Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘purple

Basket-flower in two stages

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On May 26th, before I photographed the colony of basket-flowers (Plectocephalus americanus) in Pflugerville that you’ve already seen, I’d stopped on Burnet Rd. by the old Merrilltown Cemetery in far north Austin to check out the basket-flowers I’ve come to count on each spring stretched out along a roadside ditch and at the edge of the property next to the cemetery. While wind made my work difficult, I did get some good pictures of a developing basket-flower “basket” in front of a fully open flower head of the same species. I don’t recall making a portrait like this one in my two decades of photographing basket-flowers, so the picture pleases me in its own right and because of its novelty.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 5, 2019 at 4:44 AM

A new oddity

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On March 10th I went back to the lot along Balcones Woods Dr. where I’d photographed the stemless evening primrose flowers you saw here not long ago. The highlight of my latest stop was a strange ten-petal anemone flower (Anemone berlandieri) that had two central fruiting columns instead of the one that’s normal.

Sometimes flower parts get doubled as part of the phenomenon called fasciation, which I’ve documented in a bunch of posts over the years, but this time I didn’t see any of the noticeable flattening or distortion or elongation that fasciation typically brings with it. To continue investigating, I returned to the site on March 16th. By then the richly colored sepals had fallen off and dried out or blown away, so I had to search for several minutes to find the plant again. While the new evidence shown below argues against fasciation, what caused the rare splitting of one seed column into two remains a mystery. (I call this conjoining rare because even a local expert like botanist Bill Carr says he’s never seen an anemone do this.)

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 19, 2019 at 4:34 AM

First native spring wildflower

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Click to enlarge.

On January 28th I discovered a colony of flowering anemones, Anemone decapetala, along Talleyran Dr. This is truly a wildflower of the coming season, in contrast to the several holdovers you’ve seen on and off here for the last couple of months. Some anemones are white, others purple, and some a mixture of the two colors, as shown here.

Anemone flowers usually stay close to the ground, so in making my portrait I couldn’t avoid the patchy light beyond this one. At least I managed to keep that patchwork pretty much out of focus.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 30, 2019 at 4:42 AM

Another wildflower in winter

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Gulf vervain (Verbena xutha) west of Morado Circle on December 25, 2018.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 26, 2019 at 4:30 AM

A differently shaped and colored wildflower in December

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In case you thought yesterday’s picture of bright yellow camphorweed barely counted for wildflowers in December because the flowering came only three days into the month, here’s a picture of a droplet-covered prairie verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida) on the misty morning of December 18th at the Riata Trace Pond.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 24, 2018 at 6:59 AM

Purple wood-sorrel flower opening

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From the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, here’s an opening bud of purple wood-sorrel, Oxalis drummondii, on September 26th. Since then I’ve continued to see these small flowers in various places around Austin, including right at home. Speaking of which, if you’d like to see what an open flower of this species looked like in our yard in 2016, you can check out a post from then.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 13, 2018 at 4:33 AM

When five is four

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Five is the normal number of petals for the flowers of Solanum elaeagnifolium, known as silverleaf nightshade. Five is what every field guide I’ve looked at says. Five is how many petals I’ve always seen in the two decades I’ve known this common Texas wildflower.

Nevertheless, on September 2 at a property along Lost Horizon Dr. that’s getting houses built on portions of it, I found a silverleaf nightshade flower with just four petals. Because of the way adjacent petals in this kind of flower are fused at their edges, it doesn’t seem possible that the specimen started out with five petals and then lost one. Below is a slightly downward view from the other side of the flower that once again clearly shows four 90° angles rather than the expected five 72° angles.

For comparison, here’s the back of a regular silverleaf nightshade flower at the same location.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 5, 2018 at 4:28 AM

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