Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Texas

Wildflowers in January

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Central Texas has a warm enough climate that even in the winter you can see several native plant species flowering. I’ve noted six of them this week, and yesterday for the first time since returning from the Philippines on December 25th I went out to take some nature photographs. Today’s picture from Morado Circle in my northwest Austin neighborhood shows you a flower head of Viguiera dentata, known as plateau goldeneye or just goldeneye. All that yellow should cheer up any of you who are suffering the rigors of a cold northern winter.

As for the tropical Philippines, more posts from there are still forthcoming. I just thought it’s time to start interspersing a few current views from Texas.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 19, 2020 at 4:48 AM

Toot toot again

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After a post early in 2019 that shamelessly showed pictures of mine from the Native Plant Society of Texas photo contest of 2018, this first post for 2020 shows winners from the 2019 contest, which once again categorized entries according to Texas’s 12 ecoregions. Click any picture that you’d like to see in more detail.

Arizona/New Mexico Mountains: Fallugia paradoxa.

Chihuahuan Deserts: Fouquieria splendens.

East Central Texas Plains: various species.

Edwards Plateau: Coreopsis tinctoria.

High Plains: Phacelia integrifolia.

Western Gulf Coastal Plains: Vaccinium arboreum.

Southwestern Tablelands: Dalea formosa.

Texas Blackland Prairies: Liatris punctata. var. mucronata.

Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes: Mimosa strigillosa.

©2020 Steven Schwartzman

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 1, 2020 at 4:36 AM

From Muhlenberg to Kulmbacher

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In far north Austin on November 19th I drove into a still-under-construction subdivision that already had fully paved streets with signposts showing their names. On Kulmbacher Drive I parked and walked over to check out a pond. A few dense stands of bare plants that I took to be slenderpod sesbania (Sesbania herbacea) caught my attention, and now they can catch yours. Do you see, as I do, a resemblance to the Muhlenbergia that I’d photographed the previous day? And in case you’re wondering about the many little white dots in the lower half of the picture, they’re asters that were happily flowering their heads off.

The last post told about the Muhlenberg that Muhlenbergia was named for. Kulmbacher in German means a person from Kulmbach. Who the Kulmbacher was or is that the Austin street refers to eludes me. Also eluding me was the egret you see below between two poverty weed bushes.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 30, 2019 at 4:43 AM

Two takes on gulf muhly

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The decorative grass classified botanically as Muhlenbergia capillaris goes by the common names gulf muhly, pink muhly, and hair grass. The last time it appeared in these pages was four years ago. Because 4 is 2 times 2 as well as 2 plus 2 and also 2 to the power 2, and because mathematics is abstract, here are two abstract views of gulf muhly taken outside the Cedar Park Recreation Center on November 18th. The plant in the second, though still, appears to be blowing; thus did the genie in my camera make the static dynamic.

Muhly is short for Muhlenbergia, whose origin the website of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center explains this way: “The genus of this plant is named for Gotthilf Heinrich Ernst Muhlenberg (1753-1815), also Heinrich Ludwig Muehlenberg, or Henry Muhlenberg, who was a German-educated Lutheran minister and the first president of Franklin College, now Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania. He is most famous due to his work in the field of botany. An accomplished botanist, chemist, and mineralogist, Henry is credited with classifying and naming 150 species of plants in his 1785 work Index Flora Lancastriensis. Muhlenberg’s work and collaboration with European botanists led to great advances in the study of plants and earned him the distinction as America’s first outstanding botanist.”

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 28, 2019 at 4:42 AM

Deck the lines with flocks of grackles

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It’s been almost two years since the last post about the grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) that sometimes swarm near sundown at the intersection of US 183 and Braker Lane. Late in the afternoon on November 19th I went there with my camera and a long lens because the previous Sunday I’d noticed the return of the grackles. The picture above gives you an idea of how densely the birds line up on the wires in some places. The second picture shows the way the grackles tend to take off in large groups when something startles them.

And here’s a closer look at a grackle that seems browner than normal
due to the flash I had to use once night had mostly replaced day:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 25, 2019 at 4:46 AM

Posted in nature photography

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Mustang grape leaf turned yellow

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Vitis mustangensis at Twin Lakes Park in the town of Cedar Park on November 9th.

WordPress dulled down my original jpeg and made it so unattractive that I uploaded an oversaturated version in an attempt to compensate. The oversaturation apparently intimidated WordPress to the point that it didn’t dare mess with the picture. You’ll have to imagine somewhat toned-down colors; the yellow really was rich from the sunlight shining perpendicularly on the leaf.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 22, 2019 at 4:41 AM

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Two stages on the same date

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On November 11 we visited the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. By that date the wildflower known as gayfeather and blazing star (Liatris punctata var. mucronata) has normally long since gone to seed and turned fluffy, as shown above. The plant below apparently didn’t get the word, because it was freshly flowering.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 19, 2019 at 4:48 AM

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