Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘colony

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


Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 21, 2018 at 4:44 AM

Indian paintbrush colony flowering

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On April 10th we followed leads from Craig78681 and Betty Wilkins to head southeast in search of good wildflower displays. We ended up driving a 114-mile circuit that took us as far to the southeast as the intersection of TX 20 and TX 71 outside Bastrop. Today’s photograph shows the welcoming Indian paintbrush colony (Castilleja indivisa) we found there. That display made quite a contrast with Austin, where we didn’t see a lot of Indian paintbrushes this spring.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 18, 2018 at 4:51 AM


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As we begin colonizing 2018, I’m reminded of the appealing little plants that had colonized flat, open areas in several places along Alberta’s Icefields Parkway when we drove north along it on September 4th of what we now get to call last year.

Not knowing what these feathery plants were, I appealed to the Alberta Native Plant Council, and the answer came back that they are a species of Dryas, probably D. drummondii or D. octopetala. I learned that Dryas is in the rose family, and its seed heads are similar to those of its family mate Fallugia paradoxa, known as Apache plume.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 5, 2018 at 4:55 AM

Rocky Mountain iris colony

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Click to enlarge.

On June 9th, after we’d driven clockwise more than half-way around the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway north of Taos, New Mexico, I came across this happily flowering colony of Rocky Mountain irises. Given the wildflower’s popular name, which I learned on the trip, I was later surprised to find out the scientific name is Iris missouriensis. As far as I know, the Rocky Mountains don’t make it into that state; sorry, Missouri.

Today’s picture confirms what the website of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center says of this species: “it often forms dense, large patches in low spots in pastures, where the tough leaves are avoided by cattle.”

After the reactions to the rattlesnake in the previous post, I’ll bet many of you are relieved to see wildflowers again.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 15, 2017 at 4:49 AM

Coreopsis flowering

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On May 5th Eve and I drove up to the town of Cedar Park, which borders the northern reaches of Austin, to check out the new Whole Foods 365 that opened there a couple of weeks earlier. Lots of construction had gone on (and is still going on) in the area recently, and on a piece of disturbed ground we noticed a good stand of coreopsis flowering. The next morning I went back with my camera equipment to photograph the colony of Coreopsis tinctoria.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 10, 2017 at 4:51 AM

Another kind of sumpweed

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Do you remember the picture of narrowleaf sumpweed from a few weeks ago? We have a second species of Iva in central Texas, Iva annua, known as annual sumpweed. On September 28th I found some growing in a hollow in a dense mound of broomweed, Amphiachyris dracunculoides. The location was along a new street called Wildhorse Ranch Trail in Manor. All the land there is getting developed, but in the meantime I’ve visited several times and taken lots of pictures.

Now you can say to your friends: “I’ve a picture of Iva.”

© 2106 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 27, 2016 at 5:06 AM

Tapestries of yellow

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In a comment this morning about the picture of a dense partridge pea colony, MelissaBlueFineArt spoke of “whole tapestries of yellow, shimmering from lemon yellow to old gold.” Normally the flowers of partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata) are of a yellow that leans toward orange, but in the colony that I photographed on September 7th along Central Commerce Dr. in Pflugerville I was quickly drawn to a very few plants with flowers of an unusually pale yellow that I don’t recall ever seeing in this species anywhere else.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 18, 2016 at 8:43 AM

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