Portraits of Wildflowers

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Archive for the ‘plants’ Category

The lot along US 183: a fourth look back

with 19 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Click for greater clarity.

For the last few days I’ve been memorializing a lot on the east side of US 183 adjacent to the Wendy’s and Costco in my northwest Austin neighborhood. Here’s still another photograph of something that used to be on the site, again from June 22, 2011: it’s a new leaf on a small cedar elm tree, Ulmus crassifolia. As I mentioned back then, the new leaves of this species remind me of marzipan candy made in the shape of real objects.

The young cedar elm tree shown here, which sprang up by the corner of what had become the ruins of a small building, held out longer than most of the other vegetation on the site, but I think it finally got bulldozed a few months ago.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 27, 2013 at 6:16 AM

The lot along US 183: a second look back

with 10 comments

Goldenrod flowers; click for greater detail.

Click for greater detail and size.

Yesterday I mentioned the razing of a lot on the east side of US 183 adjacent to Wendy’s and Costco in my northwest Austin neighborhood. I can’t photograph on the property any more, but here’s a picture I took on October 17, 2011, that gives a close look at some goldenrod that had sprung up there that fall. I’m not sure what species it was, but the genus is Solidago. In light of the property’s razing, there’s an irony to that genus name, which combines two Latin words meaning “I make whole.”

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 25, 2013 at 6:20 AM

Another year’s fun with search criteria

with 46 comments

I don’t know if one occurrence counts as a tradition, but let’s assume that it does: following in the “tradition” of the fun post from New Year’s Day 2012, here are some 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, but other times it misled the searcher.

—>  Comments of mine appear indented under the search strings.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

garlic fowers

Thank you, search engine, for understanding that the person meant flowers. This search engine knew how to go with the fow.

preaky pear

Just like last year, we meet people who think prickly pear is preaky pear. Do they also think someone in poor health is seaky?

meaning of preakly pears in a dream

It means that you should study spelling.

think steve pear pad

I guess my personality can be preaky at times. Or is this a dream telling me to buy an iPad?

hanging bubble cactus

Wouldn’t the spines of the cactus pop the bubbles?

flowers in preria
perari flowers

Anyone for prairie?

if i had wings like a morning dove

Make that a mourning dove, named for its sad-sounding call.

how can i edit my portraits to have sharp eyes but soft skin

I have sharp eyes for portraits of wildflowers, but nothing is gonna make some of those plants have soft skin.

prairie verbena informatshon

My blog is a great source of informatshion about prairie verbena and many other plants in this part of the natshion.

ludwigia beethoven

That’s Ludwig von Beethoven, famous composer. I assure you that when I photographed a wildflower in the genus Ludwigia last year it wasn’t humming the Fifth Symphony or the Ode to Joy. My post was whimsically titled Not Named for Beethoven.

speaking flowers

Not only don’t flowers hum or sing, they don’t speak, either.

texas thistle is it a wildflower

Can’t say that I find many thistles being cultivated in nurseries, so I guess it’s a wildflower.

20 foot tall weed bush

Have you ever heard of a weed bush? I haven’t. Especially not one that’s 20 feet tall.

leaves with real names

You mean like John Leaf, Sarah Leaf, Freddy Leaf?

whats the weed names

I just told you.

cool lizards names

No idea what post this brought someone to. I tried the search myself and was surprised to find a bunch of websites offering lists of suggested names for various types of pets, including lizards. Some of the suggested lizard names (including their meanings) on one site are Bodizara (divine), Radoslava (glorious and happy), and Frantiska (free woman). I think I’d want my pet lizard to be glorious and happy.

ontario see

The person may have wanted to see Ontario but ended up seeing a picture in which the clouds over my neighborhood in Austin reminded me of the way the north shore of Lake Ontario looks on a map.

shape of lake ontario

This person really did want to know the shape of Lake Ontario but must have been surprised to find it—or half of it—in the clouds over Austin.

tony creek ontario map

The place in Austin where I looked up and saw the northern outline of Lake Ontario was alongside a tributary of Bull Creek. Maybe the search engine thinks that’s a tony neighborhood.

overhead pond

If the pond were overhead, wouldn’t the water spill down onto us poor folks below?

red fruit in sky

Look, up in the sky: it’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s… a red fruit!

all plant life of blackland prairie

That’s a pretty tall order, don’t you think? How could you expect to get information about all of the hundreds of plant species found on the Blackland Prairie?

all kinds of plants or leaves with names

Man, you must’ve gotten a lot of hits!


Man, you must’ve gotten a lot of hits!!

flowers of world

Like I said, you must’ve gotten a lot of hits!!!!

flower picture side view

Well, at least that’s a little more specific. You must have gotten only half a zillion hits instead of the full zillion.

look up a flower

Yes, do look one up. There are many to choose from.

violet colors awesome pictures

All my pictures are awesome, no matter what colors are in them.

yesterday flowers

Yesterday, flowers. Today, flowers. Flowers forever!

compare yesterday

To what?

matter similar in color

Similar to what?

similar flowers

Similar to what?

comments about is water different

My comment is that water is definitely different. It’s different from wood, from metal, from porcupines, from adjectives, from hardware and software, from overweening pride. This is going to be a daring leap, but let me generalize: water is different from everything that’s not water.

caterpillar succulent

The person probably wanted a picture of a caterpillar on a succulent but ended up being taken to a very succulent caterpillar.

the turtle is staring at me

I had just the picture for this person.

how much spanish moss in shoes for blood pressure

And don’t forget to wear garlic around your neck to ward off vampires.

teksas planine

The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain
In Teksas, which used to be a colony of Spain.

yexas mountain laurel

If I ever decide to leave where I am, Yexas would be my first choice for a state to move to. Yex indeed.

bunga lili kuning.

I have no idea why that Indonesian phrase, apparently referring to a kind of lily they have over there, would have led to a blog about native plants in Texas.

bunga kaktus

None in Teksas. Kowabonga, all you [ancient] Howdy Doody fans.

pohon rotan

Boca Raton, anyone?

strange plant that grows in texas

There are lots of strange plants that grow in Texas. Lots of strange people, too.

prehat cindy

You mean Cindy before she put her hat on?

blooming hats
texan hat brim
brimmed hats for men

These searches apparently brought people to a picture of a Mexican hat.

mexican top hat plant

A Mexican hat is one thing and a top hat is another; a Mexican top hat would be one strange piece of headware, dude, and a plant that looked like that hat would be even stranger.

mexican guys on tumblr rare

The ones wearing Mexican hats are probably even rarer.

how many people use hats in mexico


rusty looking plant- 2 words

Someone seems to have been doing a crossword puzzle. What the person got taken to is rusty blackhaw, which probably wasn’t right for the puzzle, given that the word rusty was already in the clue.

yellow glow surrounding text

And I haven’t got a clue about which post of mine this person could have been taken to.

curls on green pictures

If you leave green pictures out in the sun they probably will curl up.

cover a piece of a leaf and it turns yellow

I wonder if that would happen to my skin if I covered a piece of it.

what is one theme of “what if a much of a which of a wind?

Sorry, student trying to get help on an assignment about that poem for an English class, but you found only a poverty of answers to your question in my post about poverty weed blowing in the wind.


Months have passed. Are you done now?

insects picturesbredyfly

A bird can fly but a fly can’t bird.





blue bud dwaft

This apparently led to a post about a dwarf—not dwaft—dandelion, which doesn’t have blue buds. Whether the searcher felt a dwaft at the time, I don’t know.

orange flowers you can draw

I wonder what makes some orange flowers drawable and others not.

men in flowers

I don’t know about men, but this one man has been in enough flowers that the search engine went ahead and counted me as a plural.

i’ve seen the same butterfly numerous times. what does it mean

It means that that kind of butterfly is common in your area.

mean butterfly

What did the mean butterfly do, bite you?

okay wolf

Okay, I did a post about a wolf spider.

spines on beetles

Which on which doesn’t seem to matter to the search engine, so how about a picture of a beetle on a spine?

common name of bindwee,purple

The common name of purple bindweed is purple bindweed.

sesbania herbacea scientific name

The scientific name of Sesbania herbacea is Sesbania herbacea.

a close look at flowers

You came to the right place!

where in texas are pretty wildflowers as of april 1 2012

On my blog, naturally!

where can i get black and white photos colorized in houston

Not on my blog in Austin, but that’s where the search engine brought you.

