Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘flowers

Light and dark in Galveston County

with 10 comments

As you saw a couple of posts ago, on October 4th we went on a field trip to a property in Galveston County managed by the Marathon Oil Company. The visit produced these two moody portraits showing the opening bud on a green milkweed, Asclepias viridis, that we found growing there. I can’t help thinking of side and front views on a prison rap sheet, only here it’s native plants that are wanted.

The contrast between white and black stood out in this growth on a fallen and decaying pine trunk:

Dark and light characterized the seed head remains of a brown-eyed susan, Rudbeckia hirta:

On a much larger scale, a venerable tree (perhaps an ash) at another property on the field trip also intrigued me with its interplay of light and shadow as well as the hollowed-out part of its trunk:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Advertisements

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 18, 2019 at 4:48 AM

Yellow beneath the pines

with 46 comments

As part of the Native Plant Society of Texas’s annual symposium in League City, on October 4th I joined a field trip to a property in Galveston County managed by the Marathon Oil Company. There I found some seaside goldenrod, Solidago sempervirens, whose buds were opening. Parallel rows of pine trees in the background formed a convenient frame. Well, actually not so convenient, as I had to get down and contort myself to line up the goldenrod properly while struggling to keep everything vertical.

Also growing near the pines were some swamp sunflowers, Helianthus angustifolius:

How about an artsier portrait that shows a swamp sunflower bud beginning to open?

Neither of these species grows in Austin, so both were new to me.
Here’s one of the goldenrods that a pine needle cluster had fallen onto:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 14, 2019 at 4:47 AM

Not many people at Niagara Falls

with 38 comments

Okay, so this post’s title is misleading; in fact hordes of tourists were at Niagara Falls when we visited on July 25th. Nevertheless, not many people at Niagara Falls photograph the plants there, but you could count on me to get a few botanical pictures. The first one shows swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium). In the second photo you’re seeing fruit clusters on a staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina).

Thanks to horticulturalists at the New York State Parks Department for identifying the species of the milkweed and the sumac. I didn’t ask them to try to figure out the identity of the tree whose remains you see standing below; perhaps it was another sumac.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 12, 2019 at 4:36 AM

Another new species for me

with 33 comments

On the bank of Bull Creek in St. Edward’s Park on September 26th I came across a plant with small flower heads (maybe a third of an inch across) that I didn’t recognize. I could tell that it clearly belonged to the sunflower family, and that was all. Not knowing what it was didn’t keep me from taking some pictures, helped along by intermittent sunlight filtering through the treetops and reaching the plant.

After I got home I started going down the Asteraceae section of Bill Carr’s Travis County plant list, looking on the Internet for pictures of each species I wasn’t familiar with to see if I could make a match. Fortunately I didn’t have to go too far down the list, as the plant turned out to be Bidens frondosa. According to a Wikipedia article, “its many common names include devil’s beggarticks, devil’s-pitchfork, devil’s bootjack, sticktights, bur marigold, pitchfork weed, tickseed sunflower, leafy beggarticks, and common beggar-ticks.” Those names allude to the plant’s fruit, which I haven’t yet seen. The USDA map shows this species growing in the 48 contiguous American states except Montana.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 10, 2019 at 4:38 AM

Native lettuce

with 31 comments

I’m always happy when I can show off a native species that I’ve finally found after reading about it for a long time. So it is with Lactuca ludoviciana, which apparently goes by the names western wild lettuce, Louisiana wild lettuce, prairie lettuce, prairie wild lettuce, and biannual (or biennial) lettuce. This view, which comes from September 7th adjacent to Bull Creek, looks downward; the brown is from dried tree leaves on the ground. Prairie lettuce is scattered across much of the central and western United States and Canada. The species is in the same Cichorieae tribe of the sunflower family as the skeleton plant you saw here in July.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 7, 2019 at 4:36 AM

More cardinal flowers

with 27 comments

Ms. Liz, MelissaBlue and Michael Scandling were up for seeing more cardinal flowers, so here are two group portraits of Lobelia cardinalis that I made along the upper reaches of Bull Creek on September 26th. Notice how the quality of the red ends up different depending on where the sun is coming from, what’s in the background, and how the camera’s sensor and computer render those things. Then, of course, the processing software adds its interpretation, as does the processor, a.k.a. me.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 2, 2019 at 4:30 PM

A good time for cardinal flowers

with 37 comments

Above is a rather trippy picture—thanks to all those orbs in the background—of a happy cardinal flower plant (Lobelia cardinalis) along Bull Creek on September 7th. Below you get a closer look at a budding plant there.

Now it’s three weeks later and the cardinal flowers along Bull Creek continue to have a good time, with new plants still flowering. If any of you folks are dying to see more pictures of cardinal flowers, let me know and I’ll yield to unremitting reader pressure.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 30, 2019 at 4:41 AM

%d bloggers like this: