Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A clarification

with 7 comments

It occurred to me, and was confirmed by a question, that many viewers of the last post won’t be familiar with the plant featured there, Liatris mucronata. Here, then, is a look at some normal spikes of that species, from which you can see how freakish the fasciated one in the previous photograph is. As a bonus, in the background you get a hint of the purple flowers that are due on this species in September, drought permitting; the flowers account for the common names blazing-star and gayfeather.

This picture is another golden oldie from a decade ago, taken on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin with an early digital SLR camera. What intrigued me in this scene was the way the tip of one spike had gotten caught near the tip of another.

For more information about gayfeather or blazing-star, as this species is colloquially called, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 24, 2011 at 1:01 PM

7 Responses

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  1. What a lovely image! It’s like they are tickling one another!


    August 24, 2011 at 1:05 PM

  2. I’ve seen fasication in a number of species, but never in blossoms. Does that ever happen, Steve?

    John Mac Carpenter

    August 24, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    • Yes, it does. Since you ask about that, I’ll see if I can rustle up an image of a fasciated flower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 24, 2011 at 2:19 PM

  3. Wow – this was in the area that became Harris Ridge Blvd? I remember an area in back with lots of mesquites. The colonies of liatris seemed so common back then…


    August 27, 2011 at 8:24 PM

    • You’ve got it: I believe it was in that field on the east side of what is now Harris Ridge Blvd. The field is still there, and I occasionally go back and take pictures there, but the Liatris has never recovered from the mowing it got in around 2001. I’ve seen some Liatris plants in several other places this year, but none flowering yet (except the ones by the street in front of Jason and Lisa’s house that I saw yesterday).

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 27, 2011 at 9:03 PM

  4. […] August 24th I showed a decade-old photograph of Liatris mucronata as a foretaste of what September might hold for us in central Texas. The drought has desiccated […]

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