Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

To Have and Have Not 3

with 16 comments

Roughstem rosinweed, Silphium radula; click for more detail.

Yesterday’s post showed a section of Bull Creek in northwest Austin as it appeared in March. Three days ago I went to a portion of the creek not far from there to see how things were looking. Long stretches were completely dry, and those shorter ones that were still wet held stagnant water; nowhere did I see any flow at all. But amidst all the “have not” there is always some “have,” and what that area can currently claim to have in abundance is roughstem rosinweed (Silphium radula). Dozens of these stiff-stalked plants, whether erect or more likely leaning over, are now flowering brightly up and down the shady paths adjacent to both sides of the creek. Some people mistake them for sunflowers, which are relatives. One thing I’ve noticed about this species of rosinweed is a tendency at a certain stage for its stamens to rise and form a crown around the pale green disk at their center. Welcome to the coronation.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

(For the technically minded, points 1, 2, and especially 4 in About My Techniques apply to today’s photograph.)

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 16, 2011 at 7:20 AM

16 Responses

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  1. What a remarkable image of a Roughstem Rosinweed.


    July 16, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    • Thanks, Ariana. Given that these plants are flowering along Bull Creek, you may be able to see some along Barton Creek in your part of town. Let’s hope.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 16, 2011 at 11:25 AM

  2. That’s a very beautiful flower! Sad that the creek is so low on water. You folks are sure due for some rain! We are now in our summer dry season too, and getting a little concerned about fire danger.


    July 16, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    • I’m glad you appreciate the rosinweed flower. Yes, we are overdue for some real rain. I awoke this morning to hear a few drops landing on the skylight, but it was only a few drops, only that and nothing more. I’m sorry to hear that Montana is now in danger of fire. Things here are so dry that there’s a burn ban and fireworks were prohibited on the Fourth of July; to my amazement people heeded the prohibition, and I didn’t hear a single firecracker.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 16, 2011 at 10:30 PM

  3. […] first find along Bull Creek earlier this week was dozens of roughstem rosinweeds in bloom, one of which appeared in yesterday’s post. Another find, much less conspicuous and much less conventionally pretty, came from a part of the […]

  4. That twisted petal is an eye catcher!


    July 17, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    • Yes, I was fascinated by the way that one ray curled. I’m glad its non-conformity caught your eye too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 17, 2011 at 11:23 AM

      • It’s always a favorite reason to keep observing the same plants over their bloom time…they are so alive with personality, so it seems, as petals move and bend independently as if to be telling you something.

        Pamela Breitberg

        November 6, 2011 at 8:09 AM

      • Ah, if only we could interpret all that they’re telling us. I’m grateful for anything I can infer.

        Steve Schwartzman

        November 6, 2011 at 8:32 AM

  5. […] grasshopper that looked like it was wearing military camouflage, and not only dozens of roughstem rosinweed plants in full flower, but also on a leaf of one of the rosinweeds the exuviae of the cicada (or maybe I should say […]

  6. I didn’t know they came in yellow.


    July 19, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    • I presume you’re thinking of Silphium albiflora, which is white and also grows in central Texas. In addition to the rosinweed shown here, the website of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center shows a bunch of other Silphium species with yellow flowers. Silphium albiflora, which I also like, seems to be the exception.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 19, 2011 at 12:03 PM

  7. […] That was the same productive visit that led to pictures of a camouflaged insect, a roughstem rosinweed in full flower, and the exuviae of a […]

  8. […] are two things that we can tie this picture to. One is the roughstem rosinweed, Silphium radula, that appeared in these pages in July of 2011. Here you see a sibling, Silphium […]

  9. […] Somehow I think this came from a person interested in handicrafts, not rosinweed. […]

  10. […] simpsonii. The butterfly outdoes the rosinweed here, but in the second month of this blog I showed a radiant picture of a similar species of rosinweed, Silphium radula, if you’d care to look back. And if you’re still in retro mode, you […]

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