Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘flowers

Carlsbad canyons

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No, the title isn’t a typo or thinko: I meant Carlsbad canyons. While almost everyone goes to Carlsbad Caverns National Park to see the caverns, the road in from the highway passes through some scenic canyons whose grand scale makes them worth stopping for in their own right, as we found out on June 14th. It’s a harsh land of little rain, where many plants have a hard time making a go of it.

One plant that thrives there is Dasylirion wheeleri, known even in English by the name that the Spaniards took from the Aztecs: sotol. Below you see a sotol flower stalk (which people joke is so tall).

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 22, 2017 at 5:08 AM

Cryptantha thyrsiflora

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Atop Scott’s Bluff in western Nebraska I saw some smallish white flowers that later got identified as Cryptantha thyrsiflora. Vernacular names for the plant include calcareous cryptantha, calcareous popcornflower, limestone cat’s eye, mountain cat’s eye, and miner’s candle. By the time I took this picture on May 29th, many of the flowers had already wilted, as you can see.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 14, 2017 at 4:50 AM

Soar, sunflower, soar

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Helianthus annuus. Cedar Park, Texas. June 22.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 10, 2017 at 3:34 AM

And here’s a look at those Maximilian sunflowers in their own right

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Behold some Helianthus maximiliani along the North Walnut Creek Trail on July 24th. A couple of nearby Maximilian sunflower flower heads played the role of the golden glow behind the bluebell in yesterday’s portrait. I’ll repeat what I mentioned in a comment: I’d already found some Maximilian sunflowers blossoming along this trail on June 21st, a good two months before even the earliest part of their traditional bloom period. Let me add that last year in my neighborhood I found one of these plants flowering on May 5th. Regardless of the season, Maximilian sunflowers always strike me as cheerful.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 26, 2017 at 4:53 AM

What I found yesterday

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Went walking yesterday morning along the North Walnut Creek Trail to see if any bluebells (Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum) had come up where I’d found them last year. Sure enough, a few had, and they were adjacent to some Maximilian sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani). If you know those sunflowers, you may be surprised at how early they’re blooming. Prepare to be more surprised when I tell you I found some already flowering along this trail on June 21st, a good two months before even the earliest part of their traditional bloom period.

© Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 25, 2017 at 4:55 AM

More than petroglyphs and a shade-seeking squirrel

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At Petroglyphs National Monument in Albuquerque on June 13th I saw plenty of flowering broom dalea plants (Dalea scoparia). Unlike the squirrel that tried to stay in the shade, these plants thrive in heat and bright sunlight. Here’s a closer look:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 20, 2017 at 5:02 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

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