Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Misty days, mistflowers not yet missed

with 18 comments

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

18 Responses

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  1. Nice blog and lovely pic.


    December 15, 2011 at 6:16 AM

  2. How exciting to read and to learn about flowers. This is another beautiful photograph and flower that I have visited in your blog. Thank you Steve, with my love, nia


    December 15, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    • You’re welcome, Nia. Texas is a great place to see and learn about wildflowers—especially when we’re not in the middle of an epic drought.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 15, 2011 at 11:56 AM

      • Yes, I know this some of poet friends… and also because of the photographs… You are lucky about them. It seems to me so exciting and so enjoyable… Thank you for sharing with us, with my love, nia


        December 16, 2011 at 11:05 AM

      • You’re welcome, Nia. There’s plenty more to come.

        Steve Schwartzman

        December 16, 2011 at 11:18 AM

  3. Great shot; almost looks like it was shot against a blue backdrop (although I know it wasn’t). The fill flash has created excellent detail with your chosen settings. Cheers!


    December 15, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    • Thanks again, Steve. I took the picture when there was a clear blue sky, which was the norm for month after month here during the drought; the last two weeks have gone the other way, with mostly cloudy skies. I’m glad you appreciate the flash fill.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 15, 2011 at 12:35 PM

  4. What a beautiful flower. You captured it really well. 🙂


    December 15, 2011 at 7:08 PM

  5. An unusual flower I’ve never seen – the little star-like blossoms are beautifully constellated.


    December 15, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    • Leave it to you, Linda, to describe the star-like blossoms as constellated. This species is also in the sunflower family, but in a different tribe of that family from sunflowers, the Eupatorieae. If you visit your friend in the Hill Country again next fall, or if you’re in Austin then, you may be able to see these bushes flowering.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 15, 2011 at 11:18 PM

  6. Un merveilleux blog où je peux découvrir de nouvelles plantes et surtout voir d’une autre façon.
    Un rayon de soleil, car en ce moment ici, il n’y a plus de fleurs dans les Alpes, quant aux plantes, elles sont cachées sous la neige.


    December 16, 2011 at 1:18 AM

    • Merci et bienvenue, l’ancolie blueue (au Texas nous en avons deux espèces, la rouge et la jaune, mais aucune en décembre). Viens te réchauffer ici un peu en attendant que tes fleurs sous la neige s’éveillent au printemps.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 16, 2011 at 6:30 AM

      • Je ne connais pas la jaune! ici nous avons la pourpre, la violette et plus rarement la bleue. J’aime trop l’hiver pour y échapper 🙂


        December 17, 2011 at 8:01 AM

  7. Hello! I wanted to let you know that I’ve given you the Versatile Blogger Award.


    Have a great weekend!


    December 16, 2011 at 3:10 AM

  8. […] is goldeneye, and the other is the type of mistflower that botanists call Ageratina havanensis. You last saw it about six weeks ago, when I was already pleased to keep finding its flowers so late in the […]

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