Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A close look at giant ragweed’s flowers

with 9 comments

Whether you’re examining a giant ragweed plant that’s candelabra-like or scraggly, you still want to take a close look at its flowers, which are oriented downward. Aided by gravity, each of the little floral “bells” will ripen and ring out a cloud of pollen. The column of flowers shown here was a couple of inches long.

For more information about Ambrosia trifida, including a clickable map showing the great many places in North America where the plant grows, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 16, 2011 at 3:58 AM

9 Responses

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  1. what a fascinating little beastie the ragweed is. I’m going to go check up on ours and re-verify that it’s all gone to seed. I have to say, when I finally nailed down that this is ragweed, I just cracked up, since I’d never known what ragweed looked like before.


    September 16, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    • I like your unique description of ragweed as “a fascinating little beastie.” For allergy sufferers, though, it’s beastly.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 16, 2011 at 11:19 AM

  2. […] that you’ve gotten a close look at the tiny flowers of giant ragweed, Ambrosia trifida, the only thing you might think they have in common with a sunflower is the bit […]

  3. There was plenty of Ragweed here in Ohio this year. It’s fascinating to look at close-up even if it causes lots of allergic misery!

    Watching Seasons

    September 18, 2011 at 4:45 PM

  4. nice image Steve – but not a fan of the old ragweed due to allergies…. 🙂

    Sheila Creighton

    September 25, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    • I suffer from allergies too: one more occupational hazard of being a native plant photographer here, along with heat, humidity, prickly pear spines and glochids, fire ants, etc.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 25, 2011 at 5:19 PM

  5. […] a tribe of the family that doesn’t produce sunflower-type flowers, as you can see from my post on September 16. What makes giant ragweed so un-fun is the giant amounts of pollen it releases each fall into the […]

  6. […] greens of this one. So it is with giant ragweed, Ambrosia trifida, whose sturdy new stalk and upside-down flowers that push pollen out into the air long-time visitors to this column have already seen. […]

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