Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for December 15th, 2011

Misty days, mistflowers not yet missed

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Ageratina havanensis; click for greater detail.

The last (and only) picture of Ageratina havanensis that you saw in this column showed the flowers and buds of a white mistflower bush I photographed in the shade of a cliff on the afternoon of October 31. Since that time, and at various locations around Austin, the species has continued budding and blooming, and it is still doing so in this misty, drizzly middle of December. Because these plants have been so constant in their flowering I thought I should give you another look, but with a different background, and from a different angle that lets you see the unexpectedly saturated red at the base of the flowers’ corollas.

Today’s view is from a November 30 session on the aptly named Floral Park Dr. in my northwestern Austin neighborhood. Great Hills Park is just down the street, but this photograph comes from a fringe right along the road where the grounds maintenance people have managed, in spite of themselves, to leave some native plants alone. I worked late in the afternoon, when the sun was low and the autumn light was getting faint, and although I took plenty of pictures by that natural light alone, for this image I turned on the camera’s flash to get a little more depth of field and to reveal the details of the plant that otherwise could have been lost in the shadows below the much brighter flowers.

As I mentioned last time, in the United States Ageratina havanensis apparently grows only in Texas, with Austin being on the far eastern edge of its range; at least that’s what the USDA map shows. The species name havanensis implies that this plant was first identified in Cuba, and it grows natively in Mexico as well, so this is one of those cases where Texas provides the northernmost habitat for a tropical species.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 15, 2011 at 5:11 AM

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