Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘wildflower

Stemless evening primrose flower opening

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From the West Pickle Campus in north Austin on March 18th, here’s the mostly closed flower of a stemless evening primrose (Oenothera triloba). The first word in the common name distinguishes this evening primrose from others: each flower stalk emerges directly from a basal rosette of leaves, and the plant has no real stems. Fully open fresh flowers are yellow, rather than the peach at the stage shown here. And speaking of colors, the area that shows up as bluish purple didn’t seem so at the time; processing the photograph intensified the faint color that must have been there all along, even while leaving the hues of the flower and sheath the way I actually saw them. Now I can ask once more: what’s reality, anyway?

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 5, 2020 at 4:33 PM

Backlit Lindheimer’s senna flower

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Senna lindheimeriana; October 22 west of Morado Circle.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 17, 2019 at 4:28 AM

Devil’s claw bud and flower

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Here’s Proboscidea louisianica, called devil’s claw, not long for this world
at a construction site along Duval Rd. in northwest Austin on September 8.

The glandular hairs confirm that this flower is a gooey one,
and that accounts for the many clinging bits of grit you see.
Backlighting accounts for the translucence in the second picture.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 28, 2019 at 4:45 AM

Posted in nature photography

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Hibiscus laevis

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From today’s date in 2018 at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center comes this opening bud of Hibiscus laevis, known as smooth rose mallow or halberd-leaved rose mallow. If you’re curious about the flower this kind of bud will open up into, you can check out a post from 2013.

The species name laevis is the Latin word for ‘light in weight.” It reminds me now of the first line in the opening stanza of poet Augusto Gil‘s “Balada da neve,” Ballad of the Snow,” which our teacher introduced us to in my first Portuguese class way back in 1965:

“Batem leve, levemente,
como quem chama por mim.
Será chuva? Será gente?
Gente não é, certamente
e a chuva não bate assim.”

“There’s a light, light tapping,
As if someone were calling for me.
Could it be the rain? Could it be people?
People it certainly isn’t,
And the rain doesn’t sound like that.”

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 26, 2019 at 4:41 AM

Looking more familiar

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By the time we reached the Alabama Gulf Coast on our way back to Austin we were increasingly seeing wildflowers that we recognized because they also grow in Texas. One of those (which actually grows as far away as New York and Massachusetts) was Chamaecrista fasciculata, commonly called partidge pea. Here you see a bud of that species in front of a flower that I believe to be a saltmarsh morning glory, Ipomoea sagittata, based on its leaves (sagittata means ‘shaped like an arrowhead’). I took this colorful picture on August 10 outside the Estuarium on Dauphin Island in the Gulf of Mexico.

If you’re wondering what kind of flower will emerge from the bud, you can check out a post from 2014. And if you’re interested in the craft of photography, today’s portrait illustrates point 5 in About My Techniques.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 19, 2019 at 4:47 AM

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Snow-on-the-mountain above a cumulus cloud

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From the aptly named Innovation Way in Cedar Park on August 29th, here’s a portrait of snow-on-the-mountain, Euphorbia marginata, that’s unlike any I recall making of this species. You’re welcome to compare the similar yet different snow-on-the-prairie that you saw nine days ago. To complete the triumvirate, you can also check out the fire-on-the-mountain that made its one and only appearance in these pages in 2011.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 14, 2019 at 4:33 AM


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Even though horseweed is one of the most widely distributed native plants in North America, it seldom if ever gets its praises sung. With that in mind, let me at least do some humming in favor of Conyza canadensis. Below you get a closer look at the seemingly energetic way the leaves on the main stalk dry out.

For temporal balance, have a look at those leaves on a fresh plant:

And here’s a closer look at a maturing inflorescence:

All these pictures come from the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin on August 24th.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 12, 2019 at 4:08 AM

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