Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘red

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

Posted in nature photography

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Green lynx spider with hatchlings

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Click for greater clarity.

On December 1st last year, upon approaching a prairie flameleaf sumac tree (Rhus lanceolata) in Cedar Park to photograph its fall foliage, I noticed that one bunch of leaflets had been pulled together to make a shelter. I soon figured out that a green lynx spider (Peucetia viridans) had created the shelter as a nest. Plenty of hatchlings scurried about, no doubt disturbed by my close presence and the closer presence of my camera.

Of the various pictures I took there, I chose to show this one because the two curved sumac leaflets in the upper right with the hatchlings on them somehow reminded me of a Hokusai wave. (Hey, that’s all the way over in Japan, so my imagination has a right to be far-fetched.)

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 2, 2018 at 4:51 AM

Prairie flameleaf sumac and clouds

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On December 1st last year we walked around a good-sized pond in Cedar Park, a contiguous suburb north of Austin. In one area I spent a little time photographing the colorful leaves of some prairie flameleaf sumac trees, Rhus lanceolata. How about those clouds? And how about this minimalist view of some backlit leaflets?

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 1, 2018 at 4:35 AM

What I didn’t know about fireweed

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To tell the truth, before the trip to the Rocky Mountains in Montana, Alberta, and British Columbia, I knew almost nothing about fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium). In nature shows on television I’d occasionally caught a glimpse of the plants flowering, and that was about it.

In addition to yesterday’s strictly “vegetarian” post, three previous photographs showed you fireweed flowers and animals. In one case it was with a bumblebee, in another with a ground squirrel, and the third with a caterpillar. What impressed me about the plant in its own right was its seeds. The reddish seed pods are long and narrow, and when they open, which surprisingly often happens from the proximal rather than the distal end, they release seeds attached to silky strands, much like milkweed seeds. At the moment when I took the photograph above in Waterton Lakes National Park on August 29th, the newly freed seeds still partly preserved the alignment they’d had just a short while earlier when compressed inside their slender pods. That same temporary clinging to the past is visible in the photograph below, which is from near the shore of Emerald Lake in British Columbia’s Yoho National Park on September 7th.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 24, 2018 at 4:52 AM

Possumhaw possibilities

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Possumhaw with Fruit 1875

Given the persistent overcast here recently, I’d been waiting for a sunny day to go out and exploit the photographic possibilities of a possumhaw tree. Yesterday morning my chance came and I took it. The scientific name Ilex decidua tells you that this holly is deciduous. That loss of leaves in winter makes it easy to see the clusters of fruit on the female trees and also easy for those red-orange fruits to contrast with the bright blue of the clear sky beyond them.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 10, 2018 at 4:48 AM

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Claspleaf twistedstalk

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Now there’s a mouthful for you, whether you use the scientific name Streptopus amplexifolius or the vernacular name claspleaf twistedstalk. Because very little foliage had turned colors in Waterton Lakes National Park when we were there on August 29th, the yellowing leaves of this species that we saw in several places were a welcome sight. So were the little red fruits, about a centimeter long, one of which the second photograph gives you a closer look at on a different claspleaf twistedstalk plant. Here’s a site with more information about the species. Here’s another. And here’s still another that includes ethnobotanical uses.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 29, 2017 at 4:55 AM

Red and green redux

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Continuing with yesterday’s red-and-green theme, here’s an abstract picture showing the fruit and out-of-focus leaves of thimbleberry, Rubus parviflorus, in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, on August 29th.

The Rubus species that’s widespread in Austin is R. trivialis.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 26, 2017 at 5:00 AM

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