Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘buds

Kansas: one out of five

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Last month we drove up to Kansas City for the wedding of a former student of mine. On the way back home on April 25th we came south through Kansas along US 169, and after I saw some wildflowers I felt compelled to stop in two places. I ended up photographing five species, of which only one turned out to be native. That’s a terrible average, but I guess I should be thankful for the one native: Baptisia australis, known as wild blue indigo, blue wild indigo, and blue false indigo*. One characteristic I noticed about this species is that the plant’s stems feel stiff and rubbery.

Last year I posted two pictures of Baptisia alba, white wild indigo, from our visit to Illinois.

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* Those names are zero for three in color accuracy, at least for me, because my eyes and brain see the color of these flowers as violet or purple.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 18, 2017 at 4:49 AM

Wild garlic buds opening

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Allium drummondii between Arboretum Blvd. and Loop 360 on March 14.

Point 4 in About My Techniques is relevant to today’s photograph.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 25, 2017 at 5:04 AM

Old plainsman buds opening

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Again from the strip of land between Arboretum Blvd. and Loop 360 on March 14th, here are some opening buds of old plainsman (Hymenopappus scabiosaeus). Don’t you find them sculptural?

As with the previous image, I had to lie down to take this photograph, given that the small buds were little more than a foot (0.3m) above the ground. Unlike the Indian paintbrush and bluebonnet shown in the last post, old plainsman is a native plant that few people pay attention to, much less appreciate. On the contrary, I suspect many consider it a weed. Not I.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 17, 2017 at 4:50 AM

Milkweed buds

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Melisa Pierson: "It is usually less than 2' tall, and the leaves are variable from narrow to wide oval. I do see quite a bit of variation out there, in fact, I thought there were 2 different species but research tells me that it is one species. I am seeing an increase of it at Illinois Beach."

On June 9th at Illinois Beach State Park I photographed this cluster of milkweed (Asclepias spp.) buds. In looking at the picture now, I like the way the curves and lines of the elements farther back complement the buds whose closest tips are sharply detailed in the foreground.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 12, 2016 at 4:53 AM

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I know more about cosh than cohosh

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Black Cohosh Flowers and Buds 8675

I know more about cosh* than cohosh. That said, on the way back home from the Midwest we stopped for a couple of nights in Bentonville, Arkansas, to visit the Crystal Bridges Museum for a second time, and on the museum’s landscaped grounds on June 20th I photographed some appealing flowers and buds of black cohosh, Actaea racemosa var. racemosa. The genus name was formerly Cimicifuga, which means ‘makes bedbugs go away,’ and an alternate common name is bugbane, but whether black cohosh really has that property, I don’t know.

If you’re interested in the craft of photography, I’ll add that in taking this picture I made good use of point 4 in About My Techniques. The fact that a shaft of sunlight illuminated the black cohosh inflorescence amplified the contrast between black and white. Points 1, 2, and 18 also came into play.


* In trigonometry, cosh is the hyperbolic cosine.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 25, 2016 at 5:12 AM

Not from Syria

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Asclepias syriaca Buds 7533

From the Volo Bog State Natural Area in Lake County, Illinois, on June 7th, here are some buds of common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca. Its distribution across America is wide, but that doesn’t excuse the botanist who jumped the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and named this species after Syria.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 7, 2016 at 4:56 AM

Prairie meets bog

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Prairie Smoke Buds 7186

One of the first native plants we encountered when Melissa took us to the Volo Bog on June 7th was Geum triflorum, known as prairie smoke. Here you see a few buds. From what I’ve read online, the flowers of this species occur in threes. From what I’ve seen with my own eyes, the flowers of Geum triflorum are quite different from those of the Geum canadense that grows in Austin.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 17, 2016 at 5:29 AM

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