Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Illinois

Sand cherry

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sand-cherry-flowering-7764a

Did you know that cherries are in the same genus as plums and peaches? ‘Tis true, and that genus is Prunus, a word you recognize as the source of the prune that is a dried plum. Here you see some flowers of Prunus pumila, known as sand cherry, that I found at Illinois Beach State Park on June 9th.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 25, 2016 at 4:50 AM

Posted in nature photography

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Ceanothus herbaceus

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ceanothus-ovatus-flowers-6843

Yet another wildflower from Illinois Beach State Park on June 7th: Ceanothus herbaceus, called prairie redroot and Jersey tea. This species grows in Austin, too, even if I’ve rarely gotten to see it there. (Speaking of Austin, I’m far away from home now, so I may be slow in responding to comments.)

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 24, 2016 at 5:04 AM

Milkweed buds

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Melisa Pierson: "It is usually less than 2' tall, and the leaves are variable from narrow to wide oval. I do see quite a bit of variation out there, in fact, I thought there were 2 different species but research tells me that it is one species. I am seeing an increase of it at Illinois Beach."

On June 9th at Illinois Beach State Park I photographed this cluster of milkweed (Asclepias spp.) buds. In looking at the picture now, I like the way the curves and lines of the elements farther back complement the buds whose closest tips are sharply detailed in the foreground.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 12, 2016 at 4:53 AM

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And what is so rare as a day in June?*

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Castilleja sessiliflora, downy yellow painted cup. "An extremely rare plant in our area...Probably the world's easternmost colony of the natural range of this species occurs near Zion in Lake County, Illinois, where it grows in sandy soil..." ~Swink & Wilhelm

Make that: And what is so rare on a day in June? Answer: Castilleja sessiliflora, known as downy yellow painted cup, which I photographed at Illinois Beach State Park on June 9th. In identifying this wildflower for me, Melissa Pierson quoted Swink and Wilhelm: “An extremely rare plant in our area…. Probably the world’s easternmost colony of the natural range of this species occurs near Zion in Lake County, Illinois, where it grows in sandy soil….” Here’s a closer look from lower down:

Castilleja sessiliflora, downy yellow painted cup. "An extremely rare plant in our area...Probably the world's easternmost colony of the natural range of this species occurs near Zion in Lake County, Illinois, where it grows in sandy soil..." ~Swink & Wilhelm

Most Castilleja species I’ve seen in person or in pictures have had reddish-orange bracts. The closest in color that any central Texas Castilleja species comes to what you see in this photograph is Castilleja purpurea var. citrina.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


* The title is the opening line of a once-well-known poem by the once-well-known American poet James Russell Lowell.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 8, 2016 at 5:01 AM

Killdeer

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Killdeer Near Nest on Beach 8021B

At Illinois Beach State Park on June 14th we noticed a lot of clutter in one place, as you see in the first photograph. Flitting in and out of that clutter was a bird that I learned is a killdeer, Charadrius vociferus.

The “cage” of dead branches rising from the beach sand obviously wasn’t natural but had been placed there by people. When we got closer we could guess at the reason for the uprights: to mark the killdeer’s nest and keep walkers from accidentally treading on it, given how easily a passerby might take the eggs for just a few more stones out of the thousands on the beach.

Killdeer Eggs 8034

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 24, 2016 at 4:50 AM

Minuartia michauxii var. michauxii

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Michaux's Sandwort Flowers 7083

This post’s title is a mouthful. Only a little better are the common names Michaux’s stitchwort and Michaux’s sandwort. One article notes that the plant “is a gorgeous low-growing ground cover for dry, sandy, or rocky soils in full sun from New Hampshire to Virginia, with a disjunct population in the dunes around Lake Michigan.” Sure enough, I took today’s photograph at Illinois Beach State Park on June 7th.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 23, 2016 at 5:00 AM

That which we call a rose

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"There are 3 species of native roses that grow along the Beach and the river: Rosa blanda, R. carolina, and R. palustris. They all bloom there at about the same time, and their habitats intermingle, and they are very difficult to differentiate, but my guess would be that we saw R. blanda."

It may be the case that that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet, but changing out the sense of smell for that of sight, here’s an already faded native rose that I made a non-traditional portrait of at Illinois Beach State Park on June 7th.

As for which species this was, Melissa Pierson wrote: “There are 3 species of native roses that grow along the beach and the river: Rosa blanda, R. carolina, and R. palustris. They all bloom there at about the same time, and their habitats intermingle, and they are very difficult to differentiate, but my guess would be that we saw R. blanda.”

That said, I hope you won’t find this portrait bland.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 21, 2016 at 5:10 AM

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