Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘prairie

More from Huffman Prairie

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At Dayton’s Huffman Prairie on July 21st I found colonies of wild bergamot, Monarda fistulosa.
The USDA map shows it growing in all of the lower 48 states except California and Florida.
(When Steve Gingold mentioned this species in June I’d never knowingly seen any. A month later I had.)

I also saw two kinds of yellow composites that I wasn’t familiar with. Daniel Boone at the
Cincinnati Wildflower Preservation Society identified them for me as wingstem, Verbesina alternifolia,

and prairie dock, Silphium terebinthinaceum. Notice the echinacea in the background.

The kind of dark beetle that I saw on another prairie dock might have been the nibbler of the ray flowers.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 25, 2019 at 4:47 AM

Huffman Prairie Pink

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Huffman Prairie looms large in the history of aviation because it’s the place in Dayton, Ohio, where the Wright Brothers improved their early flying machines to the point of being reliably controllable in the air. According to a source that I read during our trip, Huffman Prairie also happens to be the largest native prairie remnant in the state of Ohio today. When we visited on July 21st we found plenty of wildflowers managing to flourish in the glaring summer light and heat. Prominent among them was a colony of echinacea (Echinacea purpurea.)

Here’s what an individual flower head looks like:

And here’s a somewhat bedraggled fasciated double flower head I noticed there:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 19, 2019 at 4:46 AM

Just your run-of-the-mill fabulous Texas wildflowers

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Meister Lane cul-de-sac on the Blackland Prairie along the border between Austin and Round Rock on May 26.

Red = firewheels (Gaillardia pulchella)

Yellow = sundrops (Oenothera berlandieri)

Yellow-green = prairie parsley (Polytaenia nuttallii)

Purple = prairie verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida)

Pale violet = horsemints (Monarda citriodora)

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 13, 2019 at 4:43 AM

Takeoff

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As I approached the pond adjacent to Naruna Way on the prairie in northeast Austin on May 9th I noticed a white egret (Casmoderius albus) on the near bank. Hoping for a picture, I switched from a wide-angle lens to a 100–400mm telephoto and slowly advanced. As soon as I raised the camera to try for a photo, the egret apparently didn’t like my sudden motion and took off. The one picture I managed to get is at least dynamic. Notice the drops of water clinging to and falling from the bird’s toes.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 16, 2019 at 4:46 AM

Prairie bishop writ large

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The Blackland Prairie on the west side of Heatherwilde Blvd. north of Wells Branch Parkway looked so good on May 9th that I went back three days later and once again took a slew of pictures. The star in many of them was Bifora americana, called prairie bishop or prairie bishop’s weed. Hardly a weed it is, and having a great spring it is, too. Also prominent in the first photograph: square-bud primroses, Calylophus berlandieri; firewheels, Gaillardia pulchella; prairie parsley, Polytaenia nuttallii.

The upright dark stalks in the second image are drying Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa, some red flowers of which you also see approaching the end of their reign.

These three pictures show the Blackland Prairie’s version of snow in May.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 14, 2019 at 4:53 PM

The Blackland Prairie does its spring thing

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The east side of Austin lies in the ecoregion known as the Blackland Prairie, named for its rich soil. When land there is left alone, as a plot on the west side of Heatherwilde Blvd. north of Wells Branch Parkway has been for some years now, spring brings colonies of wildflowers like those shown here on May 9th.

The white flowers that draw your eyes are prairie bishop’s weed, Bifora americana. The mostly red ones are Gaillardia pulchella, called firewheel and Indian blanket, which proliferate in May. The mostly yellow-orange wildflowers are greenthread, Thelesperma filifolium, also abundant in the spring. The tall plants with yellow-green flowers are prairie parsley, Polytaenia nuttallii. Below is a view in which the parsley predominates. I believe the dark little thingies are seed head remains of the greenthread.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 13, 2019 at 4:41 AM

Lake Pflugerville

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This morning we walked part of the path around Lake Pflugerville on the Blackland Prairie.
One thing that caught my attention was the reflection of a bare tree.

Another thing was a shaft of light in the clouds.

At the edge of the lake near the main parking lot I noticed seed head remains of bushy bluestem
(Andropogon glomeratus) and cockleburs (Xanthium strumarium) among the cattails (Typha latifolia).

I took these photographs with my iPhone.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 4, 2019 at 5:00 PM

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