Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘vine

How could I show you one without the other?

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That is, show you pearl milkweed flowers (Matelea reticulata) without also showing you one of the vine’s pods. By June 22nd this one had already split open and was beginning to release its seeds, each attached to a bit of aeronautical fluff. I followed suit and attached not fluff but a flash to my camera because the area wasn’t bright enough for me to get all the important details in focus without an extra helping of light.

By the way, the shiny fibers attached to the seeds explain why an alternate name for milkweed is silkweed.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 13, 2017 at 4:48 AM

Posted in nature photography

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Haven’t shown you this for a good while

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2014 was the last time I showed you a flower of the pearl milkweed vine, Matelea reticulata. To compensate for that long lapse, here you have not one but two pearl milkweed flowers I photographed on a vine in my neighborhood on June 22nd. What happy propinquity.

If these flowers weren’t so common here, they’d be rare.* What I mean is that while pearl milkweed readily grows in northwest Austin, it’s easy to forget how seldom we see green flowers, much less any that possess net-like patterns and have a tiny pearly shelter covering their center. Notice that the central structure is curvily pentagonal, with each vertex gesturing toward the tip of a pointy petal. Milkweeds speak in fives.**

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* Google turned up no hits for “If they weren’t so common, they’d be rare,” so I’ll claim that witticism.

** In this case Google says I’ve just spoken a novel four-word sentence about fiveness.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 12, 2017 at 4:54 AM

Like stars in the night in the bright heat of the Texas sun

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Our most common Clematis, C. drummondii, can flower in dense groups even late in the summer and on into the fall. The flowers average about three-quarters of an inch across (18mm).

I photographed this creamy constellation in far north Austin on September 7th. For years I wandered the property with abandon, but now only a small portion remains undeveloped.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 29, 2016 at 4:52 AM

Not yet its own flowers

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As of September 9th these poverty weed bushes (Baccharis neglecta) along BMC Drive in Cedar Park hadn’t yet produced any of their own flowers but were adorned with those of Ipomoea cordatotriloba, known as purple bindweed or tievine, which had been having a great time around central Texas for some weeks already, both crawling along the ground and climbing on other things. Notice how the vine was questing into the air in several places, looking to go higher even when there was nothing any higher to latch on to.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 21, 2016 at 4:56 AM

Horace’s Duskywing on Drummond’s Clematis

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Horace's Duskywing Butterfly on Clematis drummondii Flowers 0558

In a comment on yesterday’s post about white wild indigo in Illinois, Sherry Felix pointed out the connection to the wild indigo duskywing butterfly. That species is found in Austin, so I’ve probably seen it without recognizing it (what I know about butterflies weighs only as little as one). Still, the mention of duskywings sent me looking back at some photographs I took on June 30 in Great Hills Park, where I’d stopped to check out the flowers on a mound of Clematis drummondii. Also checking them out, though of course for a different purpose, was a dark butterfly that I now take, thanks to a butterfly field guide, to be a Horace’s duskwing, Erynnis horatius.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 25, 2016 at 4:49 AM

Scarlet leatherflower

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Scarlet Leatherflower Flower and Leaves 0552

Feast your eyes on the rich red of a scarlet leatherflower, Clematis texensis, at the Doeskin Ranch in Burnet County on April 8. This species is endemic to the southeastern portion of the Edwards Plateau in central Texas; in other words, it’s native nowhere else in the world. On other occasions I’ve found this species in my northwestern part of Austin and even along Onion Creek in southeast Austin, which must be the extreme eastern edge of the plant’s range.

How different in color and form the flowers of this Clematis species are from those of the much more common C. drummondii. Looking at the flowers and leaves of the two species, you’d never guess that botanists put them in the same genus.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 29, 2016 at 5:05 AM

From buds to flowers

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Coral Honeysuckly Flowers 5659

Near the beginning of January I showed you some buds of coral honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens, that I’d seen out of season a couple of weeks earlier. When I was at the Arbor Walk Pond on February 22nd I saw some of that same kind of honeysuckle that had flowered and was making a vivid contrast with the blue sky (at least when looked at from down low, about which vantage point I’ve already given you the lowdown). Another name for this wildflower is trumpet honeysuckle; those are some long, long trumpets, don’t you think?

And here’s what some new growth on this kind of vine looked like that day:

Coral Honeysuckle New Growth 5671

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 20, 2016 at 5:05 AM

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