Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘seeds

Ageratina havanensis does its thing

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A great floral attractor of insects in the fall is Ageratina havanensis, known as fragrant mist flower, shrubby boneset, and thoroughwort, and apparently in Spanish as the barba de viejo (old man’s beard) that corresponds to the fuzzier stage the inflorescence takes on after it goes to seed.

Click to enlarge.

The insect shown above working these flowers in my neighborhood on November 2nd is a syrphid fly, which you can see gains some protection by mimicking a bee. The stray seeds with silk attached came from the adjacent poverty weed bush that graciously put in an appearance here a couple of weeks ago. Below you’ll find a much larger and more colorful insect that was visiting the flowers, a queen butterfly, Danaus gilippus.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 4, 2018 at 4:56 AM

Fluffy poverty weed and fleecy clouds

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Sometimes you get clouds that mimic your subject. That’s the way it was on November 2nd when I went over to a poverty weed bush (Baccharis neglecta) I know in my neighborhood that had matured to the stage where it was casting its seed-bearing fluff into the breeze.

After the seeds and fluff from each tuft blow away, a little “star” gets left behind.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 20, 2018 at 4:43 AM

Strobilus, strobili

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On October 29th I photographed some of the horsetails (Equisetum spp.)
around the pond adjacent to the Central Market on N. Lamar Blvd.
The plant shown above was forming its strobilus.
The one below had gotten farther along in the process.

The second photograph exemplifies point 24 in About My Techniques.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 18, 2018 at 4:44 AM

Fasciation comes to a black-eyed susan

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Near the end of my visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on September 26th I photographed some seed head remains of black-eyed susans, Rudbeckia hirta. Here’s one of them, in which you can confirm the usual thimble shape:

Then I spotted an obviously fasciated specimen, with a flattened stem and a bunch of seed heads glommed together into an irregular bundle:

Click the “fasciation” tag below if you’d like to learn more about the phenomenon and see other examples I’ve shown over the years.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 13, 2018 at 4:50 AM

Playoffs

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Even if you’ve been coming to this website for only a while you’ve probably noticed that I’m fond of playing off a subject of one color against a background of another. (In fact it’s #5 in About My Techniques.) With that in mind, here from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on September 26th are two takes on a combination of wildflowers you’ve seen separately in the last two posts: showy palafoxia, Palafoxia hookeriana, and prairie goldenrod, Solidago nemoralis.

And in a different sort of playoff that’s minus the goldenrod, below you’ll find a pair of showy palafoxia seed heads in front of some fresh flower heads. The spider’s white lair is a bonus.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 10, 2018 at 4:44 AM

Emerald Lake shore

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A year ago today we (and many other people) visited Emerald Lake in British Columbia’s Yoho National Park. The smoke from forest fires dulled views of the surrounding mountains, as you see above, so for some pictures of the lake I aimed closer in. As an example of that approach take the second photograph, which plays up the tall trees while still allowing the color of the lake to come through.

The low plants along the water in the photograph above are sedges. Below is a close view of one taken from the shore looking back the opposite way. In “La Belle Dame sans Merci” Keats mentioned this type of plant:

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

 

And to counteract the pallor of any pale loiterers among you, here are some fireweed flowers (Chamaenerion angustifolium) that also grew close to the shore.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 7, 2018 at 4:46 AM

Clematis drummondii: a familiar take and a new one

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On August 17th I stopped along S. 10th St. in Pflugerville to photograph an embankment covered with Clematis drummondii that had gone into the fluffy phase that earned this vine the colloquial name “old man’s beard.” After walking almost back to my car I spotted one clump of strands drooping in a way I’d rarely seen. Naturally I got close to photograph it, and then I noticed the dead ant that’s near the bottom of the picture, along with a few other tiny dead insects inside the clump. My first thought was of a spider but I saw no evidence of one. Those insect deaths remain a mystery.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 27, 2018 at 4:57 AM

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