Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘fruit

Tip-top tuna

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As you probably already knew and recently heard here, compared to the northern United States, Texas is too far south and therefore too warm for a lot of grand fall color. Most of the relatively little we get leans more to yellow and brown than to red. That said, one saturated red we count on seeing as autumn advances each year is that of a ripe tuna. In this case it’s obviously not the word for a fish: Spanish uses tuna to designate the fruit of a prickly pear cactus (Opuntia spp.), and English has increasingly followed suit.

When I made up the post’s title I planned to include only the view from above, above.
Later, for people not familiar with this kind of fruit, I added a view from the side, below.

These pictures come from my neighborhood on November 2nd. The sheen is natural; I didn’t use flash.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 13, 2018 at 4:58 AM

Fall colors at Stillhouse Hollow

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Another source of colorful fall foliage down here is the Texas red oak tree (Quercus buckleyi). Well into the afternoon on November 26th at northwest-central Austin’s little-known Stillhouse Hollow Nature Preserve I aimed upward to record the colors in the leaves of one of those oaks contrasted with the blue of the sky. The network that the many darker branches created appealed to me as well.

While at the preserve I also recorded the shades of magenta in six clusters of American beautyberry fruits (Callicarpa americana) that were in varied stages of drying out.

Click to enlarge.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 10, 2018 at 4:43 AM

American beautyberry fruit clusters

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There’s nothing to carp at in the ripe fruits of Callicarpa americana, called American beautyberry. I found this bush along the upper reaches of Bull Creek on September 2nd. Light filtering through the surrounding trees kept shifting with the leaves as they moved in the breeze, making it hard for me to catch all six fruit clusters lit up at the same time.

© Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 17, 2018 at 4:47 AM

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A red theme

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Wanderers through countryside with lots of prickly pears (Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri) know that the cactus often attracts certain bugs. This is one of those, Narnia femorata, on a tuna, or fruit of the prickly pear cactus, in the Zilker Nature Preserve seven years ago today. The bug is a nymph in one of its early instars, which are the developmental stages that the larva of an insect passes through. Click below if you’d like a closer look at the bug as it appeared in a different frame.

Although Texas in the summer of 2011 was suffering one of its worst droughts in decades, when I recently looked back at my archive for August 12th of that year I saw that I went photographing in four locations that day and ended up with hundreds of pictures, like this one along Scenic Drive of ripe snailseed fruit (Cocculus carolinus):

I also found from looking at my archive that I went out taking pictures on 19 of the 31 days in that torrid August of 2011. You could say that I lived up to the motto of the USPS (United States Photographic Service): “Neither heat nor drought nor sun nor sweat stays these intrepid image gatherers from the due documentation of their appointed rounds.”

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 12, 2018 at 4:49 AM

The end of winter

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Today, March 20th, marks the official end of winter this year. Nature in Austin hadn’t waited that long. The photograph above, taken six days ago at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, shows a possumhaw tree (Ilex decidua) that had largely greened out while still densely laden with the bright red fruits it wore all winter. A clear blue sky pleasantly set off the other two colors. Aiming upward near midday let sunlight transluce the new leaves.

(Not long ago you saw a landscape view from Valentine’s Day showing a possumhaw in its winter form, which is to say totally leafless.)

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 20, 2018 at 4:45 AM

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Possumhaw fruits brightening a misty morning

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Several times the bright red fruits on a bare possumhaw tree (Ilex decidua) had caught my eye along the route that lets traffic heading southeast on the access road of US 183 merge onto the southbound access road of Mopac. On this year’s cool and misty Valentine’s Day morning I finally celebrated the red by parking as close as I could to the possumhaw, walking across several lanes of intermittently coming cars, and then stepping onto the ground beyond, there to wield my camera. Today’s picture gives no hint of the noisy traffic zooming by less than a hundred feet away on Mopac. Mixed in with the possumhaw are some bare branches of flameleaf sumac (Rhus lanceolata). The greenery in the lower right is from a related bush with the apt name evergreen sumac (Rhus virens).

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 12, 2018 at 4:58 AM

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The squirrels are at it again

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What the fox squirrels (Sciurus niger) are at again is eating some of the little red fruits from the yaupon trees (Ilex vomitoria) in Austin. Here’s a piece of the action right outside my computer room window on January 19th. Notice that while this squirrel held on to the trunk of an Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei) with its right paw it used its left paw to pull a cluster of yaupon fruits against its mouth so it could bite one off.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 27, 2018 at 4:46 AM

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