Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for July 10th, 2011

Camphorweed Lights the Way

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Opening bud of camphorweed, Heterotheca subaxillaris.

Although most of the structures of Austin’s former Mueller Airport have been demolished as part of the redevelopment of the site, one thing that remains is the old air traffic control tower. Those of you who don’t remember it or have never seen it can have a look at some photographs posted by the Austin American-Statesman. Then tell me if you don’t find today’s “towering” camphorweed bud, all one inch of it, a better emblem of the site. I even give you leave to see it as a resinous torch tipped with yellow flames guiding the way.

As yesterday’s post mentioned, Heterotheca subaxillaris is commonly called camphorweed because of its distinctive odor. That scent is conveyed by the sticky resin that most parts of the plant exude in tiny drops; you can see dozens of those droplets on the green bracts and stem shown here. As I wished yesterday that you could smell the plant, I wish today that you could feel its stickiness on your fingers.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 10, 2011 at 10:09 AM

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