Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Fort Davis

Not all stalks so tall are sotol

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Agave with Seed Stalk by Rock Outcropping 9207

After showing you a so-tall sotol, I thought I should show you another tall-stalked plant that grows in the Chihuahuan Desert, the agave, also known as the century plant. Several species of Agave grow in the area but I don’t know which one this is.

In the foreground, notice the so-called cow’s tongue prickly pear, a variety that was found a little over a century ago near San Antonio and has been cultivated in other places since then. People also plant agaves in many locations outside their natural range; that’s the case in Austin, for example, where they’re a common sight.

Today’s photograph comes once again from the grounds of old Fort Davis on November 20.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 19, 2015 at 5:16 AM

Berlandiera lyrata

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Chocolate Daisy Flower Head 9278

In the collection Chantefables et chantefleurs (Sing-fables and Sing-flowers) the 20th-century French poet Robert Desnos included “La Fourmi” (“The Ant”):

Une fourmi de dix-huit mètres
Avec un chapeau sur la tête,
Ça n’existe pas, ça n’existe pas.
Une fourmi traînant un char
Plein de pingouins et de canards,
Ça n’existe pas, ça n’existe pas.
Une fourmi parlant français,
Parlant latin et javanais,
Ça n’existe pas, ça n’existe pas.
Eh ! Pourquoi pas ?

An ant 59 feet long
With a hat on its head:
That doesn’t exist, that doesn’t exist.
An ant pulling a float
Full of penguins and ducks:
That doesn’t exist, that doesn’t exist.
An ant that speaks French,
That speaks Latin and Javanese:
That doesn’t exist, that doesn’t exist.
Hey! Why not?

In that spirit, I’m tempted to ask: A flower that smells like chocolate and grows in the desert? Hey! Why not? Why not indeed, when Berlandiera lyrata, known as chocolate daisy, fits the bill. I found this one on the grounds of old Fort Davis on November 20.

DID YOU KNOW?  Vanilla and chocolate, which serve as the two most popular flavors of ice cream, both originated in Mexico.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 18, 2015 at 5:30 AM

Home away from home

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Goldeneye Flowering in Fort Davis 9457

Although 400 miles west of home in the Trans-Pecos, I noticed a few old friends that also grow natively in Austin. Pecan and cottonwood and mesquite trees were among them, and so was Viguiera dentata, a bush known as goldeneye or sunflower goldeneye. Here you see one flowering on the grounds of the old Fort Davis on November 20. Thanks to Prof. Michael Powell of Sul Ross State University for confirming the identification.

Before leaving Austin for west Texas I’d noticed a few flowers on several goldeneye bushes in my Great Hills neighborhood, but nothing to write home (i.e. to you) about. Within a couple of weeks of my return, though, I found that some of the goldeneyes in northwest Austin were putting on a good show. Below is an example of one from Arboretum Blvd. late on the afternoon of December 4.

Goldeneye Densely Flowering 0660

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 16, 2015 at 4:40 AM

Arrowleaf mallow

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Arrowleaf Mallow Flower 9384

On the grounds of old Fort Davis on November 20 I found this little wildflower. Thanks to Prof. Michael Powell of Sul Ross State University in Alpine for confirming that it’s an arrowleaf mallow, Malvella sagittifolia. Below is a view at a different angle of a second specimen I found nearby.

Arrowleaf Mallow Flower 9390

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 12, 2015 at 4:37 AM

Tree cholla cactus

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Cholla Cactus 9223

As you’ve been seeing, yellow proved to be a conspicuous color during our stay in the Trans-Pecos region of west Texas. Often the yellow came from the leaves of deciduous trees, but here that color stood out in the fruits of the cactus known as tree cholla (Cylindropuntia imbricata var. arborescens) on the grounds of old Fort Davis on November 20.

© Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 7, 2015 at 4:52 AM

Cottonwood trees turning yellow at Fort Davis

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Cottonwood Trees Turning Yellow at Fort Davis 9239

One of the things that caught my attention at the site of Fort Davis was a row of cottonwood trees (Populus deltoides) whose leaves had turned yellow. You’re seeing two of those cottonwoods here, and you’re also getting a glimpse of another section of the cliffs that border one side of the camp. The picture below provides a closer look at some of the bright yellow leaves on another cottonwood tree in this row.

Cottonwood Leaves Turned Yellow 9250

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 6, 2015 at 5:22 AM

Fort Davis

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Fort Davis Fort Site Cliffs 9444

The town of Fort Davis in west Texas is named for the fort that the United States military maintained there from 1854 to 1891. People can still visit the remains and partial reconstruction of the fort, as we did for several hours on the morning of November 20th. The site is bounded along one edge by a long row of cliffs, a span of which you can see in the distance. Also shown here, as Eve first spied it, is a stony face wearing a turban, at least if your imagination accords with hers. You’ll be seeing several more zoomorphic and anthropomorphic images over the next couple of weeks, so get your imaginations in good working order.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 5, 2015 at 5:29 AM

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