Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘wildflowers

Frost and frostweed ice

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As yesterday gave way to today, the temperature in Austin dropped below freezing, so out I went this morning to check on a stand of frostweed (Verbesina virginica) that I rely on in Great Hills Park. Sure enough, a couple of dozen plants had done their magic ice trick. The one shown here did so right next to a straggler daisy (Calyptocarpus vialis) that conveniently harmonized with it by getting frosted in its own right. If you’d like a better view of the straggler daisy, click the thumbnail below.

And if you’re not familiar with the frostweed ice phenomenon, you’re welcome to read more about it.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 14, 2018 at 4:18 PM

Keeping an eye on goldeneye

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I began seeing Viguiera dentata, known as goldeneye, flowering in Austin around the middle of October, which is normal timing for these bushes. When I did several closeups of flower heads along Spicewood Springs Rd. on October 22nd, some drops of morning dew or residual rain hadn’t yet evaporated. The light was dull, so for this picture I used flash, then softened harsh parts of the image a little when processing it.

In contrast, on a sunny November 1st I stopped to photograph a good goldeneye stand along RM 2222 about a mile west of Capital of Texas Highway. The tree is a mesquite, Prosopis glandulosa.

And in the “more is more” category, here’s a closer look at the interplay between the bare branches and the masses of goldeneye flowers:

For those of you in cold places, may all this yellow brighten your day. Even in November, Texas still knows how to put on a wildflower display.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 10, 2018 at 4:30 AM

More from my hours on the Blackland Prairie

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While out on the prairie on October 27th looking for Maximilian sunflowers and finding plenty of them, I also came across a colony of goldenrod (Solidago altissima) along Bratton Lane whose flowers were happily fresh.

Some of the plants were simultaneously drying out and putting forth new flowers:

All those goldenrod flowers attracted a slew of insects, including this monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus):

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 1, 2018 at 4:42 AM

A triangular array of gorgeous Maximilian sunflowers

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October 27th was the first completely sunny day here for the past two months, so out I went that morning to photograph my first Maximilian sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani) of the season. As I drove around on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin and adjacent Pflugerville and Round Rock, I ended up taking pictures at seven sites in what stretched to over five hours. In the southeast quadrant of A.W. Grimes Blvd. and Louis Henna Blvd. in Round Rock I photographed this triangular floral display:

As dazzling a display of yellow as it was, I’m sorry to tell you that these flowers were growing all by themselves at a construction site, so this was most likely the last time any Maximilian sunflowers would be there. To see the scene as it actually was and to imagine yourself in my place as I scrunched close to the ground and worked hard to isolate the flowers from all the distracting human elements around them, go ahead and click the tiny thumbnail below.

As the two photographs taken together demonstrate, there are times when even in the unlikeliest of places “pure” nature photography is still possible.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 30, 2018 at 4:48 AM

Almost black and white

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Call it chiaroscuro, this portrait of frostweed flowers (Verbesina virginica) growing wild in my neighborhood on October 4th. Hard to believe this species is a genus-mate of the cowpen daisy you saw here last month.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 23, 2018 at 6:12 AM

Fall sneezeweed

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Helenium autumnale, known as fall sneezeweed, is a wildflower I seldom come across. In fact it has appeared in these posts only once, way back in 2011. I found this happily blooming clump in Bull Creek on September 7th. You may recognize the species as a genus-mate of the yellow bitterweed you saw here last week.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 18, 2018 at 5:33 PM

Fasciation comes to a black-eyed susan

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Near the end of my visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on September 26th I photographed some seed head remains of black-eyed susans, Rudbeckia hirta. Here’s one of them, in which you can confirm the usual thimble shape:

Then I spotted an obviously fasciated specimen, with a flattened stem and a bunch of seed heads glommed together into an irregular bundle:

Click the “fasciation” tag below if you’d like to learn more about the phenomenon and see other examples I’ve shown over the years.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 13, 2018 at 4:50 AM

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