; the picture below shows an intermediate stage.



§         §         §



In a post a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that the Latin word for ‘head,’ caput, led to the English word capital. A state’s or a country’s capital is metaphorically its “head” city. In a different metaphorical usage, capital is money that we accumulate to “head up” or “head into” a new business.

As the Latin spoken in ancient Gaul evolved over hundreds and hundreds of years, caput gradually got transformed into Old French chief. (Yes, words can change that much over long periods.) The Old French noun chief retained the literal meaning ‘head’ and also allowed for figurative uses. When Middle English borrowed chief, it already had its familiar native word head for the body part, so it borrowed chief in its figurative sense of ‘most important.’ That’s why James A. Garfield could write in 1869: “The chief duty of government is to keep the peace and stand out of the sunshine of the people.” The leader of the nine justices on the Supreme Court of the United States is designated the Chief Justice; the other justices regularly refer to him simply as “the Chief.” For hundreds of years we’ve called the head of an American Indian tribe its chief. A large business has its CEO and CFO and COO, meaning its chief executive officer, chief financial officer, and chief operating officer.

With regard to managerial positions like those, the people running the San Francisco Unified Schools District have once again been up to mischief—etymologically a situation in which things have ‘come to a head [chief] in a bad [mis-] way.’ Out of supposed deference to the sensibilities of people in American Indian tribes, the bureaucrats in charge of that school district have decided to drop the chief from job titles like chief technology officer and chief of staff.

Whereas the chief responsibility of a school district has traditionally been to teach students, recent chief goals in San Francisco have included renaming schools and dictating what words people must and can’t say. The Wall Street Journal editorial “Chiefly Illiterate in San Francisco Schools” and the New York Post article “San Francisco school district drops ‘chief’ from job titles” will fill you in on the chief details of this latest ideological assault on language. Meanwhile, even before the pandemic, 27 of San Francisco’s schools were rated “low performing” and 9 were among the worst in California, which is in the bottom fifth of American states academically.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 31, 2022 at 4:31 AM

Still more from Gault Lane at Burnet Road on October 11th

with 24 comments

⇧ Huisache daisy, Amblyolepis setigera, with a small insect.

⇧ Aquatic plants at sunrise.

⇧ Cardinal flowers, Lobelia cardinalis.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 12, 2020 at 4:32 AM

Tumbling flower beetle

with 7 comments

Tumbling Flower Beetle on Huisache Daisy 6606

Click for greater clarity.

In a picture posted a couple of weeks ago showing a few Texas yellow stars in a colony of bluebonnets, two small insects were barely discernible on one of the Texas yellow stars. Here’s a closer look at an insect of that kind, known as a tumbling flower beetle or pintail beetle (the picture explains the second name). Entomologists put these insects in the family Mordellidae.

As for the flower head, it’s a huisache daisy, Amblyolepis setigera, a species making its debut here. In the United States the huisache daisy grows only in Texas; it is also at home in parts of Mexico.

Date: April 7.  Place: Commons Ford Park in far southwest Austin.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 6, 2013 at 6:20 AM

A new round of frolicking with search criteria

with 40 comments

Following in the tradition of the fun post from New Year’s Day 2012 and the fun post from New Year’s Day 2013, here are a few of the things that people typed into their search engines during the past year that ended up bringing them to this blog. Sometimes the search engine did a great job of figuring out what the person wanted, sometimes it misled the searcher, and other times anybody would have a hard time figuring out what the searcher wanted. My response to each search string appears indented below it.


the beter sunflawer

There are no flaws in my sunflawer pictures, and you’d beter not say there are.

lost ductman mine state park

Wasn’t The Flying Ductman an opera by Wagner? By what alchemy did the search engine turn Ductman into Schwartzman?

where are greackles supost to be in december

Here’s where that query led.

portates made in wild flower fields

How about portraits? Or maybe you were hungry and were thinking of portatoes.

protraits of wildflowers rembrandt

You got Rembrandt right but you couldn’t spell portraits?

vicki wildflower portets

Et tu, Vicki.

fruit portraits with no people in it

At least this searcher knows how to spell portraits, but what does he have against people?

frog portraits

I’m surprised anyone wanted a frog portrait, but what the search engine led to was a photograph of a little wildflower called frog fruit.

asteronomer terning center

Frailty, thy name is spelling.

snowscpe exposure

There isn’t a single snowscape in my blog. Not even a snowscpe.

how many petals are on a firewheele

Technically speaking, zero, because each “petal” is actually a ray flower unto itself. The extra e at the end of firewheele should also go away and become a thing unto itself.

“henriette flatsetø”

I have no idea why a search for this Norwegian girl led to my blog.

clematis drummondii pod

Nice try, but Clematis drummondii doesn’t produce pods.

who sells hookers palafoxia seed

I don’t know, but I sure don’t sell palafoxia seed to any hookers.

lots en sioux huisache #9 donna tx

After the search engine ignored everything except huisache and TX, the searcher got taken to this picture.

new year is rain of pleasant

In Austin we did have some drizzle on January 1 of 2012, but rain of pleasant sounds so much more poetic than drizzle.

25 year tgp

The best I can make out is that TGP stands for Technical Glass Products. I don’t think they make any wildflowers.

what is a flower basket called

Word order matters: a flower basket isn’t a basket-flower.

j’adore sunflower

Moi too.

oltimer golden eye

I guess the search engine considers me an ol’-timer now, someone in his golden years, but still with a good eye.

do mexican hats ratabida plants spread & send out scouts

Yes, the Mexican hats send out scouts on horseback to reconnoiter the countryside.

do wasps like ragweed

I don’t know, but the search engine led the questioner to a post of mine about paper wasps building their nest on a dry giant ragweed plant. I think any similar support for the nest would have worked just as well.

are widows tears plant good luck

It was good luck for me, because I got this dynamic picture.

brown manuring in rice

I won’t go there.

dr partridge buffalo

I get the partridge and the buffalo, but the doctor stymies me.


Will you settle for groundsel + Texans?

what weed blooms in october in brookahaven miss thats bad on allergies

Why a question about Brookhaven, Mississippi, would lead to Austin, Texas, I don’t know, but the answer is probably ragweed.

definition of texas native grasses

Definition: Texas native grasses are grasses that are native in Texas.

painted lady butterfly wisconsin

I didn’t realize that Texas had annexed Wisconsin.

birthday spanking family


zex sex
teny 19 sex mania
photos sek mania mexico

As with similar queries in 2011 and 2012, these took some (undoubtedly let down) guys to a post about the wildflower called zexmenia. What kinky thing the searchers had in mind, I have no idea. If any of you do, shame on you.

body wax drop

What the person got taken to was a picture of two ants trapped in a drop of sunflower resin.

promiscuous louisianica

Make that Proboscidea louisianica. The plant may be the devil’s claw, but does that make it promiscuous? Or maybe it’s those wild folks in New Orleans.

pictures of snow on mountains

All the searcher got was a hot-weather view of the wildflower called snow-on-the-mountain.

grackle bird houston

Houston, Boston, Austin: they’re all the same place, aren’t they?

places without ragweed

But the search engine took you to Austin, the allergy capital of America, with lots of common ragweed and giant ragweed.

bluebells flowers “long island”

The bluebells are from Texas and I’m from Long Island.

why white heron comes inland?

Why did the chicken cross the road?

clarity of a bird

I don’t know what the searcher was after, but the query led to a post about a grackle on a metal fence, and beneath the photograph was a version of my usual caption: “Click for better color, clarity, and size.”

jack loticus snake rhyme

No post of mine mentions Jack Loticus or the rhyme he invented so people could distinguish a coral snake, which is venomous, from some similar-looking snakes that aren’t venomous. You can check out the original rhyme and some variants here.

middle east flowers and buds

Austin is more or less in the middle eastern part of Texas, but somehow I doubt that’s what the searcher had in mind.

flowers of the world

What a great example of narrowing your search string. When I tried this phrase I got 191 million hits.

google map of lake ontario

The searcher must have been surprised that “my” Lake Ontario was formed by clouds over Austin.

темная оса

That’s tyemnaya osa, Russian for ‘dark wasp.’ The day this search term turned up, no one was led to a post about a wasp. The viewed post closest to that was about an Argiope spider.

what leaf when spirals freezes

Make that 1 for 2 for the search engine: I showed a picture of a willow leaf spiral but I assure you nothing was freezing outdoors in Texas in September.

elm leaf tattoo

The search engine apparently thought that my picture of a new cedar elm leaf would make for a good tattoo.

metaphysics of yucca plant

I’ve gotten stuck by the sharp tips of yucca leaves, but isn’t that pain strictly physical rather than metaphysical?

the funnel web theme park

Wow, I never knew that funnel web spiders have theme parks. I guess it gets boring to be a funnel web spider, what with molting and eating insects and all that kinda stuff, so they need theme parks for amusement.

(il mourut poursuivant une haute aventure; il eut pour le brûler des astres le plus beau)

I tried this search in Google on April 6, and the eighth hit was my post about two ants trapped in a drop of sunflower resin. In the post I quoted a French poem from 1573 about Icarus, who in Greek legend dared to fly too close to the sun wearing wings attached to his body with wax, which melted and caused his doom. The ants and the sunflower were a bonus for the searcher.

