Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for September 13th, 2011

An asymmetric Maximilian sunflower

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The last post showed you the top part of a flowering Maximilian sunflower plant, Helianthus maximiliani, looked at sideways and from slightly below. Today’s view lets you see one of this species’ opening flower heads, though a strangely asymmetric one it is: maturation has taken place unevenly, with the left side getting well ahead of the right. If you look closely at the right side, you’ll see part of a dark beetle that has burrowed into the crease between the disk flowers, still closed, and the yellow ray flowers that are opening. There’s an even smaller insect below the lowest of all the unopened disk flowers.

Like yesterday’s photograph, I took this one on September 7 at the prairie restoration on the south side of Austin’s former Mueller Airport. And as I said last time, because of the continuing drought, skies in most of the recent photographs in this blog have been a very bright blue. If the sky in today’s picture seems more pallid, it’s not an illusion. No, there was a haze in the sky on September 7, and unfortunately it was due to drifting smoke from the wildfire that continued to burn large expanses of the forest (and over 1400 houses!) in Bastrop County, some 30 miles east of Austin.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 13, 2011 at 5:59 AM

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