Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘sumac

Far West

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Near the far west end of Far West Blvd. in west Austin on June 1st I found a twistleaf yucca (Yucca rupicola) leaning out and flowering beyond the leaves of an evergreen sumac (Rhus virens).

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 30, 2019 at 4:48 AM

Prairie flameleaf sumac flamed out with respect to fall foliage this year.

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2018 wasn’t a good year for colorful fall foliage from prairie flameleaf sumac (Rhus lanceolata), of which I’ve shown you many good examples in other years (for example in 2012 and in 2015). However, I did find a few small instances of bright leaves from that species this year. The one that you see in the first photograph came my way on November 26th as I drove down (literally) Ladera Norte and quickly pulled over to record the bright color I’d glimpsed in the leaflets of a sapling. Even at so young an age it knew how to turn colors.

I’d found the other example of flaming flameleaf sumac much earlier, before you’d normally expect it, along a path on the southwestern edge of my Great Hills neighborhood. The date was October 4th, and a small portion of a full-grown tree had unexplainedly turned colors while all the other leaves were still green. Scrunching myself in behind the bright leaflets, I aimed outward to take advantage of the backlighting sun, grateful for how early these warm colors had begun.

Sometimes the minimalism of a single leaflet is the way to go, and so I went:

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 27, 2018 at 4:56 AM

Prairie flameleaf sumac fruit

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In my neighborhood on September 26th, the first time out taking pictures since returning from Alberta twelve days earlier, I found luscious fruits on some prairie flameleaf sumac trees (Rhus lanceolata). A few of the leaflets on this one were also turning red rather early in the season.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 26, 2017 at 4:46 AM

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Flaming flameleaf sumac fruit

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I’ve posted plenty of pictures showing the bright autumn leaves of prairie flameleaf sumac, Rhus lanceolata. On August 11th I was driving up Alum Creek Rd. east of Bastrop when a group of sumacs caught my eye with the sunlight-saturated rich red of their freshly forming fruit clusters against the greenery of the trees’ foliage. I’m not sure which species or Rhus this was, as there are several similar-looking candidates in Bastrop County.

I’d gone out that morning to get acquainted with a new 100–400mm lens, so I used only it on the entire outing. The fruit clusters high up in the sumac trees proved worthy subjects to zoom in on, as you see below.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 15, 2017 at 7:01 AM

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Flameleaf sumac in a dull autumn

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The autumn of 2016 in Austin has proven a dull one for foliage: we haven’t even reached the typical low level of color we expect in this warm climate. On November 24th I went over to a piece of undeveloped land off Seton Center Drive where in recent years I’ve relied on some prairie flameleaf sumacs (Rhus lanceolata) for good fall foliage. While I didn’t find the trees as bright as usual, I did discover a few small areas of color. Of more interest this time were the clusters of tiny sumac fruits.


(Just a reminder that I’m punctuating the string of pictures from the great Southwest trip with an occasional view of what’s been going on in Austin since our return.)

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 16, 2016 at 4:55 AM

Sheltered colors

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Colorful Rhus triloba in Shelter of Sotol 0295

Several times during the Trans-Pecos visit I noticed Rhus trilobata, known as skunkbush and three-leaf sumac, which also grows in Austin. Like other Rhus species, three-leaf sumac has compound leaves that tend to turn colors in the fall. That’s what you see happening to this sapling in the shelter of some sotols, Dasylirion spp., in the Chisos Basin at Big Bend National Park on November 23.

A lot is going on in this little scene aside from the emergence of the prominent red in the sumac. Notice how the sotol’s fresh leaves contrast in color and linearity with its tan ones. Less conspicuously, note that what was once a sotol flower stalk now lies fallen and gray on the ground in the lower left corner of the photograph. And then there are those scraggly dead branches of some other plant reaching in from the opposite corner.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 20, 2015 at 5:00 AM

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