çınar yaprağı

This Turkish phrase means ‘sycamore leaf,’ so let’s give credit to the search engine not only for translating that into English but also finding my blog post.

yayla çiçekleri

And this Turkish phrase means ‘spring flowers.’ I can’t be sure which post the person got taken to, but that day there were three page views from Turkey and three viewings of a Texas mountain laurel post.

nanas ungu

This Indonesian phrase means ‘purple pineapple.’ The search engine popped up a post about eryngo. Did the searcher know enough English to read the text and understand that what looks like a purple pineapple is actually a small flower head that has nothing to do with pineapples? (Et pour vous qui parlez français, vous reconnaissez que le mot nanas correspond à ananas.) (And if you don’t speak French, I pointed out that the Indonesian word for ‘pineapple’ is very similar to the French word for ‘pineapple.’)

паслен цветы тычинки

This Russian phrase translates as “nightshade flower(s) stamens.” Strangely, although I do have posts showing that, none of them appeared in the list of pages viewed on the same day as the query. And here’s an interesting bit of language: the Russian noun цвето (tsveto) means ‘color,’ but the plural цветы (tsveti) means ‘flowers.’

wild flowers фото

Why would someone who knows enough to write wild flowers in English write photo in Russian?

can u eat a spider crab in darwin

Can u find a crab spider in Schwartzman? Yes—at least in his blog.

virginia state leaf

I’ve heard of an official state flower but never an official state leaf. Talk about micro-managing. But what can you expect from a state that used to make you get your car inspected twice a year?

sometimes still i cannot keep

Sometimes reply I cannot make.

austin daily flower false

I don’t know what kind of aspersions you’re casting there, bud, but all my Austin daily flowers are real.

squirrels coming house

My squirrels staying roof. No coming house. People coming house.

elm leaf meaning

I sometimes get philosophical, but wondering what an elm leaf means is too philosophical even for me.

vulture pronounce

Quoth the vulture: “Nevermore!”

redbud trees near mt. shasta

I guess the redbud trees in Austin are near the ones at Mt. Shasta if you’re looking from the moon.

winter flowers of india which are rarely found in india

What’d they do, move to Florida to get away from the cold? (I once mentioned that Austin has a lot of technology companies, so it’s not unusual to see people from India here.)

abstract liquid photography

There aren’t any examples of that on my blog, unless you count trees or plants reflected in the surface of a pond or creek.

image of plant having fully thorn

Imagine me as I read this having fully smile.

do chiggers like bluebonnets

I don’t know, but I’m sorry to say they sure like me.

white things that are in the sky that look like doves

We normally call those things clouds.

william faulkner and spanish moss

I provided the plant but you’ll have to provide your own Faulkner.

where did the photographer gary moss grow up?

This led to a post about Spanish moss growing on a tree. Whether it looks like Gary, I can’t say.

dry leafs places

Whenever we have a drought here, Texas becomes one of those dry leafs places. Then all the married men scrounge for water to save the lifes of their wifes.

prairie wildflowers art

Oh, once again the search engine thinks my pictures of prairie wildflowers are art: what a smart search engine!

what goes well with a flame leaf sumac

My camera.

my frostweed didn’t split in the frost

Oh, you poor baby, you must’ve been so disappointed. Mine did.

falling through thin ice

Come to think of it, that takes less energy and is therefore less painful than crashing through thick ice.

a climber who has purple coloured flowers

Don’t you love calling a plant a who? Or maybe we’re looking for a mountain climber who wears purple flowers while climbing.

purple flower looks like it comes out of round thing with long flowers

Thanks for being so explicit.

fasciation cannabis

I think think there are a lot more people fascinated by cannabis than by fasciation.

bluebonnets, daisys, dandylions(flowers)

Lions are fine and dandy with me, just as long as they stay far away from any bluebonnets and daisies I’m photographing.

world best flower in hq clearity

I make sure my pictures have lots of clearity. In fact my blog is the world headquarters of clearity.

photography passion

That’s me!

a close at a flowers

I hope that wasn’t from a native speaker of English.

small fuzzy green plant that curls at the end whats it called

You got me, pal.

texas firewheel flower poem

Hail to you, mighty firewheel!
Your saturated red and yellow,
More colorful than a wire wheel,
Make me want to shout and bellow.

big brown furry beatle

Would that be John, Paul, George, or Ringo?

how long usps for mail “from austin to austin”

In my experience, as long as a week, alas. What this has to do with wildflowers, though, I don’t know.

steve swartzmam photography
steven swartzmann nature blog

Frailty, thy name is misspelling.

eric schwartzman wildflower photographer austin

I’ve hosted trail walks with geologist Eric Potter. Looks like his head got put on my shoulders.

famous floral photographers

Yay! The search engine thinks I’m a famous floral photographer. Silly search engine.


Wow, out of the tens of thousands of blogs on WordPress, the search engine led someone to mine. Smart search engine.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 1, 2014 at 6:20 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: