Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘seeds

How could I show you one without the other?

with 39 comments

That is, show you pearl milkweed flowers (Matelea reticulata) without also showing you one of the vine’s pods. By June 22nd this one had already split open and was beginning to release its seeds, each attached to a bit of aeronautical fluff. I followed suit and attached not fluff but a flash to my camera because the area wasn’t bright enough for me to get all the important details in focus without an extra helping of light.

By the way, the shiny fibers attached to the seeds explain why an alternate name for milkweed is silkweed.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 13, 2017 at 4:48 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , , ,

New Zealand: Hooker’s mountain daisy

with 15 comments

At the Orokonui Ecosanctuary northeast of Dunedin on February 27th we saw some Hooker’s mountain daisies (Celmisia hookeri), a species classified as being at risk. Notice the white-margined leaves.

As with many other plants in the sunflower family, this one’s flower heads give way to puffball-type seed heads.

After the seeds fall away, the remains are rather sculptural:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 15, 2017 at 4:28 AM

New Zealand: flax

with 12 comments

Along with ferns, the other practically ubiquitous type of native plant one sees in New Zealand is flax. At least that’s what the British called it after they arrived and found the Māori using the fibers of the plant to make cloth, just as the Europeans used flax to make linen. The Māori call these members of the lily family harakeke, the most common species of which is Phormium tenax.

On February 12, after driving a few minutes west from the site where I took the picture of sand dunes that you saw last time (and you can still see them in the background this time), I came to the Arai-Te-Uru Recreation Reserve, where I was able to portray these New Zealand flax plants in the stage after they’ve produced and shed seeds.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 31, 2017 at 4:48 AM

Coyote bush with fluff flying

with 10 comments

coyote-bush-with-fluff-flying-9103

While walking a path through the wetlands of California’s Martinez Regional Shoreline on November 2nd of last year I saw this bush and even from a distance I figured I was looking at some sort of Baccharis. It turned out to be Baccharis pilularis, known as coyote bush, chaparral broom, and bush baccharis.

I’ve never neglected Austin’s species of this genus, Baccharis neglecta, as you can confirm by scrolling down the posts at this link.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 26, 2017 at 4:41 AM

From the cliffs of Montezuma

with 22 comments

montezuma-castle-ruins-in-cliff-2460

Let’s get two things straight about Montezuma Castle: Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, had nothing to do with it, and it’s not a castle. No, this cliff in northern Arizona shelters the 600-year-old remains of a cliff dwelling created by a people called the Sinagua. And let’s get a third thing straight: that wasn’t their name. No, Sinagua was a name created in 1939 from the Spanish words sin ‘without’ and agua ‘water,’ based on the scarcity of flowing water in the region.

The prominent plants in the foreground are four-wing saltbushes, Atriplex canescens. Here’s a closer look at some saltbushes bordering the parking lot:

four-wing-saltbushes-2429a

If you want an even closer look, you can check out a post about our 2014 trip to the Southwest.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 18, 2017 at 5:01 AM

Colors and textures of native grasses

with 8 comments

little-bluestem-seed-heads-backlit-3449a

Native grasses provide subtle visual delights in Austin near the end of the year. This November 23rd photograph shows a backlit group of little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) in the southwestern fringe of my Great Hills neighborhood.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 3, 2017 at 4:53 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , ,

A different kind of fluff

with 13 comments

pearl-milkweed-pod-and-seed-5349

In contrast to the fluff of the snake-cotton from Arizona that appeared in the previous post, behold the fluff I saw yesterday along Misting Falls Trail in my Austin neighborhood. I was driving to the store when I caught sight of a pearl milkweed vine (Matelea reticulata) hanging in some denuded tree branches. Several pods had opened, and as I watched them the breeze occasionally scattered bits of their seed-bearing fluff.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 28, 2016 at 4:53 AM

%d bloggers like this: