Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘violet

Dayflower and false dayflower

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Been a long time since I showed you either a dayflower (Commelina erecta), above, or a so-called false dayflower (Tinantia anomala), below. The top picture is from May 5th in Great Hills Park and the bottom one is from April 1st in our yard, where little colonies have come up unbidden in a couple of places.



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Harvard has let me know that I cannot be a scholar of British Romanticism because I do not believe there are male women. For my part, I’d rather be damned with the Romantics and Plato than go to woke heaven with [English department coordinator] Erin [Saladin] and the Harvard faculty.


So wrote philosopher Devin Buckley after Harvard University canceled the talk she was scheduled to give there on British Romanticism. The reason for the cancellation was that as a feminist Dr. Buckley believes that radical transgender ideology gives short shrift to women. It made no difference to Harvard that the talk on British Romanticism had nothing to do with transgenderism. (“If my talk had been on astrophysics I have no doubt that I would have received a similar [cancellation] email.”)

You can read more about this incident in an article by Jonathan Turley and another on the Women’s Liberation Front website. Of particular interest in the latter is the letter that Dr. Buckley wrote in response to the cancellation. Here’s an excerpt from that letter:


It’s difficult to discern whether those who cancel feminists like me won’t or can’t understand us when we critique gender. My suspicion is that most people do not believe that a male can become female. They simply remain silent on the matter for the sake of their careers. I want to call them moral cowards, but I also have sympathy for those who must do this to survive, such as adjuncts who struggle to find non-academic jobs and continue to hang on desperately to exploitative part-time labor at wealthy universities which advertise themselves as bastions of social justice.

Your email disinviting me states that I am “on the board of an organization that takes a public stance regarding trans people as dangerous and deceptive.” This is a mischaracterization. Never has my organization, Women’s Liberation Front, made the claim that a person is dangerous simply because he or she identifies as trans. Rather, our organization opposes ideology and policy dangerous to women. This includes laws which allow males entry into women’s spaces on the basis of self-attested gender identity. This is happening right now in women’s prisons. 

One of my iniquitous 4W articles reported on a New York bill that would allow males to be housed with women solely on the basis of self-attested gender identity. We are already seeing the results of similar policies in California, Washington, and New Jersey. In New Jersey, for example, one of the 27 convicted male transfers being housed in New Jersey’s Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women is a trans-identified male serving a 50-year sentence for the brutal murder of a sex trafficked immigrant woman. Additionally, two women at this facility are now pregnant through their association with another trans-identified male who goes by “Demi.” There have also been reports of assaults on women by males in Washington and California prisons.

WoLF and I have never claimed that someone is dangerous in virtue of being a trans-identified person. Rather, we have claimed that some trans-identified males are dangerous in virtue of being predators. We have claimed that males in women’s prisons, for example, are a threat to women because they are violent males. WoLF has no issue with trans-identified females being housed in a women’s prison. Furthermore, one of our arguments against self-ID concerns the fact that self-attested gender identity is, by definition, unfalsifiable since it is grounded on a purely subjective experience and, therefore, may be abused by predatory males who would not otherwise identify as trans. 

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman








Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 16, 2022 at 4:29 AM

Texas toadflax and colorful friends

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From the McKeller Memorial Park north of Gonzales on March 19th, here’s Texas toadflax (Nuttallanthus texanus) in front of some bright red phlox (Phlox sp.). The yellow glow came from a flower head of Texas groundsel (Senecio ampullaceus). How about those saturated colors?

Unrelated to these wildflowers, here are two whimsical quotations from the article “In Naples, the formula calls for pizza,” by Franz Lidz, in the March 2021 issue of Smithsonian:

“Da Michele’s amoeba-like pies overflow the plate, and you’re not sure whether to eat them or keep them as pets.”

“The Dalai Lama walks into a pizza shop and says, ‘Can you make me one with everything?'”

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 28, 2021 at 4:39 AM

Texas toadflax, Indian paintbrush, and Nueces coreopsis lead to some philosophical musings

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Here’s some Texas toadflax (Nuttallanthus texanus) with Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa) and Nueces coreopsis (Coreopsis nuecensis) on the grounds of the Christ Lutheran Church in New Berlin on March 18th.

Not wanting want to slight the two species in the background, I’ve added one portrait apiece of those other wildflowers photographed on the same visit to the churchyard.

This reminds me now of the venerable aphorism—so venerable I just made it up*—that every portrayal is a betrayal. In other words, a portrait is only a person’s representation, necessarily limited, of something else; a portrait isn’t the portrayed thing itself. We needn’t even get that philosophical: these pictures obviously differ from the way I saw the scenes with my eyes and brain when I was there. I’ve processed each photograph with software to make it look pleasing, and that also is mutable: sometimes even by the next day I readjust the settings because my sensibilities have changed. The third image, processed four days later than the first, came out moodier. People in the milieu of “art” photography might exhibit the third photo but not the first: when knocking on those gallery doors, brightness need not apply.

* After the phrase “Every portrayal is a betrayal” popped into my head, I did a Google search for that exact phrase and got a single hit, in Humid, All Too Humid by Dominic Pettman. Some might say there’s nothing new under the sun. Well, sometimes there is, but not this time.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 12, 2019 at 4:45 AM

Another mixed-species find

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Firewheel with Western Horsenettle Flowers 2532

One other thing that Eve found and called my attention to on April 30 along the Copperfield Nature Trail in northeast Austin was this firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella) growing among the flowers of a western horsenettle (Solanum dimidiatum). Notice how the tips of the firewheel’s rays harmonize in color and shape with the horsenettle’s banana-like stamens.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 24, 2016 at 4:44 AM

Missouri violet

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Missouri Violet Flower by Dry Sycamore Leaf 6812

After taking the previous post’s March 2nd picture from a high point along the northern end of Spicewood Springs Rd., I went down into the woods and worked my way over to where the large sycamore trees were. Because the view from up above has been increasingly obscured in recent years by higher and higher vegetation in the foreground, I hoped for better pictures of the sycamores from down below. The ones I got were so-so, not as good as what you saw last time, but while tromping about in the lowlands I found something I hadn’t seen in Austin since 2007: some Missouri violet flowers, Viola missouriensis. Here you see one that had sprung up close to a fallen sycamore leaf. Notice how the shadows on the leaf loosely mimic the markings on the flower.

In spite of being called Missouri violet, this wildflower is native in plenty of other states, as you can confirm from the USDA map.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 15, 2016 at 4:53 AM

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