Readers’ wildlife photos

July 11, 2022 • 8:00 am

We’re starting to run low again, folks, so send in your photos.

Today we have plant photos from reader Rik Gern of Austin, Texas. His captions are indented (the photos are numbered), and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

I’ve gone thru my files to find pictures of a Crape Myrtle tree (Lagerstroemia indica) and see if I could gussy them up enough to be worth including with your Reader’s Wildlife Photos.

Naturally, the blossom is the main attraction, but as with any plant, the other features are also interesting. It’s got a nice broad leaf, pictured here in spring, summer and fall. (1,2,3). In the fall, when the blossoms have faded, the bright orange leaves have their chance to be the star of the show, even if they are mottled and spotted.




The blossom starts with a tight little bud (4), and opening up, (5) it looks like a ballerina limbering up with graceful stretches. Here we see it puckering up (6) until it bursts open like a batch of Jiffy Pop (7), but instead of popcorn the anthers are filled with yummy bug bait! (8) ) Of course, for us humans the esthetic attraction is the gorgeous petals (9 &10) that look like swirling petticoats and give the whole tree the feeling of a botanical Follies Bergere. It’s all in service of spreading the seeds and propagating the plant, and here is the pistil, on hand to do the job (11). Once that job is done the flower shrivels up till it looks like a used party favor. (12) Show’s over folks, go home, there’s nothing to see here!










Here’s something you don’t see very often; we had a freeze in the winter of 2021 and the branches got glazed with a thin layer of ice. (13)


The final two images (14 & 15) are photoshopped variations on the first and last pictures, respectively. The first made me think of criss-crossing chromosomes, and I think of it as the blind dealer shuffling the genetic deck. The Jethro Tull song “Jack In The Green” kept going thru my head as the second image took shape. I wasn’t familiar with that legend, but I looked it up and here’s what Tull’s Ian Anderson had to say about it, “Back, you see, in England’s green and pleasant woodlands, we have these small elf-like characters, who are charged with the grave responsibility of looking after all things that grow during the dark and cold winter months”.  Sounds like a pleasant fantasy, but not “another way of knowing”!



9 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Beautiful shots of the Crape Myrtle tree.

    Picture #14 has an H.R. Giger ‘biomechanical’ vibe to it.

  2. Gorgeous photos and beautiful descriptions. #10 and 14 are my favorite, but I just love the series of the bud opening until the end.
    Thanks so much!

  3. This was a nice change of pace. Thanks for the photos and the artsy renditions, all very enjoyable.

  4. LIked the whole lifecycle series. So often I just see the showy petals, but never the before and after, which are useful for identifiying them.

  5. Very nice set. I don’t see many crape myrtles around here; it’s too cold in the winter. I like the first picture—I love the sight of new, bright-green spring leaves on the trees after a long gray winter, and I have taken many pictures of them with light shining through.

    I am now tempted to play around with manipulating some pictures to get interesting patterns. Picture #14 looks like an insect face to me.

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