Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘wildflowers

I thought I might have missed them

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We got back from New Zealand on March 9th. In driving around my Austin neighborhood in the days after that, I didn’t see any cedar sage (Salvia roemeriana) flowering in the accustomed place along Morado Circle so I thought I might have missed this year’s flowers while I was away. Toward the end of the month I finally saw one, and on April 1st I photographed a few beneath some “cedar” (Ashe juniper) trees on Floral Park Dr., as you see above. I found even more in another place a week later, and still more in Great Hills Park on April 15th.

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Even after six weeks, the Dauntless Duo has barely recovered from all the running around we did in New Zealand. Nevertheless, as of today we’re traveling again, so there’ll be fewer posts for the “foreseeable” future. (I used quotation marks because in a recent talk about the American Revolution historian David McCullough reminded people that the future isn’t foreseeable.)

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 19, 2017 at 4:48 AM

Bouchetia erecta

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March 30th was an unusually cool day in Austin: high 50s in the morning and a maximum around 76° in the afternoon. With weather like that bound not to last long in this land of heat, out I went to the natural area in my neighborhood that I’ve often visited along Yaupon Dr. beneath the large power lines. There in a limestone meadow I found a small white flower nestled up against the even smaller pink flowers of some wild garlic, Allium drummondii. Thanks to Joe Marcus, I learned that the little white flower is Bouchetia erecta, a member of the nightshade family. This species, which is endemic to Texas, goes by the common names erect bouchetia and painted tongue.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 10, 2017 at 4:54 AM

A multitude of white

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On March 30th in a meadow underlain with limestone I found a dense colony of flowering Valerianella amarella, known by the strange common name of corn salad. By comparing the size of the prickly pear cactus pads, you can see that corn salad flowers are small. In fact they’re even smaller than you might think, because each dab of white in the picture above is actually a cluster of little flowers. Here’s a closeup of one cluster:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 6, 2017 at 4:55 AM

A double-headed Mexican hat

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I’d been keeping my eye on a stretch of median in Morado Circle in the Great Hills neighborhood of Austin where I live. At some point the median had been mowed, but now in the spring the vegetation was reasserting itself. A week ago I noticed some Mexican hat plants (Ratibida columnifera) coming up, and when I drove by on March 26th I saw that several were already flowering. The next day I went and sat myself down with them. The flower head shown here caught my attention and I took some pictures of it. Only when I went to look from the opposite side did I discover another central column jutting out at roughly a right angle to the one shown here. In other words, this was an unusual flower head, a twin. While I was still there I didn’t get the impression of fasciation, but in this photograph the stem does seem a little wide and flattened, so perhaps fasciation explains the doubling-up after all.

The two adjacent sets of ray flowers formed a broad collar that isolated one central column from the other. I looked from various angles but couldn’t find a good way to photograph the two columns together. In the end, just for the sake of documentation, I took the picture below.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 29, 2017 at 4:13 AM

Looking up to prairie verbena

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Another wildflower I found on March 14 in the strip of land between Arboretum Blvd. and Loop 360 was the prairie verbena, Glandularia bipinnatifida.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 24, 2017 at 4:43 AM

A brighter white

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Brighter white than the old plainsman buds you saw last time are the flowers of southern dewberry, Rubus trivialis. I photographed this member of the rose family on March 15th between Arboretum Blvd. and Loop 360 in my northwestern part of Austin.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 18, 2017 at 4:57 AM

Old plainsman buds opening

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Again from the strip of land between Arboretum Blvd. and Loop 360 on March 14th, here are some opening buds of old plainsman (Hymenopappus scabiosaeus). Don’t you find them sculptural?

As with the previous image, I had to lie down to take this photograph, given that the small buds were little more than a foot (0.3m) above the ground. Unlike the Indian paintbrush and bluebonnet shown in the last post, old plainsman is a native plant that few people pay attention to, much less appreciate. On the contrary, I suspect many consider it a weed. Not I.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 17, 2017 at 4:50 AM

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