Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘shrub

Half a year out of sync

with 16 comments

It had happened before. Still it startled me, as if an April Fool’s Day trick. The field guides say that Ageratina havanensis (a bush known as shrubby boneset, Havana snakeroot, white mistflower, white shrub mistflower, and just plain mistflower) blooms in the fall. Nevertheless, here it was putting out flowers in my neighborhood on April 1, half a year out of sync.

My encounter came late in the afternoon, with the sky heavily overcast and the wind blowing. Like it or not, that combination called for flash.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 3, 2017 at 5:02 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , ,

New Zealand: kohurangi

with 13 comments

You can find old pictures of people with outstretched arms encircling the base of Tāne Mahuta but that’s no longer possible. Out of concern that the roots were getting trampled, the tree’s caretakers have planted vegetation around it to act as a shield (and also to restore native species to the area). Here in front of Tāne Mahuta you see the flowers of what the Māori call kohurangi and English speakers know as a tree daisy; botanists have yet another name, Brachyglottis kirkii.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 15, 2017 at 4:52 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

Not yet its own flowers

with 26 comments

purple-bindweed-flowering-on-poverty-weed-9893a

As of September 9th these poverty weed bushes (Baccharis neglecta) along BMC Drive in Cedar Park hadn’t yet produced any of their own flowers but were adorned with those of Ipomoea cordatotriloba, known as purple bindweed or tievine, which had been having a great time around central Texas for some weeks already, both crawling along the ground and climbing on other things. Notice how the vine was questing into the air in several places, looking to go higher even when there was nothing any higher to latch on to.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 21, 2016 at 4:56 AM

Beautyberry with fruit

with 22 comments

american-beautyberry-fruit-0468

When I walked a mostly shaded trail along the upper reaches of Bull Creek on September 12th I passed several American beautyberry bushes (Callicarpa americana) that had already produced fruit.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 19, 2016 at 5:09 AM

A tale of two junipers

with 19 comments

Lady Bird Johnson website: "Although commonly a tree in Eurasia, Common Juniper is only rarely a small tree in New England and other northeastern States. In the West, it is a low shrub, often at timberline. Including geographic varieties, this species is the most widely distributed native conifer in both North America and the world. Juniper berries are food for wildlife, especially grouse, pheasants, and bobwhites. They are an ingredient in gin, producing the distinctive aroma and tang.”

The other juniper that Melissa pointed out to us at Illinois Beach State Park on June 6th was a species that forms broad, low mounds, Juniperus communis. Here’s a picture from the overcast morning of June 9th showing a prominent common juniper mound in the foreground and several others farther back. The yellow-orange wildflowers are the hoary puccoon that you saw closer views of a few weeks ago.

Whenever I come across the species name communis I’m accustomed to finding out that the plant in question is native to Europe, where Linnaeus and other early botanists considered it “common.” I was surprised, then, to learn that Juniperus communis is native on several continents. Here’s what the website of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center says: “Although commonly a tree in Eurasia, Common Juniper is only rarely a small tree in New England and other northeastern States.  In the West, it is a low shrub, often at timberline. Including geographic varieties, this species is the most widely distributed native conifer in both North America and the world. Juniper berries are food for wildlife, especially grouse, pheasants, and bobwhites. They are an ingredient in gin, producing the distinctive aroma and tang.”

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 30, 2016 at 5:07 AM

Creeping juniper

with 43 comments

Creeping Juniper on Dunes 7635

Melissa told us on June 6th at Illinois Beach State Park that two kinds of juniper grow on the dunes there. The one shown here from a photo outing three days later is Juniperus horizontalis, which lives up to its species name by staying close to the ground as it creeps along the beach. Note the mostly immature fruit in the second picture. (Both photographs look predominantly downward.)

In Undaunted Courage, Stephen Ambrose quoted from Meriwether Lewis’s journal entry of April 12, 1805, written in what I think is now North Dakota: “This plant would make very handsome edgings to the borders and walks of a garden…. [and it is] easily propegated*.” Lewis had called the plant “dwarf juniper,” which Ambrose interpreted as creeping juniper.

Creeping Juniper with Fruit 7693

* Neither Lewis nor Clark used standardized or even consistent spelling. The quoted sentence, with just one mistake, is an example of Lewis’s best spelling.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 29, 2016 at 5:11 AM

%d bloggers like this: