Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for November 26th, 2011

Renaissance in yellow

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In mid-September I showed a couple of early photographs of the Maximilian sunflower, Helianthus maximiliani, a species that begins blooming in late summer and continues well into the fall. In mid-October you saw a stately row of them. By last week I thought these sunflowers had pretty much played themselves out for the year, but apparently Austin’s little bit of recent rain was enough to cause a resurgence, because as Eve and I drove through far north Austin on the way to the home of some friends on Thanksgiving day, we were surprised—and happy—to see lots of new Maximilian sunflower plants springing up and flowering by the side of the road. Yesterday I went back with my camera and took pictures of those rising suns, a couple of which you now get to see as well.

When I got close to the sunflowers, I noticed that quite a few of them (though not yet those shown here) had little holes eaten out of their yellow rays, and eventually I found the likely culprits, of which you again get to see one. It’s a spotted cucumber beetle, Diabrotica undecimpunctata, whose species name tells us that this insect has one (un) plus ten (decim), which is to say eleven, spots on it.

As for Helianthus maximiliani, whose legions are numberless, it has been found growing in at least some parts of most American states and Canadian provinces. For more information, you can consult the USDA website.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 26, 2011 at 5:15 AM

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