Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘colony

A glorious bluebell colony

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Yesterday I drove up to San Gabriel Parkway in Leander to photograph what may have been the largest colony of Texas bluebells (Eustoma sp.) I’ve ever seen. The property had a barbed wire fence around it, so I had to take my pictures from the outside. For the second view, I bent over and shot between the strands of wire.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 24, 2020 at 4:40 AM

Green milkweed pod releasing its seeds

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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

Fasciated double Mexican hat

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My first instance of fasciation for 2020 came on May 16th along Lost Horizon Drive. Mexican hats (Ratibida columnifera) in my neighborhood were approaching their peak around then, so I made plenty of portraits, individually and in small groups. (That’s also where I photographed a beetle on a buffalo gourd flower.) On the way back to my car after working for a couple of hours I noticed the double Mexican hat shown here. The fact that the flower stem was a little flattened suggested that fasciation was at work. What I find unusual, even for that phenomenon, is that the flower head on the right was so much more developed than the one on the left. If you’d like to see other instances of fasciation, you can scroll through some.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 18, 2020 at 4:40 AM

Happy horsemints

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On June 8th I was driving along Greenlawn Blvd. in southern Round Rock when I saw a colony of sunflowers and doubled back to check it out. Leaving my car in the parking lot of the adjacent construction site for a school, I walked over and discovered a great colony of horesemints (Monarda citriodora) that hadn’t been easy to see from the road. The horsemints were a trifle past their prime but still looked good, as you can confirm.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 11, 2020 at 4:29 AM

National Prairie Day

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Click to enlarge.

Today is National Prairie Day. As my salute to it, here are more views of the flowerful Blackland Prairie remnant along Heatherwilde Blvd. in Pflugerville. I made my fifth visit in a week to that site, and perhaps my last for 2020, on May 11. In the top picture, the tall plants topped with yellow flowers in the foreground are Texas parsley, Polytaenia texana. The mostly red flowers are Indian blankets, Gaillardia pulchella, and the white ones are prairie bishop, Bifora americana. Additionally in the second picture the different red flowers are Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa. The yellows are square-bud primroses, Oenothera capillifolia, and the yellow-orange ones are greenthread, Thelesperma filifolium.

Click to enlarge.

And below from the same site on May 6th is a flower I don’t often see, white rosinweed, Silphium albiflorum. You can tell how rough the leaves are, and I’ll add that they’re quite stiff as well.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 6, 2020 at 4:38 AM

Nine years

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Nine years ago today I put up this blog’s first post, which featured a basket-flower (Plectocephalus americanus) with a soft cloud beyond it. On May 10th of this year I drove to the site in Round Rock where I made that important portrait in 2000 and was relieved to find basket-flowers and others still flourishing there on the Blackland Prairie. Then I drove a quarter-mile east to a site that had later become my favorite for basket-flowers, given the expanse and density of the basket-flower colonies that I found there in most years. Alas, the entire site had been razed in preparation for development! Today’s picture shows how things looked there in the spring of 2014, and how I’ll always remember the place.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 4, 2020 at 4:24 AM

Mexican hat on a strangely curving stalk

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From a “vacant” lot in northwest Austin on May 19th comes this Mexican hat (Ratibida columnifera) on a stalk that had curved so far it left the developing flower head upside down. The saturated reds and yellows of the greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium) and Indian blanket (Gaillardia pulchella) in the background make this picture as much about color as form.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 1, 2020 at 4:39 AM

Horsemint flowering among firewheels

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By May 19th, when I took this picture at a “vacant” lot in northwest Austin, horsemints (Monarda citriodora) were coming into their own. In the background was a good colony of firewheels (Gaillardia pulchella).

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 26, 2020 at 4:34 AM

The alternating predominance of white and red in two more views of lush wildflowers on the Blackland Prairie in Pflugerville on May 6th

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Red with yellow fringes = firewheel, Indian blanket; Gaillardia pulchella.
Yellow = sundrops, square-bud primrose; Oenothera capillifolia.
Yellow-orange = greenthread; Thelesperma filifolium.
White = prairie bishop; Bifora americana.

The dark vertical stalks are the remains (with a few flowers) of Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 20, 2020 at 4:39 AM

Almost a monoculture

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Some Texas wildflowers grow so densely as to form a virtual monoculture. That was the case with these firewheels (also called Indian blankets), Gaillardia pulchella, on the Blackland Prairie in Pflugerville on May 6th.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 16, 2020 at 4:38 AM

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