14 turkey’s eggs

How about two turkey vulture eggs?

white snail rain

Is that a lesser amount of rain than when it’s raining cats and dogs?

dağ çiçekleri

This Turkish phrase means ‘mountain flowers.’ I imagine it took the searcher to a post about snow-on-the-mountain.

фото семян клематиса

That translates as “Photo seed of Clematis.” Whether someone writing in Russian wanted to see seeds of a Clematis that’s native in Texas I don’t know, but that’s what the search engine led to.

flower glitter

My bright wildflowers got me
A place among the glitterati.

a weed that has a brown stem and have fluffies on them

Aw, those fluffies are so cute, who cares if they’re on a weed?

fluffy dee smith

Is she really fluffy? I hope she’s not a weed.

how to include human element in cemetery photos

You might try dying.

voyeur cam galore

Yep, there’s lots of nekkid female flowers on this blog.

. pretty and paid


wonderful lady and wonderful flower

Now that’s more respectable.

tiny 18

Tiny perhaps, but of legal age.

photo model sex mania
www sex mania com
sex mania
photo sex mania
sex mania mexico [twice]

I did a post about Zexmenia entitled Sex Mania. I can only imagine the letdown those seven searchers felt when they got taken to a picture of a wildflower.

grape infouresence

That’s the quintessence of a misspelling.

prairie aganilis

The search engine figured out that the person meant prairie agalinis.

plant that was hole for seeds

Can a plant be a hole, for seeds or otherwise?

what kind of flower grows up

Any kind of flower that doesn’t grow down.

champagne bubbles clip art

This apparently led to my photograph of algae bubbles in a local creek. Drinking that water, even on New Year’s Eve, is strongly discouraged.

techniques in order not to get

This led to a post entitled “In order not to have a pictureless day.”

resin drops with ants free people

I did a post about ants trapped in a drop of sunflower resin, but I have no idea what the searcher meant by adding “free people” to the query.

sycamore feeling

Wasn’t there a song about “Here comes that old sycamore feeling again”?

richly colored blue brown red photography

Do you have any idea how many photographs there are out there that are richly colored in blue, brown, and red?

wildflower ma gracia

What? Was your ma named Gracia?

yellow wildflower central texas

There’s only about a gazillion yellow wildflowers here, so good luck finding the one you’re after.

insects on plants by digital camera

Were the plants with the insects on them growing alongside a digital camera?


It’s almost certainly not what the searcher wanted, but I posted several pictures of plants growing in the parking lot of the Costco in north Austin.

lakeline mall austin

This would-be shopper got to see a dense late-spring display of wildflowers that happened to be on the fringe of that shopping mall—and no sales tax was charged on the view.

how look camphorweed?picture

I have a feeling this was not from a native speaker of English.

thorny plant that shoots his seeds

Don’t you love the his rather than its?

seeds look like a mop thorn

I pity any plant whose seeds look like a mop thorn.

show me a picture of a bulrush!

Did the person who wrote this think that putting the exclamation mark at the end would get a faster response?

magical properties of deer horn.

