Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘weird

A Mexican hat mitten

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How about a Mexican hat that looked more like a mitten? I saw this strangely forming Ratibida columnifera in Austin six years ago today. Note the spider silk in various places. The colors in the background were from an Indian blanket, Gaillardia pulchella.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 6, 2019 at 4:56 AM

A new oddity

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On March 10th I went back to the lot along Balcones Woods Dr. where I’d photographed the stemless evening primrose flowers you saw here not long ago. The highlight of my latest stop was a strange ten-petal anemone flower (Anemone berlandieri) that had two central fruiting columns instead of the one that’s normal.

Sometimes flower parts get doubled as part of the phenomenon called fasciation, which I’ve documented in a bunch of posts over the years, but this time I didn’t see any of the noticeable flattening or distortion or elongation that fasciation typically brings with it. To continue investigating, I returned to the site on March 16th. By then the richly colored sepals had fallen off and dried out or blown away, so I had to search for several minutes to find the plant again. While the new evidence shown below argues against fasciation, what caused the rare splitting of one seed column into two remains a mystery. (I call this conjoining rare because even a local expert like botanist Bill Carr says he’s never seen an anemone do this.)

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 19, 2019 at 4:34 AM

The Bay of Fundy

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The Bay of Fundy, which lies between New Brunswick and western Nova Scotia, is famous for having the world’s greatest difference in sea level between low tide and high tide, as much as 50 ft. With such rapid rising and falling every day, the water can get pretty muddy. That’s apparent in the first photograph, a view looking out from Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick, a few minutes before noon on June 7. By then the fog over the land across an arm of the Bay was rapidly lifting; soon the clouds had dissipated.

The next morning, in Saint John, New Brunswick, we witnessed a strange phenomenon. People describe rivers as flowing downstream, with the down meaning literally from a higher elevation to a lower one, due to gravity. The Saint John River also flows from greater elevation to lower elevation, but as high tide approaches, the water surging in from the Bay of Fundy rises so much that the river reverses and the water temporarily flows in the direction we would normally call upstream. That’s what you see in the second photograph, where the river was flowing from the left, which is conventionally downstream, to the right, which is conventionally upstream.

Here’s a plaque that tells more about the strange and occasionally deadly phenomenon:

On a lighter note, I can’t resist saying that, photographically speaking, the Bay of Fundy makes for a bay of fun day.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 2, 2018 at 4:33 AM

Eight minutes later

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fasciated-saguaro-with-wispy-clouds-and-ocotillo-1963

During my 2014 trip to Arizona I encountered two fasciated saguaro cacti (Carnegiea gigantea). The 2016 trip led me to just one. I found it at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum on November 7th, eight minutes after I’d photographed the copper ore you saw last time. Rising at the left are the branches of an ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens).

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 22, 2017 at 4:49 AM

Make that three junipers in a row

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Ashe Juniper Hanging Upside Down from Cliff 2860

It has been said, accurately or not, that when the British surrendered to the Americans at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, the British musicians played the song “The World Turned Upside Down.” Send some of those notes out now for this poor Ashe juniper tree (Juniperus ashei), which had gotten largely uprooted but still clung to life as it hung upside down over a cliff along Bull Creek in northwest Austin. The photograph shows how things looked on July 21, two weeks after I’d first caught sight of the inverted tree. Notice how much of the juniper’s foliage remained green.

This was not my first take on upside-down-ness over Bull Creek.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 31, 2016 at 4:53 AM

Conjoined firewheels

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Conjoined Firewheel Flower Heads 4547

In the Balcones District Park on May 13th I found these two firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella) flower heads conjoined back to back on a single stem. The fact that the stem was somewhat flattened makes me think fasciation* was at work here. The purple in the background came from horsemints (Monarda citriodora).

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* You can pronounce the sc in fasciation as ss or sh.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 12, 2016 at 5:00 AM

A malformed four-nerve daisy bud

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Malformed Tetraneuris Bud 2921

Among the four-nerve daisies (Tetraneuris linearifolia) that I photographed on Bluegrass Dr. on January 29th, I noticed one bud that had folded in on itself in an unnatural way that I’d never seen in this species and that might have been an instance of fasciation. If you’d like, you can compare the way a four-nerve daisy bud normally opens. You can also click the fasciation tag below to scroll down through previous posts showing other afflicted species.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 6, 2016 at 5:01 AM

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