Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A closer look at Baccharis neglecta

with 9 comments

The previous post, taken on the cloudy morning of October 27 at Riata Trace Park in northwest Austin, showed some Baccharis neglecta in its fluffy state. Although you could appreciate the overall fluffiness, you couldn’t see the details of the soft tufts that the female plants produce as they go to seed. Here’s a closer look at another poverty weed I photographed at the same park after the sun had dispelled most of the morning clouds. Who would believe that this species belongs to the sunflower family, and that this shrub can grow into a delicate, willowy tree as much as 10 ft. (3 m) tall?

Baccharis neglecta is mostly confined to Texas, as you can see from the state-clickable map at the USDA website, but the similar species Baccharis halimifolia grows from east Texas along the Gulf coast to Florida and up the Atlantic coast as far as Massachusetts.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 4, 2011 at 5:07 AM

9 Responses

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  1. This isn’t what I’ve seen (beautiful though it is). With that knowledge in hand I went looking, asking google to provide some images for “fuzzy Texas weeds”.

    Lo! I ended up right back here at your site, where I found your lovely images of Clematis drummondii, especially the Clematis Cloud post on July 25. That’s it. If there’s anything I love more than a good mystery, it’s solving a good mystery!

    shoreacres

    November 4, 2011 at 8:37 AM

    • Great story! And I’m privileged to have portraitsofwildflowers be at both ends of your quest. Here in Austin I’m still seeing (and occasionally photographing) some Clematis drummondii plants doing their fluffy thing, so if you come this way any time soon you may get to observe them. According to the USDA map, this species doesn’t make it to the coastal area where you are, unfortunately.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 4, 2011 at 9:53 AM

  2. Beautiful photograph. The little tufts remind me of paint brush tips. Ten feet tall, eh? Guess I will be permanently removing it from my leach field! LOL, YIKES! ~ Lynda

    pixilated2

    November 4, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    • Thanks, Lynda. Your comment about seeing the tufts as paint brush tips gives me an opening to add that an old name for this plant was pencil bush, where pencil was short for artist’s pencil, an early term for what we would now call an artist’s [paint]brush. As for your field, most Baccharis neglecta plants don’t get to be 10 feet tall, though I’m assuming you have the halimifolia species in Alabama; I don’t know how tall it usually gets.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 4, 2011 at 10:08 AM

      • Thanks for the information on the old name and also the lead to look up what may be growing here. As for the bushes, well, the one bush is about waist high, while the other is treelike and at least six feet already. Ergo, they must go! 😉 ~ L

        pixilated2

        November 4, 2011 at 12:27 PM

  3. That’s such a pretty plant! Another new one for me!

    montucky

    November 4, 2011 at 11:36 PM

    • Happy new to you, with plenty more novelty to come, I hope. In this case the species is quite common here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 5, 2011 at 5:58 AM

  4. Hi Steve. ‘neglecta’ is interesting … do you know how it got this specific name? Jane

    jane tims

    November 9, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    • Unfortunately I don’t. I can tell you that the Latin word neglecta means ‘disregarded, not heeded, not attended to, neglected,’ but I haven’t been able to find out why that word got chosen to describe this species.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 9, 2011 at 9:49 PM


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