Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘wildflowers

Every school should have grounds that look this good

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When I showed you the grounds of Cedar Ridge High School in Round Rock last spring, the bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) had done their thing but the huisache trees (Vachellia farnesiana) had not. When I returned on April 4th this year, both were in their flowering prime.

Unlike the huisache surrounded by bluebonnets that I found near Poteet two weeks earlier, which was far away in a pasture made inaccessible by barbed wire, here I could wander freely (while stepping carefully among the bluebonnets) to get close and try out varied compositions. Below is one such. Note the white bluebonnet at the bottom. Unfortunately I can’t show you the combined aromas of bluebonnets and huisache blossoms.

I called the school to ask how the property came to look so good. The person who answered the phone said that the bluebonnets on one side of the entry road had always been there, whereas people replanted the ones on the other side after construction of the auditorium messed up that part of the colony.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 11, 2019 at 4:48 AM

At what cost Cost?

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All that Cost cost us on April 2nd when we visited the tiny town in Gonzales County some 90 miles south of home was time and gasoline. Behind the First Shot Monument we found a great mix of Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa), Texas dandelions (Pyrrhopappus pauciflorus), and Texas stork’s bills (Erodium texanum), as shown in the first photo.

While walking around I noticed two contiguous Texas dandelions, one the usual color and the other a yellow-white combination. I hope you find this touching pair touching.

Also at no extra cost I got the chance to see a few pincushion daisies, Gaillardia suavis, a species that for whatever reason rarely puts in an appearance in Austin even though it ranges from Mexico to Kansas. Each solitary flower head grows at the tip of a bare stalk as much as two-and-a-half feet long. Add this wildflower to the svelte greenthread and gaura you saw here recently.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 10, 2019 at 4:46 AM

The fifth wildflower-covered cemetery

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The fifth and last wildflower-covered burial ground we visited last month was the Garza-Valadez Cemetery in Floresville. On March 27th we’d left the main city cemetery and the downtown and were beginning to head back to Austin when on a whim I stayed on 4th St. for a while instead of cutting over to US 181 on 10th St. Without that whim we’d never have known about this place.

Even better than the cemetery itself was the wildflower meadow behind the house next door. I couldn’t go in there so I had to content myself with shooting over the fence with a telephoto lens zoomed to 400mm.

And now for the colorful botany lesson. The white flowers were white prickly poppies (Argemone albiflora). The yellow were Nueces coreopsis (Coreopsis nuecensis). The magenta were a species of Phlox. The blue were sandyland bluebonnets (Lupinus subcarnosus). The red were Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa).

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 8, 2019 at 4:32 AM

Less than a full puff of silverpuff

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Above is a chiaroscuro portrait showing less than a full puff of silverpuff (Chaptalia texana) in the heavy shade beneath some Ashe juniper trees (Juniperus ashei) on Floral Park Dr. in my neighborhood on March 30. It’s been a good while since this species has appeared here, so below from the same photo session I’ve added a reminder that silverpuff’s flower heads are cylindrical, tend to nod, and stay mostly closed.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 7, 2019 at 4:45 AM

Huisache daisy colony

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Along Priest Rd. off S. Loop 1604 southwest of Elmendorf on March 27th we found this extraordinary colony of huisache daisies, Amblyolepis setigera. According to Garden Style San Antonio, “Huisache daisy is so called because it often grows in thick stands under huisache and other chaparral bushes, forming a solid blanket of gold.” Often isn’t always, and in this case I don’t recall a huisache tree anywhere in sight. In the United States these daisies grow only in Texas; they’re also found in Mexico. Mixed in with the huisache daisies in this stand you’ll notice some verbenas, and in the background the ubiquitous Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa.

The huisache daisy has appeared only once before in these pages, in a closeup with a tumbling flower beetle.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 6, 2019 at 4:47 AM

Also tall and slender

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Echoing the gaura that grew tall and slender
at the southwest corner of US 183 and N. Lamar Blvd. on
March 30 was the greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium)
shown here. I’d been seeing this species flowering
in various places around Austin since January but hadn’t
photographed any. The unusually long stalk gave me
a good reason to break my greenthread photo fast.
Below is a view of the flower head from the other side.
Notice that greenthread shades a little toward orange.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 5, 2019 at 4:45 AM

Floresville City Cemetery #2

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The fourth wildflower-covered burial ground we visited last month was the Floresville City Cemetery #2. Below you’ll see how it looked on March 27th. The red flowers are Indian paintbrushes, Castilleja indivisa, and the yellow are Nueces coreopsis, Coreopsis nuecensis. The white daisies may be in the genus Aphanostephus.

In the second photograph you can pick out several cream-colored paintbrushes. They’re not a different species, just a normal variant that springs up from time to time. Notice the misspelling of Floresville on James Gray’s tombstone. The flowers themselves are not misspelled. (UPDATE: I’ve found out a little more about the James Gray featured in the second picture.)

In some places sandyland bluebonnets (Lupinus subcarnosus) entered the mix.

Different color combinations prevailed in different places.

© Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 4, 2019 at 4:37 AM

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