Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘fruit

Mesquite pods

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While on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin on August 24th I spent time at a mesquite tree, Prosopis glandulosa, whose many pods caught my attention. Indian tribes in what is now Mexico and the southwestern United States used to grind the pods to make a sweet flour. In fact many places sell mesquite flour today. There’s even a Texas mesquite group on Instagram. And it isn’t just people who like mesquite: I noticed plenty of ants attracted to the pods, presumably due to their sweetness.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 3, 2019 at 4:42 AM

Two kinds of little red things

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When I walked into my computer room early in the afternoon on February 22nd and looked through the window I noticed lots of birds zipping around in the trees. As little as I know about birds, I immediately recognized those as cedar waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) that had come to devour the little red fruits (technically drupes, colloquially called berries) on the yaupon tree (Ilex vomitoria) right outside.* We have several other yaupons on the property, and when I checked I found that the birds were intermittently feeding on them, too. Over the next half-hour I did my best to photograph some of the action, both shooting through windows and walking around outside as well. For whatever reason, these yaupon-devouring cedar waxwings proved more skittish than the ones I photographed nine years earlier, and the light was dull, so I didn’t get pictures as good as on that other occasion. Nevertheless, here’s an okay photo of what was going on.

The title of today’s post promised two kinds of little red things. The second, which I don’t recall ever noticing before, is the not-always-easy-to-see red tips on the birds’ inner secondary wing feathers. Those tips reminded people of red sealing wax, and that accounts for the common name waxwing.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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* We’re on the slope of a hill, and although we live in a one-story house the window in the computer room is at second-story height, which puts me conveniently at the same level as most of the fruit on the yaupon tree.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 2, 2019 at 4:48 AM

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What I’d actually stopped to photograph

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First one and then another recent post showed things I photographed along the northern end of Spicewood Springs Rd. on February 6th. What I’d actually stopped to take pictures of there is the possumhaw (Ilex decidua) that you see below. My intention on that overcast and drizzly morning was to make a rich but subdued portrait using a telephoto lens, and that’s what I did.

On the way home I checked out a creek in the northern part of my neighborhood. There I found a few more fruit-laden possumhaws and also noticed that some of the trees’ red drupes had fallen on the limestone creekbed. Here’s a downward view of one that ended up isolated on some subtly colored rocks.

Bright green mosses cushioned other fallen possumhaw drupes nearby.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 19, 2019 at 4:28 AM

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More from nature on December 25, 2018

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Here are more things I encountered west of Morado Circle on the morning of December 25, 2018.
It’s not unusual to find a hole in the pad of a prickly pear cactus (Opuntia engelmannii).

Look at the complexity in the dense branches of a dead Ashe juniper tree (Juniperus ashei).
Some seed-capsule-bearing limbs of a Mexican buckeye tree (Ungnadia speciosa) reached in from behind.

Why this patch on the top surface of an otherwise dark rock was so light, I don’t know.

The bright fruits of a yaupon tree (Ilex vomitoria) in front of
an Ashe juniper may strike you as appropriate for the date.

And look at the wireweed that had sprouted in the power lines overhead.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 28, 2019 at 4:57 AM

Pointillism in red

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The manifold fruits made manifest in Texas by the dropping of the leaves on the possumhaw trees (Ilex decidua) toward the end of fall are a pointillist pleasure. I’ve usually waited till January each year to go out scouting for fruit along what I’ve nicknamed the Possumhaw Trail, the stretch of TX 29 between Liberty Hill and Burnet. With others’ reports and my own observations of good fruit already by late November of 2018, we did the drive on December 15th. The densest specimen we found was the one shown here a little west of Bertram. Note that while some leaves remained on the tree, they were turning pale and wouldn’t linger.

Photographically speaking, this picture exemplifies point 15 in About My Techniques.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 3, 2019 at 4:44 AM

An appropriate view from my computer room window

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Behold a red and green yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) casting shadows onto the otherwise sunny trunk of an Ashe juniper tree (Juniperus ashei) on the morning of December 4th. You may remember from the beginning of this year a close-up of a squirrel biting off one of these little fruits from the same yaupon tree.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 25, 2018 at 4:43 AM

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What hedge apple, horse apple, monkey ball, Osage orange, and mock orange refer to

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The previous post highlighted (and backlighted) the yellow leaves on a tree that botanists call Maclura pomifera. The vernacular names hedge apple, horse apple, monkey ball, Osage orange, and mock orange all refer to the tree’s large and rugged fruits. Today’s photograph shows some that still clung to branches at the Arbor Walk Pond on December 3rd. In case you’re wondering, these fruits aren’t edible, at least not to people. Pit in Fredericksburg reports having seen deer eating them and a squirrel struggling to haul one up a tree; you can read descriptions in his second set of comments on the last post.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 16, 2018 at 4:37 AM

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