Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for December 12th, 2011

Peonia

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Sorry, Northerners, but as of December 9th I was still finding wildflowers in Austin, including two species that I’ve learned to look for this late in the fall at Mt. Bonnell, and that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anywhere else. One is Acourtia runcinata, known as peonia or featherleaf desert peony, which I found almost touching the concrete of a stairway at this popular tourist destination that provides a vista over the Colorado River. The last time I remember coming across this little member of the sunflower family, it was coincidentally alongside a different concrete stairway at Mt. Bonnell, and I have the feeling that no other visitor paid any attention to the flowers either time. Today’s picture looks straight down at the peonia flower head, which Eve finds ribbony enough that she fantasizes using one as an ornament atop a gift package (and isn’t such an imagination a gift in its own right?).

In the United States, Acourtia runcinata grows natively only in Texas, and even then only in the southwestern half of the state, as you can confirm at the USDA website.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 12, 2011 at 5:25 AM

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