Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Austin

Not everything is pristine. In fact, very little is.

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As an example of the thought in the title, take these two pink evening primrose flowers, Oenothera speciosa, that I photographed near Yaupon Dr. in my extended neighborhood on April 1st. If that’s too bedraggled for your taste, I’ll relent and balance it with a picture of a pink evening primrose flower that remained mostly pristine even in the stiff breeze on the Blackland Prairie in Round Rock seven days later. So windy was it that I set the camera’s shutter at 1/800 of a second in hopes of stopping the flower’s movements. You’ll recognize that the background color comes from the colony of bluebonnets, Lupinus texensis, that the pink evening primrose had managed to find a roothold in.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 21, 2018 at 4:44 AM

Four-nerve daisy upstaged

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The upstager was a budding wild garlic, Allium drummondii, in the median of Morado Circle on April 5th.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 20, 2018 at 4:37 AM

Another white variant

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In a recent post you saw a pretty white variant of a spiderwort, a wildflower that is normally purple or magenta or violet. Another purplish wildflower that occasionally shades to white is the bluebonnet, Lupinus texensis, one of the five lupine species in Texas that are collectively the official state wildflower. I found this pleasantly pale bluebonnet in the median of Morado Circle in my neighborhood on April 5th. The tiny tan insect is a thrips (that’s one of those nouns ending in -s whose singular and plural are spelled and pronounced the same way, like series and species).

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 17, 2018 at 4:51 AM

A tiny bee

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Strangely, this tiny bee didn’t leave the Texas stork’s bill (Erodium texanum) even when I handled the flower. To give you a sense of scale, I’ll add that flowers of this species are about one inch across (for the metrically minded, that’s 2.5 cm). If you’d like a closer look at the unbothered bee, click the icon below. The date was April 1st, Easter Sunday, and the place was Yaupon Dr. in my extended neighborhood.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 16, 2018 at 5:01 AM

Bug nymph on four-nerve daisy

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In contrast to the willful four-nerve daisy flower head (Tetraneuris linearifolia) you saw last time, the flatness of this one that I found on the same April 1st outing had me aiming straight down at it.

You’ll remember that each “petal” of a daisy is actually an independent flower known as a ray flower. The rays (14 in this case) ray-diate out from the flower head’s center, which is made up of many smaller individual flowers of a different type, known as disk flowers. It’s common in daisies for the disk flowers to form overlapping spirals, some of which go out from the center in a clockwise sense, and others in a counter-clockwise sense. If you count the number of disk-flower spirals in each direction, you typically get consecutive Fibonacci numbers. There’s a confirmation of that in the following enlargements of this four-nerve daisy’s disk. Go ahead, count the number of spirals going each way and you’ll see:

In the unlikely event that anyone ever asks you if daisies know how to count, you can confidently and Fibonaccily say yes.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 13, 2018 at 4:35 AM

Unkempt four-nerve daisy

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A common wildflower in Austin, and one that’s found here for most of the year, is the four-nerve daisy, Tetraneuris linearifolia. Here’s the rather wildly arrayed flower head of one seen from the side. Look at the midsection of the ray pointing “northeast” and you can easily count the four “nerves” that have given the species the first part of both its scientific and popular names.

I took this photograph on April 1st along Yaupon Dr. in my extended neighborhood.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 12, 2018 at 4:53 AM

Two diminutive wildflowers

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Austin is home to several species of verbena. The often overlooked little one shown above is Verbena canescens, known as gray vervain (from verveine, the Old French development of Latin verbēna). Each flower is no more than a quarter of an inch (6mm) across.

On the same April 1st outing along Yaupon Dr. in my extended neighborhood I found some Drummond‘s skullcap, Scutellaria drummondii, which you see below. Both plants are fuzzy and produce flowers of a similar color, though not shape, given that they’re in different botanical families. Today is only the second time that each wildflower has appeared here.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 10, 2018 at 4:30 AM

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