Photo of the Week – February 16, 2017

You’ve probably noticed that my favorite photo subjects are insects and flowers.  You’ve probably also noticed that insects and flowers are pretty uncommon during Nebraska winters.  By about this time each year, I start feeling a little desperate for photo subjects.  Last weekend, I went for a long walk in a prairie north of town, trying to find something, ANYTHING, with some color other than brown.  The best I could come up with were some small rosettes of common evening primrose (Oenothera villosa) scattered along south-facing prairie hills.  I spent way more time than necessary photographing these little red leaves, but I did feel a little better afterward.

Rosette of common evening primrose (Oenothera villosa).

Rosette of common evening primrose (Oenothera villosa).

There were quite a few different rosettes to choose from, and each had its own unique beauty.

…ok, that’s not true – they all pretty much looked the same.  But there were a few minor differences, and did I mention I was feeling desperate?


See how different the rosette below looks from the first one?  It’s COMPLETELY different.  A little.



Look, these leaves have a little green in them!  Isn’t that exciting?


No, this is a different plant and different leaves from the earlier one.


Spring is coming soon, right?

(I have about a hundred more photos of these…)

This entry was posted in Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants and tagged , , , by Chris Helzer. Bookmark the permalink.

About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.

15 thoughts on “Photo of the Week – February 16, 2017

  1. I’m glad you photographed them. They’re truly lovely. I’d never seen anything quite like them, so I went looking, and found that, according to the USDA map, they’re recorded in just seven Texas counties. Two of them, Harris (Houston) and Liberty, are just north of me, so if I get to one of the pocket prairies up there, I’ll know to keep an eye out for them.

  2. Pingback: My little simple thought

  3. I’ve got a riddle for you. One of the Iowa tribe’s names for July is named after a plant: “When the big belly grass is picked to make brooms.” Any idea of what grass species that might have been?

    • Hi Lance, I have no idea. I checked with a couple others as well, and no luck there either. If I was going to make a broom out of July grasses, I’d choose little bluestem, but I have NO idea whether or not that’s what is being referred to. Sorry…

  4. One of the great beauties of the prairie is it’s subtle nature. This really shows here and they are actually very beautiful don’t you think. Imagine the best blown up to 6 foot square on your living room wall.

  5. Pingback: Photo of the Week – February 23, 2017 | The Prairie Ecologist


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