Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for September 18th, 2011

Downy gaura

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Yesterday’s picture of a giant ragweed stalk near a sunflower comes from the afternoon of June 22. That morning I’d made a visit to the same site and had struggled to take pictures in the faint light; today’s photograph is one of those pictures. Now making its first appearance in this blog is a species that, though widely distributed in the United States, isn’t well known; truth to tell, even its genus isn’t well known to most people. The plant in question is Gaura mollis, also categorized as Gaura parviflora. Latin mollis means ‘soft’ and parviflora means ‘small-flowered,’ both of which are apt descriptions for this downy, velvety plant. Its common names include downy gaura and velvet-leaf gaura—and I wish you could reach out a hand through the Internet and feel this delightful-to-touch plant. (As for the disparaging name velvetweed, I’ll disparage it.) Because of the way the spike of green buds at the top typically leans over, people have also called this plant lizard-tail.

For more information about Gaura mollis, 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 18, 2011 at 5:57 AM

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