Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘flower

Eschscholtz’s buttercup

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When I came across this wildflower in Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park on August 29, 2017, I knew from the resemblance to native buttercups in Austin that I was looking at a relative. A little research has led me to believe that the flower in Alberta was an Eschscholtz’s buttercup, Ranunculus eschscholtzii. Other names for it are subalpine buttercup and spruce-fir buttercup.

This someone with an sch in his name has almost never encountered a name with two consecutive occurrences of sch. If you’d like to know more about the double-sch man, you’re welcome to read an article on Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz. Look near the end for an unexpected connection between that early-19th-century naturalist and mid-20th-century nuclear weapons.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 12, 2018 at 4:57 AM

Viny competition

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The previous post featured a flower of Cynanchum racemosum var. unifarium, known as talayote. The plant is a milkweed vine, and its viny nature is clear in the picture above, which shows some talayote twined around the stalk of a Mexican hat, Ratibida columnifera. Also in evidence in the photograph, and likewise looking for a foothold on other plants, is some Clematis drummondii, known as old man’s beard based on its appearance in a later phase.

They say you can’t tell the players without a scorecard, so here it is.

Twining vine: talayote
Linear vine: old man’s beard
Heart-shaped leaves: talayote
Tripartite leaves: old man’s beard
Whitish-green buds: talayote
Darker buds: old man’s beard

Below, also from May 25, 2011, in my northwest Austin neighborhood, is a closer look at talayote grabbing a Mexican hat seed head.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 22, 2017 at 4:47 AM

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Time for prairie agalinis

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What would autumn in Austin be if I didn’t show you at least one picture of prairie agalinis (Agalinis heterophylla)? This October 21st portrait is from the same property in my hilly northwestern part of Austin where I found a ladies’ tresses orchid.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 30, 2017 at 4:42 AM

Ladies’ tresses and queen’s delight

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Yesterday morning I got my annual wake-up call in the form of an e-mail from Meg Inglis alerting me that the Great Plains ladies’ tresses orchids (Spiranthes magnicamporum) in her area to the west of Austin were flowering. Within a couple of hours I went to a place in my part of town that has been reliable for that species, and sure enough, I found some orchids that were doing their thing. In other years I’ve shown you ladies’ tresses in isolation, so this year for variety I’m giving you a picture of an orchid I found yesterday touching a plant called queen’s delight (Stillingia texana).

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 22, 2017 at 4:56 AM

Rocky Mountain beeweed

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As if to corroborate the common name Rocky mountain beeweed, I found a native bee on these flowers of Cleome serrulata at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in northern New Mexico on June 12th. An online article about this species notes that other vernacular names for the plant are stinking-clover, bee spider-flower, skunk weed, Navajo spinach, and guaco. This wildflower is a relative of the clammyweed that grows in Austin.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 20, 2017 at 4:50 AM

A floral balance at Kasha-Katuwe

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In addition to balanced rocks at Kasha-Katuwe in northern New Mexico on June 12th, here’s a balanced jimsonweed flower (Datura wrightii). Note the tiny native bee on the left side of the flower.

I’d pulled off to the side of the entrance road to photograph the jimsonweed and had barely gotten out of my car when a tribal policeman stopped his patrol car to see what I was up to. I guess very few visitors pull over at a place that doesn’t offer a view of the rock formations.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 18, 2017 at 4:48 AM

Haven’t shown you this for a good while

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2014 was the last time I showed you a flower of the pearl milkweed vine, Matelea reticulata. To compensate for that long lapse, here you have not one but two pearl milkweed flowers I photographed on a vine in my neighborhood on June 22nd. What happy propinquity.

If these flowers weren’t so common here, they’d be rare.* What I mean is that while pearl milkweed readily grows in northwest Austin, it’s easy to forget how seldom we see green flowers, much less any that possess net-like patterns and have a tiny pearly shelter covering their center. Notice that the central structure is curvily pentagonal, with each vertex gesturing toward the tip of a pointy petal. Milkweeds speak in fives.**

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* Google turned up no hits for “If they weren’t so common, they’d be rare,” so I’ll claim that witticism.

** In this case Google says I’ve just spoken a novel four-word sentence about fiveness.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 12, 2017 at 4:54 AM

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