Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for October 22nd, 2011


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In July I reported on camphorweed, a yellow wildflower named for the camphory scent of the tiny droplets the plant exudes. Not to be outdone by its sunflower family relative, gumweed positively oozes resin, even to the point that its flower heads are bathed in a clear camphor-scented goo. The gumweed shown here is Grindelia nuda, a species that lacks ray flowers, which is why it is “nude.” Those more modest than botanists have called it curlytop gumweed, based on the upward-curving green bracts that prominently surround the yellow disk flowers.

I looked straight down at this gumweed on the cloudy morning of October 7 and had to use a wide aperture to let in enough light. That made getting the flower head in sharp focus difficult, but it also caused the leaves and the ground below the flower head to go pleasingly out of focus. I was forced to stop photographing not long after I started because of some strange wet stuff that began to fall from the sky. It lasted only a short while, though, and a couple of hours later I came back and continued taking pictures.

For further information about Grindelia nuda, including a clickable map showing the places where it grows, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 22, 2011 at 5:29 AM

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