Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘wildflower


with 25 comments

A few weeks ago you got a close look at the inflorescence of snow-on-the-prairie. Now you’re getting a look at its sister species, snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata). On September 2nd I’d been driving home after photographing at two other locations in northwest Austin when I spotted a few of these familiar plants and decided to stop. Once I got close, I saw that a wasp was busy working the flowers. Like some other insects I’ve seen on flowers, this one kept moving pretty quickly, so I used a high shutter speed, 1/800 of a second, to keep from ending up with a blurred image of the wasp.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 14, 2018 at 4:44 AM

A daisy that looks better than a cowpen

with 23 comments

On September 2nd, at the same property along Lost Horizon Dr. in my neighborhood where I discovered a silverleaf nightshade flower that spoke in four-part harmony rather than five-, I found several bunches of Verbesina encelioides flowers, known as cowpen daisies. Most of you won’t be familiar with this species, so I’ve also included a view of two flower heads from behind.

The lot where I photographed these cowpen daisies is the only place I’ve been able to count on finding the species. Because parts of the property are getting developed, I don’t know how much longer the remaining wildflowers there will survive.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 10, 2018 at 4:56 AM

When five is four

with 42 comments

Five is the normal number of petals for the flowers of Solanum elaeagnifolium, known as silverleaf nightshade. Five is what every field guide I’ve looked at says. Five is how many petals I’ve always seen in the two decades I’ve known this common Texas wildflower.

Nevertheless, on September 2 at a property along Lost Horizon Dr. that’s getting houses built on portions of it, I found a silverleaf nightshade flower with just four petals. Because of the way adjacent petals in this kind of flower are fused at their edges, it doesn’t seem possible that the specimen started out with five petals and then lost one. Below is a slightly downward view from the other side of the flower that once again clearly shows four 90° angles rather than the expected five 72° angles.

For comparison, here’s the back of a regular silverleaf nightshade flower at the same location.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 5, 2018 at 4:28 AM

Water primrose

with 29 comments


The cheerful flowers of water primrose (Ludwigia octovalvis) are a reliable sight at the edges of ponds and creeks in central Texas. I photographed this one on August 17th close to the newly created street of Bachman Dr. on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin. Below is a rather abstract view showing a cobwebbed water primrose seed capsule.

I was surprised to learn recently that this species grows in many parts of the world and that its original native range is uncertain.

UPDATE: Thanks to Tanja Britton for correcting yesterday’s post. What I’d thought was a chipmunk turned out to be a golden-mantled ground squirrel.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 30, 2018 at 4:55 AM

Delta arrowhead

with 32 comments

After seven years of promoting local native wildflowers, here’s one I’ve never shown before: Sagittaria platyphylla, called delta arrowhead. I photographed it in a pond on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Texas on August 17th. Light reflecting off water droplets and passing through my camera lens caused the little nonagons in the upper right. I could’ve taken them out but left them in in the interest of geometry (and so I could write a sentence with in in in it—which now means I’ve also written a sentence with in in in in it, and could extend the series at will).

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 26, 2018 at 4:53 AM

Getting back to taking local pictures

with 35 comments

From July 16th through August 16th I took not a single nature photograph. I hadn’t planned a pause, that’s just what happened. On August 17th I felt the urge to take pictures again, so I did, going out onto the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin. The first thing that caught my attention was this gloriously backlit partridge pea flower (Chamaecrista fasciculata). The red tints at the base of the petals are normal for this species.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 23, 2018 at 4:44 AM

Now here’s a simple emblem of the sun

with 32 comments

Iambic pentameter for the title; Helianthus annuus for the sunflower; Capital of Texas Highway for the place; June 24th for the date. Now, two months later, sunflower plants can still be seen blooming here and there around Austin.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 20, 2018 at 5:59 PM

%d bloggers like this: