Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘seeds

Colonizing

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As we begin colonizing 2018, I’m reminded of the appealing little plants that had colonized flat, open areas in several places along Alberta’s Icefields Parkway when we drove north along it on September 4th of what we now get to call last year.

Not knowing what these feathery plants were, I appealed to the Alberta Native Plant Council, and the answer came back that they are a species of Dryas, probably D. drummondii or D. octopetala. I learned that Dryas is in the rose family, and its seed heads are similar to those of its family mate Fallugia paradoxa, known as Apache plume.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 5, 2018 at 4:55 AM

C-ing is B-lieving

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Don’t you think this view of a bespidered grass seed head from far north Austin on October 12th warrants a better grade than the C it proclaims?* Speaking of academics, perhaps the C is an emblem of my undergraduate days at Columbia. Or maybe the C stands for the Canon camera I used to take the picture. If you see the C as standing for something else, here’s your chance to speak up.

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* In case you’re unfamiliar with American schools, work is graded from A, the highest quality, down through D, the lowest that’s still considered marginally passing. Failing work gets a conveniently alliterative F.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 5, 2017 at 4:47 AM

Two closer looks

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Here you have two closer looks than last time at Baccharis neglecta, a shrub or slender tree known as poverty weed, which in the fall produces no poverty of fluff.

The yellow in the background of the second picture came from Maximilian sunflowers, Helianthus maximiliani, and goldenrod, Solidago spp. Notice the characteristic herringbone pattern of the small branches.

I took these photographs in a “vacant” lot on the west side of Grand Avenue Parkway north of Royston Ln. on October 12. If this is a vacancy, no one need apply to fill it.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 18, 2017 at 4:52 AM

A different Gaillardia

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Because I’m familiar with several species of Gaillardia in central Texas, when I saw a little group of plants in Waterton Lakes National Park on August 29th I knew right away that I was dealing with some kind of Gaillardia. After returning home I consulted the BONAP maps for the genus and was relieved to find only one species marked for that area: Gaillardia aristata, known colloquially as common gaillardia, blanketflower or great blanketflower, and even (confusingly) brown-eyed susan, which I associate with a different genus in the sunflower family. In any case, I was taken with this Gaillardia flower head that had dried out and was part-way through producing and releasing its seeds. The curve of the stem added to its appeal.

Click for greater clarity.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 11, 2017 at 4:53 AM

How could I show you one without the other?

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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

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New Zealand: Hooker’s mountain daisy

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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

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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

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