Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Williamson County

Green milkweed flowers and pods

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From May 29th at the Benbrook Ranch Park in Leander you’re seeing the flowers and pods of green milkweed, Asclepias viridis. And how about those great clouds? Because I took these pictures only three minutes apart, the clouds hadn’t changed that much, so if you compare you can still match some of them up.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 16, 2020 at 4:40 AM

Swirly, wispy, fleecy clouds

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Thanks to a tip from Jason Frels, on the morning of May 29th Eve and drove some 25 minutes north to  Leander, a fast-growing suburb of Austin, so we could go walking for the first time in Benbrook Ranch Park. The swirly and wispy clouds that accompanied us the whole time kept changing and forming intricate designs that enticed me to take lots of pictures of them in their own right, as shown above. I also welcomed the chance to play other things off against them, like the dead tree below.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 5, 2020 at 4:31 AM

Nine years

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Click to enlarge.

Nine years ago today I put up this blog’s first post, which featured a basket-flower (Plectocephalus americanus) with a soft cloud beyond it. On May 10th of this year I drove to the site in Round Rock where I made that important portrait in 2000 and was relieved to find basket-flowers and others still flourishing there on the Blackland Prairie. Then I drove a quarter-mile east to a site that had later become my favorite for basket-flowers, given the expanse and density of the basket-flower colonies that I found there in most years. Alas, the entire site had been razed in preparation for development! Today’s picture shows how things looked there in the spring of 2014, and how I’ll always remember the place.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 4, 2020 at 4:24 AM

Basket-flower colony on the Blackland Prairie

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Click to enlarge.

From May 10th, here’s a happy colony of basket-flowers (Plectocephalus americanus) on a piece of the Blackland Prairie at the southern edge of Round Rock. The numerous yellow flowers farther back are known as sundrops or square-bud primroses (Oenothera capillifolia). People call the red flowers firewheels and Indian blankets (Gaillardia pulchella). The white flowers in the distance are prairie bishop (Bifora americana).

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 14, 2020 at 4:41 AM

Flowering huisache tree on a cloudy day

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I’d gotten to thinking that 2020 was one of those years when the huisache [wee-sáh-chay] trees (Vachellia farnesiana) in my area weren’t going to put out any flowers. Finally on March 16th I noticed some on the two trees I’d been keeping an eye on in my neighborhood. Encouraged, the next day I drove around and found several fully blooming trees in Round Rock. Normally I’d have waited for a clear day to play off the blue of the sky against the saturated yellow-orange of these trees’ flowers, but we’d had weeks of mostly cloudy weather and the forecast was for more of the same. “If you can’t beat them, join them,” so I incorporated clouds into some of my pictures, as you see here.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 20, 2020 at 4:41 AM

Two takes on gulf muhly

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The decorative grass classified botanically as Muhlenbergia capillaris goes by the common names gulf muhly, pink muhly, and hair grass. The last time it appeared in these pages was four years ago. Because 4 is 2 times 2 as well as 2 plus 2 and also 2 to the power 2, and because mathematics is abstract, here are two abstract views of gulf muhly taken outside the Cedar Park Recreation Center on November 18th. The plant in the second, though still, appears to be blowing; thus did the genie in my camera make the static dynamic.

Muhly is short for Muhlenbergia, whose origin the website of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center explains this way: “The genus of this plant is named for Gotthilf Heinrich Ernst Muhlenberg (1753-1815), also Heinrich Ludwig Muehlenberg, or Henry Muhlenberg, who was a German-educated Lutheran minister and the first president of Franklin College, now Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania. He is most famous due to his work in the field of botany. An accomplished botanist, chemist, and mineralogist, Henry is credited with classifying and naming 150 species of plants in his 1785 work Index Flora Lancastriensis. Muhlenberg’s work and collaboration with European botanists led to great advances in the study of plants and earned him the distinction as America’s first outstanding botanist.”

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 28, 2019 at 4:42 AM

Two views of flameleaf sumac

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Longtime visitors here know that central Texas is too warm to get the kind of fall foliage that colder parts of the country are famous for. That said, we do get some autumn color, and one reliable source of it is the aptly named flameleaf sumac, Rhus lanceolata. On November 9th I spent time on part of the Brushy Creek Regional Trail in Cedar Park, where I made the two flameleaf sumac pictures in today’s post.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 10, 2019 at 4:40 AM

Another July 4th

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As I’ve sometimes done for the Fourth of July,
today I’m offering up a red, white, and blue photograph.
It shows standing cypress, Ipomopsis rubra, on May 20, 2009,
at the intersection of Williamson County Rd. 217 and US 183.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 4, 2019 at 4:36 AM

Galaxies of buttercups

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On April 4th I drove around on the Blackland Prairie east of Round Rock to see what nature was doing there. On my way back west toward the town I followed University Blvd., where at one point I noticed that a slew of small yellow flowers had colonized a drying creek bed. Barbed wire prevented me from making my way down to see what the flowers were, but not far away on the other side of the road I found an equally dense colony of the same wildflowers that I was able to walk up to. They turned out to be small buttercups of some sort, perhaps Ranunculus hispidus var. hispidus, formerly known as Ranunculus carolinianus.

This second colony was near the entrance to a recently built community called Vizcaya. As I took my pictures, a mower approached, and of course I wondered whether he would cut down all the flowers, as so often happens. I was relieved when I saw him mow right up to the edge of the colony but leave the flowers untouched. Someone still has a brain.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 15, 2019 at 4:48 AM

Fall foliage at Meadow Lake Park

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I try to go to Meadow Lake Park in Round Rock at least once a year because I always find some good native plants to take pictures of there. On the afternoon of November 4th I visited the park and photographed this colorful bald cypress tree, Taxodium distichum, set off by fleecy clouds. (From a month-ago post you may remember an earlier stage in color change.) The trees beyond the bald cypress are black willows, Salix nigra.

By the stand of black willows visible at the left edge of the first photograph I found a tall, slender stalk with yellowing leaves that Joe Marcus of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center identified as likely a species of Morus, which is to say mulberry. What the vine whose leaves were turning warm colors was, I don’t know, but the combination of yellow and red and orange against the blue sky certainly appealed to me.

Click to enlarge.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 28, 2018 at 4:34 AM

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