Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘vine

Beards and webs

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The vine that botanists know as Clematis drummondii has earned the colloquial name old man’s beard because its fertilized flowers give rise to filaments that turn into an increasingly dingy fluff as they mature. (Notwithstanding the beard metaphor, those are of course female flowers.) Below from Great Hills Park on August 29th is a nice expanse of “beards,” along with seed heads of Mexican hats, Ratibida columnifera.

In contrast, a nearby Clematis drummondii plant (presumably male) was cobwebbed rather than bearded.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 23, 2019 at 3:53 AM

Green triangularity times two

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At least twice in the past month I’ve photographed plants that I noticed growing in the approximate shape of a triangle (at least as a two-dimensional photograph renders them). The first came on August 24th, when a mustang grape vine, Vitis mustangensis, that had covered the broken remains of a dead tree caught my fancy at Parmer Lane and Blue Bluff Rd. south of Manor. A greenbrier vine, Smilax bona-nox, had also climbed onto the mound; that accounts for the yellow-orange leaves near the photograph’s bottom edge.

I photographed the other green triangle on September 7th at the base of a cliff along Bull Creek near Spicewood Springs Rd. Even during a drought the rocks still seeped enough water to support some southern maidenhair ferns, Adiantum capillus-veneris. I don’t know what the mixed-in plant species are.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 18, 2019 at 4:43 AM

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

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Okay, so I don’t live on a ranch but I do live in Texas, and now that we’ve been back for two weeks I should begin interpolating an occasional current picture into the continuing travelogue. Today’s photograph from August 24th on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin shows an opening flower of Clematis drummondii, the vine colloquially known as old man’s beard.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 27, 2019 at 4:51 AM

Bayside Park

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The bay that Bayside Park sits on the western shore of is Mobile Bay.
In that Alabama park on August 10th I photographed a vine covered-pine tree.
The vine could have been trumpet creeper, Campsis radicans, which also grows in Austin.

After turning the other way, toward Mobile Bay,
I found a dark plant beneath a dark cloud.

I photographed a few other things, and then, as I was about finished, some birds flew into view. My telephoto lens was in the camera bag. The 24–105mm lens that was on the camera was set to only 56mm and the shutter speed to only 1/320 of a second (as I learned afterwards from the metadata). Those are poor settings for photographs of birds in motion but there was no time to change anything: all I could do was pan to follow the birds while I got off four shots in as many seconds. To my surprise, there was no blurring of my subjects. Shannon Westveer later identified them for me as American white pelicans, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 22, 2019 at 7:00 AM

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

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

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