Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘summer

Huffman Prairie Pink

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Huffman Prairie looms large in the history of aviation because it’s the place in Dayton, Ohio, where the Wright Brothers improved their early flying machines to the point of being reliably controllable in the air. According to a source that I read during our trip, Huffman Prairie also happens to be the largest native prairie remnant in the state of Ohio today. When we visited on July 21st we found plenty of wildflowers managing to flourish in the glaring summer light and heat. Prominent among them was a colony of echinacea (Echinacea purpurea.)

Here’s what an individual flower head looks like:

And here’s a somewhat bedraggled fasciated double flower head I noticed there:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 19, 2019 at 4:46 AM

It hit 104° here yesterday but the botanical calendar is already saying autumn.

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Snow-on-the-Mountain, Broomweed, Horseweed, and Sunflowers by Pond 5408

That’s right: it was 104°F (40°C) here yesterday afternoon, but you can see from this photograph that I took in the morning to avoid the worst of the heat that the Texas botanical calendar is already beginning to say autumn. The prominent plant with the white-fringed bracts at the tips of its branches is snow-on-the-mountain, Euphorbia marginata, which begins flowering in the latter part of summer and continues well into the fall. The low greenery is broomweed, Amphiachyris dracunculoides, which also flowers from the late summer into the fall. At the left is a sunflower plant, Helianthus annuus, quite a few of which have continued blooming since the late spring.

The location of this photograph from yesterday was the fringe of one of the ponds adjacent to the Costco in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 11, 2015 at 5:21 AM

The great pōhutukawa

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Pohutukawa Trees on Seaside Bluff 8425

Yesterday I mentioned that the pōhutukawa, Metrosideros excelsa, is one of the great indigenous trees of the northern part of New Zealand’s North Island. I meant great figuratively but also literally. Here you see a few pōhutukawas sprawling, as they’re wont to do, along a seaside bluff. It was early on the morning of February 27th, my last day in New Zealand, and I took advantage of it by spending an hour or two photographing along the shore at Little Manly Beach on the Whangaparaoa* Peninsula north of Auckland. (If you follow that link and then click on the little panoramic photo to invoke Google’s street view, you’ll be able to drag and rotate the scene 180° to get a look at the Hauraki Gulf from the road above the beach; in so doing, you’ll be looking at the upper part of the pōhutukawa trees from the opposite side. Isn’t technology wonderful?)


* In words of Māori origin, wh is pronounced f.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 12, 2015 at 5:41 AM

Pōhutukawa flowers

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Pohutukawa Flowers 3119

One of the great indigenous trees on the northern half of New Zealand’s North Island—it’s often planted elsewhere as well—is Metrosideros excelsa. The Māori* gave it the name pōhutukawa, which English speakers later adopted (though I heard some of them shorten it to what sounded to me more like putukawa). There’s also a tradition of referring to the pōhutukawa as the New Zealand Christmas tree because of the many clusters of red flowers it puts out in December. I arrived on February 3 and therefore missed that holiday display, but on the next day, in the town of Waiwera north of Auckland, I managed to find exactly one pōhutukawa tree that still had some flowers on it.** The sky was overcast and a fine drizzle was coming down, but I did what I could to take some pictures. It’s good that I did, because I didn’t find any more of these trees flowering during my 3+ weeks in New Zealand.


* A bar (technically called a macron) over a vowel indicates that the vowel is to be pronounced for a longer time than regular vowels. Many languages (but not English) make a distinction between long vowels and regular vowels, so that (if such existed) would be a different word from ma and have a different meaning.

Also like many languages, Māori has five vowels, whose pronunciations I’ll spell out as we might write them in English: a (ah), e (eh), i (ee), o (oh), u (oo). In effect, Māori has the same five vowels as Spanish.


** At least I’m hoping this is a pōhutukawa and not one of the rātā that are its later-flowering genus-mates.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 11, 2015 at 5:22 AM

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