Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 9 comments

Goldeneye in Bull Creek; click for more detail.

Bull Creek in northwest Austin was among the many creeks in central Texas that were dry throughout the summer and into the fall. Where water once flowed, plants sprang up and even flowered, including this goldeneye, Viguiera dentata, which was about as tall as I was (and still am) when I photographed it on October 12. At the left you can see the broad leaves of a couple of very young sycamore trees, Platanus occidentalis, also rising tall in the creek bed. When enough rain eventually comes to make the creek resume its flow, most of these plants will be submerged and die. In the meantime, not in the least apprehensive about what awaits them, they keep growing.

For more information about Viguiera dentata, which grows in Arizona and New Mexico as well as Texas, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 19, 2011 at 5:31 AM

9 Responses

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  1. How lovely to think of a river of yellow. I wonder if their seeds fall down into the bed floor and those rains help them grow again another day.


    October 19, 2011 at 7:42 AM

    • Nice metaphor, Dawn: the flowers, growing in the creek bed, as a river themselves. I expect at least some of the seeds will one day get carried downstream and give rise to new plants at the edge of the creek.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 19, 2011 at 7:53 AM

  2. The persistence – and patience – of wildflowers never fails to amaze. I’ve been visiting the back roads between Kerrville and Medina for years. About ten years ago, the fields and roadsides suddenly were covered with the tiniest pink flowers imaginable – just masses of them.

    I’d never seen them before and I’ve never seen them since. Even some old-timers couldn’t remember seeing them. Some mysterious convergence of conditions brought them forth, like the goldeneye in the creekbed.

    Who knows what will happen when the rains finally come?


    October 19, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    • Persistence and patience: an excellent description. One of the first lessons I learned when I began taking pictures of wildflowers is that they can vary immensely from year to year. In my first year I found and photographed a wonderful colony of prairie verbena near Lake Travis. The next year, on the same date, I went back to that site and found… nothing, not a single verbena flower. The mysterious convergence of conditions that held in the first year didn’t in the next.

      Like you, we’re all looking forward to the return of rain. The rain-lilies that sprang up so luxuriantly last week are a token of more to come, but who knows when?

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 19, 2011 at 7:59 PM

  3. […] landscape view is nice, but can you give us a closer look at those goldeneye flowers that sprang up in the bed of Bull […]

  4. […] majestic as sycamores can be, veteran readers of this column have seen some saplings that are only a few feet tall. To learn more about sycamores, you can visit the website of The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower […]

  5. […] on December 28th I found myself wandering along a stretch of a nameless creek, a tributary of the Bull Creek that has featured in these pages several times. Because of our recent rain the creeks were flowing […]

  6. […] so far I haven’t been disappointed. You’ve seen this fall-blooming species before, on October 19 and more closely on October 20, but never as closely as now, in a photograph that comes from some […]

  7. […] fall may remember a native wildflower called goldeneye, Viguiera dentata, that appeared in posts on October 19 and October 20. Normally the cold weather of December signals the species to stop flowering, though […]

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