My picture of a deer antler was magical indeed.

sky sun good

me photographer good

views from bellow

I hope it hasn’t sounded like I’ve been bellowing.

flower of clarity

The caption under many of my photographs says to click for greater clarity.

good two flowers

This apparently led to my photograph of two crossed purple and white anemones. I’m glad the search engine found it to be a good picture.

focused flower

Yes, most of my pictures of flowers are in focus.

full clarity flower images

And they have clarity, too (especially if you click on them to undo some of WordPress’s crunching of images).

natural flowers and which is very rare found in india

There are people from India who live in my part of town, but that’s not so rare anymore. I don’t know if they have natural flowers.

great hills of nature

I often mention that I live in the Great Hills section of Austin and have taken many pictures in Great Hills Park. For me this part of town could indeed be thought of as great hills of nature.

flower, trees, skys, nature

Lucy in the skys with diamonds.

clear cover resin

Somehow I think this came from a person interested in handicrafts, not rosinweed.

resin eyes

But rosinweed flowers do have a sort of eye.

violins and flowers images

Maybe the violinists could’ve used the resin on their bows.

so, now since you are here, let’s replace violet with blue

So, now since you are here, let’s assume the query led to one of my comments about a flower with blue in its name (bluebell, bluebonnet, mealy blue sage) looking more purple than blue.

willow leaf tattoo

I never thought of it, but this willow leaf could become a good tattoo.

celtic willow tree leaves

Turns out that that willow leaf really was similar to one of three spirals in a Celtic goddess tattoo that a commenter mentioned having.

vine posts

Somehow I don’t think a blog post is the kind of post the person had in mind.

portriat of long beards

Maybe you can use a lariat to lasso those long beards.

harmonious portraits

Harmonious portraits I’ve got, but somehow I doubt the seeker was happy with the kinds of subjects in them.

i m always happy

I’m not.

richard van hessel

No idea who he is or how that search brought someone to my blog.

“suzanne elrod” “sculpture”

No idea who she is or how that search brought someone to my blog.

schwartzman flower

How nice to have a flower named after me.

louie schwartzman and ladybird johnson

Louie, schmooie: it’s Steve.

steven schwartzman children

I guess the search engine thinks of all these pictures as my children.

artists who have carried out work on flowers

Oh, the search engine recognized me as an artist! I’m the Michelangelo of milkweed, the Goya of goldeneye, the Rembrandt of rosinweed, the Miró of Mirabilis, the Titian of Tinantia, the Gauguin of Gaillardia, the Dalí of Datura, and the Monet of Monarda. You, too, can play the game and add other alliterative titles that link a famous artist to a native plant.

portraits of wildflowers steve
wildflowers steve
“portrait photography of wildflowers”

Yay, me! When I tried that third search myself in Google on November 14, this blog was first in the list of hits. I’m number one!

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 1, 2013 at 6:12 AM

Bushy bluestem

with 28 comments

Bushy bluestem; click for greater sharpness.

On the heels (bracts? roots? stems?) of the last post I’ll add that along with Mexican devilweed and many another member of the sunflower family, as well as cattails and sycamores, our native grasses also produce varying amounts of fluff when they go to seed. Most prominent among them in central Texas is the aptly named bushy bluestem, Andropogon glomeratus, which reaches its warm (in color) and fuzzy (in texture) peak toward the end of the calendar year or even early in the new one. This close-up is from January 3 at the Riata Trace Pond in northwest Austin. While I was at the pond I watched for a time as occasional gusts of wind blew away tufts of the seed-bearing fluff.

For more information about this wet-ground-loving grass, including a state-clickable map showing the many places in the United States where it grows, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 16, 2012 at 5:14 AM

Rattan fruit

with 26 comments

Rattan vine fruit and colorful leaves; click for more detail.

Berchemia scandens, the woody rattan vine that can strangle a tree, has surprisingly small fruits: each is only about a quarter to a third of an inch long and looks like a tiny grape. Behind the little cluster of them shown here you see two of the plant’s leaves illuminated by a shaft of late-afternoon sun that made its way through the darkling woods.

To learn more about the formidable rattan vine, and to see a map showing where in the southeastern United States it thrives, you can visit the USDA website. For those of you interested in photography as a craft, points 1, 4, 5, 8, and 12 in About My Techniques apply to today’s photograph.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 11, 2012 at 5:04 AM

Still stately

with 16 comments

Though it’s been a while since there have been any traces of green or yellow in the Maximilian sunflowers that you first saw flourishing on the restored prairie at Austin’s former Mueller Airport in early September, as the year wound down in late December I found that the remains of the erect plants in that location were still stately. I’ve long been intrigued by the scraggly shapes and toned-down colors of plants that have dried out, so from time to time some of them will appear here to keep the fresh and bright ones company.

For more information about Helianthus maximiliani, including a state-clickable map showing the many places in the United States and Canada where you may find these wildflowers still standing stately, you can go to the USDA website. For those of you who are interested in the craft of photography, points 1, 3 and 8 in About My Techniques are relevant to today’s photograph.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 8, 2012 at 5:08 AM

Like a green and white reptile

with 32 comments

Green and white algae; click for greater detail.

The picture that you saw two days ago of bubbles and algae came from a creek in my northwestern part of Austin, but because the tree-blocked light reaching the water was dim on that late afternoon of December 28, I determined to go back the next day at a time when the sun would be higher. So that’s what I did, and although I was disappointed to find that most of the bubbles had disappeared overnight, my compensation was discovering a type of algae I’d never noticed before. It had alternating green and white bands, and the first phrase that came into my head, based on the patterning, was zebra algae, but a closer look made me change that to snake algae and then reptile algae. Take a look for yourselves and see what you think. If there are any algologists* out there who know what this actually is, please let us know. In the meantime we’ll consider ourselves free to use our imaginations and see it as whatever we’d like.


* Several dictionaries assured me that there really is such a word; I learned that a person who studies algae can also be called a phycologist.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 4, 2012 at 5:05 AM

Some bubbly

with 45 comments

Click for much greater size and better detail.

No doubt some of you toasted in the New Year with a glass of champagne, but I had my own dose of bubbly a few days earlier. Near 4 o’clock on December 28th I found myself wandering along a stretch of a nameless creek, a tributary of the Bull Creek that has featured in these pages several times. Because of our recent rain the creeks were flowing again after months of being totally dry, and already algae had come back to parts of the creek beds. With the algae came bubbles, and with both of those came I, camera in hand(s), to see what I could record in the shade of the waning day.

You may have heard me say that I rarely include human elements in nature pictures, but in aiming my camera straight down into the bubbles that afternoon there was no way I could avoid having them act like little convex mirrors; so there you see a hatted me reflected in a few of the larger bubbles, elbows partly raised as I leaned in close to take the picture. Call me a Narcissus if you like, but an unintentional one, as I didn’t see my little clones until I looked at the image spread out across the computer screen later on.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 2, 2012 at 5:12 AM

Some fun with search criteria

with 44 comments

Now that the clock has passed midnight here and it’s officially the first day of 2012, I’d like to drink in a bit of the spirit of the strange New Year’s resolutions that people occasionally make, and do something on the light side for a change. The usual fabulous nature photographs that have taken take your breath away lo these eight months and have made so many of you want to elect me president of the United States (or whatever other country you live in) and put me in your will as sole beneficiary will resume tomorrow.


After I’d been hosting my other blog for a while, I became aware of some of the strange (to me) phrases that people had searched for in their browsers and that had brought them to one of my entries. Because WordPress provides me with a list of all those search strings, I can now have a little fun by showing you some of the phrases that led to this native plant photography blog over the eight months of its existence. I’m impressed with the way search engines can decipher mangled spellings, but I also have to ding search engines a few points for bringing people here when I don’t have anything that matches what the searchers were after.

For better or worse — and mostly worse — here are some of the things that people have searched for that led them to this blog; any comments of mine appear indented under the search strings:

people leaf

I’ve got a beard, but as far as I know, no people have leaves.

leaf of people tree

Here it was again, a few months later. I’m beginning to wonder if the searchers meant a poplar tree, whose genus is Populus, which coincidentally means ‘people’ in Latin.

if its in amber is it living

It’s rather hard for something to keep breathing when it’s encased in amber.

climp means

My online dictionary says “No entries found.” Then it asks “Did you mean?”, followed by this list: “blimp, chimp, clamp, climb, clip, clomp, clump, crimp, limp.” Take your pick.



how do i noticing guest

I don’t know. How do you noticing guest?

the wind of sun flower

Maybe we can tap into sunflower wind as a renewable resource.

plant a feather

If you can plant a feather and get it to grow, I’d like to know about it.

sunflowers in back of truck

In one post I mentioned a truck depot, but that post doesn’t have the word sunflower in it.

eduard mottled

I hope Éduard got over his attack of mottling.

flower store hours austin

My online store of flower pictures is open for viewing 24 hours a day.

fresh shout outs on plants are curled up

Did the person mean “sprouts” or perhaps “shoots”?

a weed with union like stem with a white flower

Make that onion-like.

nature hesay

What’d he say?

what is the spanish word for alamo

The Spanish word for alamo is alamo.

family portraits at the alamo

I don’t think the person bargained for portraits of wildflower families.

burning sycamore leaves -bad for you

And it’s bad for the leaves, too, especially if they’re still on the tree.

show me pichers of wildflowers

Yup, I showed you “pichers” of wildflowers all right.

orange stripped caterpillar

This blog is PG: no stripping allowed.

suflower syalk

The search engine miraculously deciphered this as sunflower stalk.

preaky pear internal structure

And the search engine deciphered this as prickly pear.

wildflowers that show up after rainrain lillies

This blogblog has shown manymany.

purple plus white is blue

Although the claim is dubious, it led to the post entitled “Red, white, and blue—plus purple.”

клематис цветок фото [Klematis tsvetók foto, meaning ‘Clematis flower photo’]

Someone searching in Russian for a picture of a Clematis flower was brought to a Clematis drummondii in Texas.

fash climbing clematis

I showed pictures of climbing Clematis, but I never said how “fash” it grows (nor did I say that for me this plant never goes out of fashion).

daun pohon elm


cedre fulla


mexican hat places in kerrvill tx

My guess is that the person was looking for real hats from Mexico in Kerrville, not the flower called Mexican hat.

cyprus plant grows out of wall

This led not to the island of Cyprus but to a post about bald cypress.

bald cypress growing in new york

I guess if you were on the moon Austin would look like a suburb of New York, wouldn’t it?

lamatis clouds

The search engine interpreted that first word as Clematis, but I have no idea what the searcher intended.

illinois tollway

Neither of those two words appears in any entry anywhere in this blog.

mountain of bud

green leaves

I just tried a search for “green leaves” and got over 33 million hits. I’m honored to have been among the top hits that the searcher must have gotten—unless he read through a good chunk of the 33 million before getting to one of my posts.

i have drunk, and seen the spider

This struck me as bizarre, but in doing a search I found out that it’s a line from Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. I’ve shown a few pictures of spiders in this blog, but none of them have had anything to do with drinking, although it’s true that spiders can only take their food in liquid form.



sunflower is ?

I think a sunflower is a kind of flower.

what is the scientific name for the macro plant

I have plenty of macro photographs of plants but I don’t believe there’s any such thing as a macro plant.

why are a lot of my macro shots blurry?

Probably because you don’t hold your camera steady enough.

i have seen large purple flowers on bindweed what plant is this

I think the purple flowers on bindweed are from the plant called bindweed.

i just cant get enough schwartzmann

Honestly, I didn’t make that up; I wouldn’t misspell my last name.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman (with one n at the end)

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 1, 2012 at 12:01 AM

Christmas cactus

with 29 comments

Christmas cactus; click for greater detail.

Given that today is December 25, it’s only appropriate to present you with a picture of Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, or Christmas cactus, so called for its green joints and bright red fruits that compensate for their small size by appearing in large numbers and by lasting into the winter. The plant’s slender and roughly cylindrical joints have inspired the alternate name pencil cactus. Yet another name is tasajillo, a diminutive of the Spanish tasajo that means ‘jerky,’ though I confess I don’t know what part of the plant reminded people of preserved meat.

This multiply named cactus is native to northern Mexico and to the parts of the southwestern United States shown on the state-clickable map at the USDA website.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 25, 2011 at 5:05 AM

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