Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for July 8th, 2011

It seems a metalsmith was here before Rembrandt

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Close view of the decomposing head of a Texas thistle; click for more detail.

Yesterday’s dark-toned photograph showed the head of a Texas thistle, Cirsium texanum, when it begins to come apart. Today’s picture is a closer view of the purposeful chaos inside a decomposing thistle seed head. Botanists use the term pappus to describe the tuft of hairs attached to each seed of a thistle (and other plants), and they use the adjective plumose to describe the feathery appearance of such a tuft. Plumose the tufts may be, but the structure that supports them looks man-made and metallic as it gleams in the sunlight.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

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