Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Blackland Prairie

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

Advertisements

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, Calylophus berlandieri; 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

More from my hours on the Blackland Prairie

with 12 comments

While out on the prairie on October 27th looking for Maximilian sunflowers and finding plenty of them, I also came across a colony of goldenrod (Solidago altissima) along Bratton Lane whose flowers were happily fresh.

Some of the plants were simultaneously drying out and putting forth new flowers:

All those goldenrod flowers attracted a slew of insects, including this monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus):

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 1, 2018 at 4:42 AM

A triangular array of gorgeous Maximilian sunflowers

with 63 comments

October 27th was the first completely sunny day here for the past two months, so out I went that morning to photograph my first Maximilian sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani) of the season. As I drove around on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin and adjacent Pflugerville and Round Rock, I ended up taking pictures at seven sites in what stretched to over five hours. In the southeast quadrant of A.W. Grimes Blvd. and Louis Henna Blvd. in Round Rock I photographed this triangular floral display:

As dazzling a display of yellow as it was, I’m sorry to tell you that these flowers were growing all by themselves at a construction site, so this was most likely the last time any Maximilian sunflowers would be there. To see the scene as it actually was and to imagine yourself in my place as I scrunched close to the ground and worked hard to isolate the flowers from all the distracting human elements around them, go ahead and click the tiny thumbnail below.

As the two photographs taken together demonstrate, there are times when even in the unlikeliest of places “pure” nature photography is still possible.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 30, 2018 at 4:48 AM

Water primrose

with 29 comments

 

The cheerful flowers of water primrose (Ludwigia octovalvis) are a reliable sight at the edges of ponds and creeks in central Texas. I photographed this one on August 17th close to the newly created street of Bachman Dr. on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin. Below is a rather abstract view showing a cobwebbed water primrose seed capsule.

I was surprised to learn recently that this species grows in many parts of the world and that its original native range is uncertain.

UPDATE: Thanks to Tanja Britton for correcting yesterday’s post. What I’d thought was a chipmunk turned out to be a golden-mantled ground squirrel.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 30, 2018 at 4:55 AM

Delta arrowhead

with 36 comments

After seven years of promoting local native wildflowers, here’s one I’ve never shown before: Sagittaria platyphylla, called delta arrowhead. I photographed it in a pond on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Texas on August 17th. Light reflecting off water droplets and passing through my camera lens caused the little nonagons in the upper right. I could’ve taken them out but left them in in the interest of geometry (and so I could write a sentence with in in in it—which now means I’ve also written a sentence with in in in in it, and could extend the series at will).

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 26, 2018 at 4:53 AM

Snow at the hottest time of the year

with 12 comments

On August 17th on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin I photographed some snow-on-the-prairie (Euphorbia bicolor) just a few feet from the partridge pea you saw here last time.

From a distance, many people incorrectly assume the green and white bracts are part of the flower; actually those patterned bracts are specialized leaves. Even the lobed white “collar” around the stamens isn’t part of the flower, nor are the smaller involucral glands those lobes are appended to. In spite of appearances, this flower has no petals. For a much closer look, click the icon below.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 24, 2018 at 4:49 AM

%d bloggers like this: