Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Texas

Ice on lichens on cedar elm

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The branches of cedar elm trees (Ulmus crassifolia) often have flanges and sometimes also lichens on them.
They rarely add ice, but they did on January 10th as snow and sleet came down.

And here’s an unrelated quotation for today: “You will say that I am old and mad, but I answer that there is no better way of keeping sane and free from anxiety than being mad.” — Michelangelo at age 74.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 15, 2021 at 4:24 AM

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Poverty weed weighed down by snow

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Poverty weed (Baccharis neglecta) has been described as a weak tree, and the recent accumulation of snow forced some to bow low, as you see in these pictures taken west of Morado Circle on January 10th.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 14, 2021 at 4:43 AM

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Icy possumhaw drupes

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During our wintry weather on January 10th the outdoor temperature rose and fell only within the narrow range of 32°F (0°C) to 34°F (1°C), so the snow was wet and mixed with sleet and drizzle. At the same time that new snowflakes were coming down, some of the earlier precipitation was slowly melting, as confirmed by the photograph above of possumhaw (Ilex decidua) drupes in Great Hills Park. Not all the fruit stayed on the tree; some fell onto iced-over plants below.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 13, 2021 at 4:24 PM

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Snow falling on Ashe junipers

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Here are two views of one of Austin’s most widespread trees, the Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei), taken when the snow on January 10th was probably falling at its densest.

The bits of brown you see indicate male trees, and this is their time to release the airborne pollen that causes allergies in susceptible people, who are as numerous as the snowflakes.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 13, 2021 at 4:31 AM

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Despite the snow and sleet

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Despite the snow and sleet that came down from the morning into the afternoon on January 10th, this is still Austin, and the very next day I noticed that a goldeneye bush (Viguiera dentata) in my neighborhood was putting out new flowers. As is true for various composite flower heads, the opening was asymmetric. In case you’re wondering, the background brown came from leaves on the ground that remained conveniently featureless at my macro lens’s widest aperture, f/2.8. And if you’re also wondering whether I’m already done showing snow and ice pictures, I’m not.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 12, 2021 at 4:32 PM

When they signed up to be Maximilian sunflowers, did they sign up for this?

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The post’s title is the curious thought about Helianthus maximiliani that came into my head while I wandered in the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183 as the snow continued into the afternoon on January 10th.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 12, 2021 at 4:32 AM

Why wait?

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This morning I promised more pictures of yesterday’s snowfall in the days ahead, but why wait?

The snow droppeth alike on all things open to the sky. That includes the low, a prickly pear cactus (Opuntia engelmannii), and the high, in this case a grand huisache tree (Vachellia farnesiana). The two, each in its proper station, grow a couple of blocks apart in my neighborhood.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 11, 2021 at 3:31 PM

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Fiat lux, fiat nix

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The Latin words “Fiat lux” mean “Let there be light.” Yesterday morning in Austin anyone who’d said instead “Fiat nix,” “Let there be snow,” would have seen that come to pass. I took the photograph above looking out our front window at a yaupon tree (Ilex vomitoria) that the cedar waxwings had left alone.

I ended up spending two hours and then another three hours yesterday documenting our rare snowfall. More pictures will appear in the days ahead.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 11, 2021 at 4:35 AM

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The temperature dropped 15° in as many minutes

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There I was lying on the ground at the edge of Lake Pflugerville on December 30th last year to photograph this bare bald cypress tree (Taxodium distichum) against menacing clouds when suddenly the wind picked up and the temperature dropped, both noticeably, as the predicted cold front came through. Adding some brightness to the bleak sky and dark branches were the colorful lichens on the tree’s trunk:

Unrelated thought for today:  “Credulity is always greatest in times of calamity.” — Charles MacKay,
Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, first published in 1841.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 10, 2021 at 4:39 AM

Yummy yaupon

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You may remember the gorgeously fruitful possumhaws (Ilex decidua) that appeared in these pages three weeks ago. After I posted the second of those pictures to Facebook’s Texas Flora group on January 1st, a member commented that cedar waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) had already stripped her possumhaws and yaupons (Ilex vomitoria) of all their little red fruits (berries in common parlance, drupes scientifically). That Texas Flora comment must have gotten picked up and broadcast on radio station KACW* (Kalling All Cedar Waxwings), because within a couple of hours a gang of those birds showed up at our house and gobbled down more than half the fruit on the yaupon tree outside my window. In today’s picture, which was a good photographic way to inaugurate the new year, you’re looking at one of the avian thieves caught in flagrante delicto. The waxwings came back on January 6th and mostly finished the job, so that now I see only a dozen or so spots of red outside my window, where in December hundreds had been.

* After I made up radio station KACW, I discovered that a real one with those call letters exists in South Bend, Washington. It has a greater range than its operators realize.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 9, 2021 at 4:32 AM

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