Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for the ‘flowers’ Category

Blackfoot daisy from below

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Blackfoot Daisy Flower Head from Below 9391

And here’s what a flower head of a blackfoot daisy, Melampodium leucanthum, looks like from below; only from this side can you see the darker lines on its white rays. Like the previous photo, this one is from the front yard of native plant promoters Dale and Pat Bulla in northwest Austin, but I took the picture on February 24 of the current year. The blue in the lower right is from a patch of sky visible through the trees, a consequence of lying on the ground and aiming partly upward.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 5, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Blackfoot daisies

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Click for greater clarity.

Blackfoot daisies, Melampodium leucanthum, often appear in clusters, as you see in this photo taken on the property of native-plant-ophiles Dale and Pat Bulla in northwest Austin exactly one year ago today.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 5, 2013 at 6:22 AM

Prairie brazoria

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Click for greater clarity.

Here’s a moody picture of still another native wildflower you haven’t seen in these pages till now: it’s Warnockia (or Brazoria) scutellarioides, a member of the mint family known as prairie brazoria. I photographed this one on April 9 not on the prairie but in my Great Hills neighborhood in northwest Austin. The complementary daub of yellow in the background is from our old friend the four-nerve daisy, Tetraneuris linearifolia.

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Posted on this day last year: an upward look at a pennant dragonfly against a clear blue sky.

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The daily posts that you’ve become accustomed to will continue while I’m away from Austin. Feel free to comment if you’d like, but please be aware that it may be a while before I can respond.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 26, 2012 at 5:33 AM

Bush sunflower from behind

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Click for greater clarity.

The bright yellow bush sunflower in the previous post, which I photographed on March 11 on Great Northern Blvd. in north-central Austin, might pass for a regular sunflower when seen from above, but the view from the side or below can show a reddish-brown coloring that Simsia calva doesn’t share with its much more familiar relative. Like the common sunflower, this is a hairy plant, as you clearly see here. While the common sunflower can be found just about everywhere, the bush sunflower grows natively in Mexico and, within the United States, only in Texas and New Mexico.

For those interested in photography as a craft, points 1, 3, 4, and 8 in About My Techniques are relevant to this image.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 30, 2012 at 1:37 PM

What is this?

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“What is this?” That’s what I repeatedly asked myself on March 11 on Great Northern Blvd. as I kept seeing more and more of these flowers. My first thought was some kind of goldeneye, but the only Viguiera in Bill Carr’s Travis County plant list is Viguiera dentata, which wasn’t this (in spite of the fact that some goldeneyes in Austin, which normally fade in December, had miraculously maintained a few flowers through the winter and well into March).

After I got home I did some checking and comparing and finally realized I’d photographed a native plant I’d been seeing for a decade in Marshall Enquist’s Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country and wondering year after year when I’d ever encounter one. But 2012 has been a crazy year, and I’d finally come across bunches of what turned out to be the long-sought bush sunflower. The familiar sunflower is Helianthus annuus, but the bush sunflower isn’t even in the same genus: it’s Simsia calva. Happy new for me, and happy sunflowers in March for all of us.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 30, 2012 at 5:26 AM

Wild garlic

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These pages have recently shown you two white-flowered members of the lily family, crow poison and death camas. Another local member of the family is wild garlic, Allium drummondii, whose flowers can be white but often range through pink and violet to reddish-purple. The open flowers in this emerging cluster were about half an inch across. I photographed them on Great Northern Blvd. in north-central Austin on March 11. Since then I’ve seen lots of wild garlic flowers all over central Texas.

Allium drummondii grows in Mexico and in the parts of the central United States shown in the USDA map.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 28, 2012 at 5:44 AM

Death camas

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Click for greater clarity.

Believe the name: death camas can kill you if you eat it. This was one of at least a dozen plants of Zigadenus nuttallii that I found in an undeveloped lot in northwest Austin on March 6. If you see a resemblance between an individual flower here and one in the recently featured crow poison—which may or may not actually be poisonous—it’s because both plants are in the lily family.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 23, 2012 at 5:21 AM

Huisache

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In 2010, a lush year for wildflowers in central Texas, the huisache trees, Acacia farnesiana, didn’t flower. In 2011, though their spring bloom period came before the worst of the drought, they didn’t flower either. Now they’re making up for lost time, as this picture from March 11 in north-central Austin confirms. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this tree, I’ll say that its blossoms are so numerous and perfumed that you can smell them from a block away if the wind is blowing toward you. And for those not familiar with Spanish, I’ll add that huisache is pronounced approximately wee-SAH-cheh. The word is Mexican Spanish, based on Nahuatl (Aztec) huixachi, from huitzli, which means thorn, and ixachi, which means many. A huisache tree does indeed have many thorns on it; they’re mostly small, and hard to see in this picture, but they’re sharp, as I can attest.

Huisache trees grow in Mexico and across the southern tier of the United States, as the state-clickable map at the USDA website confirms.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 22, 2012 at 5:42 AM

The puff in silverpuff

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If you’ve wondered why Chaptalia texana, which you’ve already seen three times in this blog and as recently as yesterday, is called silverpuff, wonder no more. Note the same nodding posture that characterized this wildflower in its budding stage. Also notice the resemblance to the seed head of the more familiar (and in North America both alien and invasive) dandelion, which is likewise a member of the sunflower family.

Once again this photograph comes from a March 5 session on the property of native plant lovers Pat and Dale Bulla in northwest Austin.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 19, 2012 at 5:32 AM

Silverpuff opens

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A picture that came to you five weeks ago from the parking lot of my neighborhood Costco showed Chaptalia texana, called silverpuff. This diminutive wildflower seems to have two local varieties (or possibly species), one whose flower heads stay mostly closed, as you saw back then, and another whose rays emerge and can even fold back. This latest picture is obviously a close encounter of the second kind, courtesy of the wildflowers growing on the property of native plant lovers Dale and Pat Bulla in northwest Austin.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 18, 2012 at 5:23 AM

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