Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘wildflower

Time for prairie agalinis

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What would autumn in Austin be if I didn’t show you at least one picture of prairie agalinis (Agalinis heterophylla)? This October 21st portrait is from the same property in my hilly northwestern part of Austin where I found a ladies’ tresses orchid.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 30, 2017 at 4:42 AM

Ladies’ tresses and queen’s delight

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Yesterday morning I got my annual wake-up call in the form of an e-mail from Meg Inglis alerting me that the Great Plains ladies’ tresses orchids (Spiranthes magnicamporum) in her area to the west of Austin were flowering. Within a couple of hours I went to a place in my part of town that has been reliable for that species, and sure enough, I found some orchids that were doing their thing. In other years I’ve shown you ladies’ tresses in isolation, so this year for variety I’m giving you a picture of an orchid I found yesterday touching a plant called queen’s delight (Stillingia texana).

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 22, 2017 at 4:56 AM

A different Gaillardia

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Because I’m familiar with several species of Gaillardia in central Texas, when I saw a little group of plants in Waterton Lakes National Park on August 29th I knew right away that I was dealing with some kind of Gaillardia. After returning home I consulted the BONAP maps for the genus and was relieved to find only one species marked for that area: Gaillardia aristata, known colloquially as common gaillardia, blanketflower or great blanketflower, and even (confusingly) brown-eyed susan, which I associate with a different genus in the sunflower family. In any case, I was taken with this Gaillardia flower head that had dried out and was part-way through producing and releasing its seeds. The curve of the stem added to its appeal.

Click for greater clarity.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 11, 2017 at 4:53 AM

Rocky Mountain beeweed

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As if to corroborate the common name Rocky mountain beeweed, I found a native bee on these flowers of Cleome serrulata at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in northern New Mexico on June 12th. An online article about this species notes that other vernacular names for the plant are stinking-clover, bee spider-flower, skunk weed, Navajo spinach, and guaco. This wildflower is a relative of the clammyweed that grows in Austin.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 20, 2017 at 4:50 AM

A floral balance at Kasha-Katuwe

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In addition to balanced rocks at Kasha-Katuwe in northern New Mexico on June 12th, here’s a balanced jimsonweed flower (Datura wrightii). Note the tiny native bee on the left side of the flower.

I’d pulled off to the side of the entrance road to photograph the jimsonweed and had barely gotten out of my car when a tribal policeman stopped his patrol car to see what I was up to. I guess very few visitors pull over at a place that doesn’t offer a view of the rock formations.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 18, 2017 at 4:48 AM

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

Soar, sunflower, soar

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Helianthus annuus. Cedar Park, Texas. June 22.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 10, 2017 at 3:34 AM

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