Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

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Devil’s claw bud and flower

with 13 comments

Here’s Proboscidea louisianica, called devil’s claw, not long for this world
at a construction site along Duval Rd. in northwest Austin on September 8.

The glandular hairs confirm that this flower is a gooey one,
and that accounts for the many clinging bits of grit you see.
Backlighting accounts for the translucence in the second picture.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 28, 2019 at 4:45 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , ,

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 , , , ,

Diabolical ends

with 16 comments

Click for greater size and clarity.

Here’s another view of a dried seed capsule of Proboscidea louisianica, this time showing the pointed and curving ends of the devil’s claws that catch on animals’ fur or people’s clothing (as they’ve occasionally done on mine).

Like the previous picture, this one is from the (Southwest) Williamson County Regional Park on October 29, 2010.

For those of you who are interested in photography as a craft, points 1, 2, 6, 14, 16 and 19 in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 17, 2012 at 1:31 PM


with 8 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Comments in the post two days ago about Proboscidea louisianica alluded to the seed capsules of this plant, which is known colloquially as devil’s claw. Now you get to see what prompted that name: you’re looking at the main section of a seed capsule, which has dried out and split longitudinally into two halves. At the lower right you see portions of the pod’s two long and curving “claws,” the closer one in focus, the other not. The patterns on the husk are intriguing, don’t you think?

This picture is from the (Southwest) Williamson County Regional Park on October 29, 2010 (I haven’t photographed any of these capsules in 2012, so I had to turn to my archives).

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 17, 2012 at 6:13 AM

Inside a devil’s claw flower

with 36 comments

While I was doing my best to overcome depth-of-field problems in photographing the inside of a devil’s claw flower, Proboscidea louisianica, I roused a couple of bug nymphs that had apparently been way down inside the floral tube but that came out and consented, willy-nilly, to be photographed. If I were their size, I’d probably want to get down into the recesses of that colorful tube too. Notice the grains of sand adhering to the flower thanks to the goo produced by glands in this plant.

The date was August 30th, the place the North Fork of the San Gabriel River near Tejas Camp in Williamson County.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 16, 2012 at 6:09 AM

Devil’s claw flower

with 22 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Now here’s a wildflower I don’t often see. In fact, the last time I remember encountering a devil’s claw flower, Proboscidea louisianica, was in the fall of 2009. My streak was broken on August 30 of this year near Tejas Camp in Williamson County, as I wandered along the North Fork of the San Gabriel River. Although this specimen was beginning to turn brown at its fringes, I was still grateful for the chance to photograph it, and to do so against a clear blue sky that complemented the flower’s colors.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 15, 2012 at 6:05 AM

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