Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Blackland Prairie

Green milkweed pod releasing its seeds

with 31 comments

After I took pictures of a large sunflower colony along Gregg-Manor Rd. east of TX 130 on June 10th, I noticed on the other side of the road a green milkweed plant (Asclepias viridis) with a split-open pod whose seeds and silk the breeze was freeing. As is my common practice, I got close to the ground so I could aim upward to position the seeds and silk against the morning’s blue sky. And as has occurred from time to time over the years that I’ve been doing nature photography, a good Samaritan stopped—right in the road, with a few cars behind her—to see whether I was ailing and needed help. After I stood up and turned around she saw my camera and realized what I’d been doing. And now that we’re back on Gregg-Manor Rd., I might as well add another view of the yellowlicious sunflower colony that caused me to pull over there in the first place, and without which I probably wouldn’t have caught sight of the opened milkweed pod.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 21, 2020 at 4:37 AM

A good sunflower colony

with 35 comments

Click to enlarge.

A recent post focused on two sunflowers in a large colony. Now here’s a panorama showing how wild sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) can take over a field. I found this bright yellow colony on the Blackland Prairie along Gregg-Manor Rd. east of TX 130 on June 10th. Texas knows how to do wildflowers, yes indeed.

I’m tempted to say the way I cropped this photograph shows the influence of my Indian friend Pano Rama, but I would never say such a thing.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 15, 2020 at 7:45 AM

Sunflower, king of the prairie

with 50 comments

Okay, so the title that actually popped into my head when I was on the prairie two days ago was “Sunflower, king of the universe.” As much as I liked it, it struck me as maybe a little hyperbolic, so I toned it down. This was the field of sunflowers I’d headed out to find when I stumbled across the one that brightened up the background in yesterday’s picture. A member of the Texas Wildflowers group on Facebook had shown a few pictures of this large colony, which turned out to be in the northwest quadrant of E. Howard Lane and Harris Branch Parkway way out on the Blackland Prairie in Austin’s full-purpose annexation zone.

Note: this is Helianthus annuus, the anything-but-common “common” sunflower.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 12, 2020 at 4:47 AM

Velvet gaura backlit

with 15 comments

Velvet gaura (Oenothera curtiflora) is indeed velvety, and never is that more noticeable than when the plant is backlit by a sun not far above the horizon. So stood the sun and even lower stood I at 7:16 in the morning on September 3rd. The location was the Blackland Prairie just east of Lake Pflugerville.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 16, 2019 at 4:45 AM

Sunflowers on the prairie

with 45 comments

Behold the flower head of a “common” sunflower, Helianthus annuus,
on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin on August 24th.

Sunflower seed head remains also have their appeal, whether from the front or from behind.

As much as I normally don’t like shooting up into a white sky,
once in a while it serves as a good way to isolate a subject.

You may imagine the stem at the bottom of the second image continuing on into the stem
at the top of the third image. I didn’t do that on purpose but I like the way it came out.

©2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 9, 2019 at 4:41 AM

Dynamic snow-on-the-prairie

with 27 comments

Here’s a dynamic look at snow-on-the-prairie, Euphorbia bicolor,
at Parmer Lane and Wildhorse Ranch in Manor on August 24th.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 6, 2019 at 4:48 AM

Mesquite pods

with 29 comments

While on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin on August 24th I spent time at a mesquite tree, Prosopis glandulosa, whose many pods caught my attention. Indian tribes in what is now Mexico and the southwestern United States used to grind the pods to make a sweet flour. In fact many places sell mesquite flour today. There’s even a Texas mesquite group on Instagram. And it isn’t just people who like mesquite: I noticed plenty of ants attracted to the pods, presumably due to their sweetness.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 3, 2019 at 4:42 AM

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

with 34 comments

Okay, so I don’t live on a ranch but I do live in Texas, and now that we’ve been back for two weeks I should begin interpolating an occasional current picture into the continuing travelogue. Today’s photograph from August 24th on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin shows an opening flower of Clematis drummondii, the vine colloquially known as old man’s beard.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 27, 2019 at 4:51 AM

Just your run-of-the-mill fabulous Texas wildflowers

with 24 comments

Meister Lane cul-de-sac on the Blackland Prairie along the border between Austin and Round Rock on May 26.

Red = firewheels (Gaillardia pulchella)

Yellow = sundrops (Oenothera berlandieri)

Yellow-green = prairie parsley (Polytaenia nuttallii)

Purple = prairie verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida)

Pale violet = horsemints (Monarda citriodora)

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 13, 2019 at 4:43 AM

Prairie bishop writ large

with 22 comments

The Blackland Prairie on the west side of Heatherwilde Blvd. north of Wells Branch Parkway looked so good on May 9th that I went back three days later and once again took a slew of pictures. The star in many of them was Bifora americana, called prairie bishop or prairie bishop’s weed. Hardly a weed it is, and having a great spring it is, too. Also prominent in the first photograph: square-bud primroses, Oenothera capillifolia; firewheels, Gaillardia pulchella; prairie parsley, Polytaenia nuttallii.

The upright dark stalks in the second image are drying Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa, some red flowers of which you also see approaching the end of their reign.

These three pictures show the Blackland Prairie’s version of snow in May.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 14, 2019 at 4:53 PM

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