Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Bastrop

Carstopper

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While driving on Park Road 1C in Bastrop County on August 23rd I spied a plant standing right at the edge of the pavement that was so unusual it made me pull over as soon as I could. It turned out to be the same Liatris aspera, known as tall gayfeather and tall blazing-star, that you recently saw here (do have a look back at the second picture in that post for comparison), but fasciation had greatly distorted the upper part of this budding specimen. The closer view below, which shows the plant rotated about 90° from its orientation when I took the first picture, reveals details of the super-duper wide flattened stalk, along with other irregularities. Call it strange and you’ll get no argument from me.

I chose to post these pictures today to coincide with Wonderful Weirdos Day, even if the creators of that celebration, being people, had their own kind in mind. All I can say is fasciated plants are my kind of people.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 9, 2020 at 4:40 AM

Tall

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When we visited the Bastrop forest on August 14th in search of Liatris elegans, which we happily found, we also noticed many conspicuously tall, erect plants of a different species, Liatris aspera, known appropriately as tall liatris, tall blazing-star, and tall gayfeather. Almost all those plants were still only budding on August 14th, so nine days later we headed back on the assumption that enough time would have passed for a bunch of the buds to have opened. And so they had. Above you see two buds beginning to open, and then a mixture of buds and flower heads. Notice how the buds open from the top of each spike downward.

Notice also how there’s a flower head at the apex of each spike. On one spike that was still short enough for me to look down at its top, I photographed the opening flower head at its tip.

You see below what a fully open flower head looks like:

And here’s another thought by our friend Blaise Pascal (1623–1662), from his Pensées (Thoughts): “Dire la vérité est utile à celui à qui on la dit, mais désavantageux à ceux qui la disent, parce qu’ils se font haïr.” “Speaking the truth is useful for those to whom it is spoken, but harmful for those who speak it, because people will hate them for saying it.”

I just found out that François de la Rochefoucauld (1613–1680) said something similar in his Maximes: “Le mal que nous faisons ne nous attire pas tant de persécution et de haine que nos bonnes qualités.” “The bad things that we do don’t lead to as much persecution and hatred of us as do our good qualities.”

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 2, 2020 at 4:33 AM

I cotton to snake cotton

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I rarely come across snake cotton (Froelichia gracilis), so I got excited on August 2nd when I discovered a colony of it in a dry sump at the edge of Great Hills Park. On one of the snake cotton plants I noticed spiderwebs and soon saw the spider. Below is the picture I took of it using daytime flash and a small aperture; that combination gives the impression of dusk rather than broad daylight.

Then on August 14th out beyond Bastrop I found a few stalks of snake cotton
and was able to get a picture showing one of the plant’s small and inconspicuous flowers:

Here’s an unrelated quotation for today:
“Qui grate beneficium accipit primam eius pensionem solvit.”
“Anyone who receives a benefit with gratitude repays the first installment of it.”
Here’s an alternate translation (I wanted to make it sound more colloquial):
“If you accept a favor with gratitude you’ll repay the first installment on what you owe.”
Seneca the Younger in De Beneficiis (On Benefits).

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 28, 2020 at 4:32 AM

Liatris elegans in two stages

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On August 14th we drove some 40 miles east of home and spent a while beyond Bastrop for the first time since last year. Based on a report I’d read, I hoped to find some flowering Liatris elegans, a species that doesn’t grow in Austin. Find some I did. A few of the plants had already even gone to seed, as you see below.

The only species I see in Austin, Liatris punctata var. mucronata, has purple flowers. In fact every other species of Liatris I’m aware of has purple flowers, so the yellow really is special.

And here’s a quotation for today: “Let us not underrate the value of a fact; it will one day flower in a truth.”
— Henry David Thoreau, “Natural History of Massachusetts.”

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 27, 2020 at 4:42 AM

Some last pictures from Bastrop

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On June 6th we’d gone to Bastrop by traveling south and then east, so we spiced up the return to Austin by heading north from Bastrop and then turning west. The show-stopper (and me-stopper) along TX 95 was a colony of beebalm, Monarda punctata, interspersed with brown-eyed (also called black-eyed) susans, Rudbeckia hirta. Below is a view of some susans in their own right that I’d hung out with while still in Bastrop State Park. As you can confirm, the excellent wildflower spring of 2019 hadn’t yet quit by early June.

Oh, and do you see that bare dead tree in the upper left of the second landscape? I walked up to it, wanting to isolate it against the sky, but I couldn’t find a position from which it appeared completely by itself. Below is the best I could do; at least I got a puff of a cloud as an accompaniment.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 22, 2019 at 4:38 PM

Like the torch the Statue of Liberty holds aloft

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Soft goldenaster, Chrysopsis pilosa, in Bastrop State Park on June 6th.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 20, 2019 at 4:43 AM

Whorled milkweed

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How convenient for a photographer: growing right at the edge of the path we walked on in Bastrop State Park on June 6th were some flowers whose structure yelled out “Milkweed!” Not recognizing the species, I later looked in Michael Eason’s Wildflowers of Texas, which led me to conclude the plant was whorled milkweed, Asclepias verticillata. Below is a closeup showing a developing seed pod, beyond which you can again make out the characteristic color of the iron-rich earth in Bastrop.

While preparing this post I realized that five years ago I showed a picture of a milkweed in New Mexico with a slightly different scientific name, Asclepias subverticillata.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 18, 2019 at 4:49 PM

Colorful Bastrop

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Of permanent appeal in the Bastrop area is the iron-rich earth.


The first two photos show varied shades of it along the path we trod in the state park on June 6th.

I also found a few prematurely colorful leaflets on a winged sumac bush,
Rhus copallinum. You’re looking at two of them.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 17, 2019 at 4:44 AM

Posted in nature photography

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Bastrop burned tree remains

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Bastrop State Park. August 11. Remains of the horrendous forest fire of 2011.

If you’re interested in the craft of photography, points 3, 14, 18, and 19 in About My Techniques pertain to this picture.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 21, 2017 at 4:48 AM

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