Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘vine

The twining and the twined upon

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From June 24th in Great Hills Park here’s the tendril of a Texas bindweed, Convolvulus equitans, that had twined its way around a developing Mexican hat, Ratibida columnifera. (Unfortunately jpegging and WordPressing have made the background somewhat splotchy.)

And here’s what a nearby Texas bindweed flower looked like.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 2, 2019 at 5:00 PM

A different kind of arc

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Unlike the low arcs of the little bluestem seed heads that appeared here last time, the arc in today’s photograph is tall and wooden and frames the bright red leaves of a young Texas red oak (Quercus buckleyi). Contrasting with the red leaves are those of a greenbrier vine (Smilax spp.) that had climbed up not only onto the young oak but also into the taller bare trees on both sides of it. I photographed this pleasant landscape along the Brushy Creek Trail East in Round Rock on December 2nd. Below is another oak I looked up to about 20 minutes earlier, when we’d just begun to follow that section of the trail.

Click to enlarge.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 20, 2018 at 4:44 AM

Signs of autumn

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On October 22nd I went to a favorite area along the upper stretch of Bull Creek to see what changes several weeks of rain and our recent record cool weather had worked on the land. In the first picture below, notice how the young bald cypress tree (Taxodium distichum) at the creek’s edge was turning brown, as that species regularly does toward the end of the year. Also notice—as if you could miss it—the way the upper part of the dead tree trunk had almost completely changed direction but still hadn’t fallen.

When I walked around and got close to the bald cypress tree, I found a native vine growing on it that I don’t remember ever having seen before: Smilax tamnoides (formerly S. hispida) known as bristly greenbrier and, imaginatively, hellfetter. Close to it I also noticed a “regular” greenbrier vine, Smilax bona-nox, which is very common in central Texas, so common that I almost never go walking in the woods without seeing one (and even having its thorns grab onto my clothing). Happy new species for me, and probably now also for thee.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 26, 2018 at 4:48 AM

Clematis drummondii: a familiar take and a new one

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On August 17th I stopped along S. 10th St. in Pflugerville to photograph an embankment covered with Clematis drummondii that had gone into the fluffy phase that earned this vine the colloquial name “old man’s beard.” After walking almost back to my car I spotted one clump of strands drooping in a way I’d rarely seen. Naturally I got close to photograph it, and then I noticed the dead ant that’s near the bottom of the picture, along with a few other tiny dead insects inside the clump. My first thought was of a spider but I saw no evidence of one. Those insect deaths remain a mystery.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 27, 2018 at 4:57 AM

New Zealand: tree fern like a parasol

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Over the two years since our first visit to New Zealand, something I wished I could do again was look up and see the parasol of a tree fern. In the Manginangina Scenic Reserve on February 15, 2017, I was able to do that once more. Note the slender vine insinuating itself down the right side of the picture.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 16, 2018 at 4:51 AM

Viny competition

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The previous post featured a flower of Cynanchum racemosum var. unifarium, known as talayote. The plant is a milkweed vine, and its viny nature is clear in the picture above, which shows some talayote twined around the stalk of a Mexican hat, Ratibida columnifera. Also in evidence in the photograph, and likewise looking for a foothold on other plants, is some Clematis drummondii, known as old man’s beard based on its appearance in a later phase.

They say you can’t tell the players without a scorecard, so here it is.

Twining vine: talayote
Linear vine: old man’s beard
Heart-shaped leaves: talayote
Tripartite leaves: old man’s beard
Whitish-green buds: talayote
Darker buds: old man’s beard

Below, also from May 25, 2011, in my northwest Austin neighborhood, is a closer look at talayote grabbing a Mexican hat seed head.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 22, 2017 at 4:47 AM

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Talayote

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An exchange of comments last month with Linda at The Task at Hand brought up a milkweed vine classified as Cynanchum racemosum. The vernacular name is the four-syllable talayote, the form in which Spanish borrowed an indigenous word for the plant. Talayote rang a bell, so I searched my archive and discovered that the one time I ever found the species was May 25th, 2011, and right in my neighborhood. That was a couple of weeks before this blog started up, and with a world of native plants to highlight in the ensuing posts, I lost sight of talayote. Here then, six-and-a-half years late, is a photograph of a talayote flower. Notice once again that milkweeds do things in fives.

While I never showed talayote here till now, I did feature a different Cynanchum species in 2013.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 21, 2017 at 4:42 AM

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