Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for December 22nd, 2011

Early spring to early winter

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Tetraneuris scaposa; click for greater clarity.

Happy official beginning of winter, even if those of you in northern regions laugh at a greeting that should have come a month or two ago as measured by your weather and not my calendar.

I went out photographing in northwest Austin on December 20, and while the skies have been mostly overcast for two weeks and the land here is beginning to take on its subdued winter look, I still managed to find a few wildflowers: several fresh new goldenrods; some scattered little broomweeds looking rather the worse for wear; a sadly bedraggled aster; and exactly one of what you see here, Tetraneuris scaposa, a small member of the sunflower family that’s quite common in the Texas Hill Country and is known as four-nerve daisy. The little daisy that I found two days ago was in great shape but not in a great place to photograph, so I’ve used an image from the November 14 session that also produced pictures of flameleaf sumac turning colors. This is what a four-nerve daisy flower head looks like when it’s part-way open, before the stage when all its yellow rays point outward rather than upward. Note the pale green “nerves” in the yellow rays that give this daisy its common name. Also notice how soft and fuzzy the green bracts are that surround the yellow rays.

Some species of plants bloom in the spring and only in the spring. Others bloom primarily in the spring but can often be found flowering to a lesser degree in the fall as well, and that second group includes our four-nerve daisy, which in 2011 has survived a couple of frosts and made it all the way to the official beginning of winter. For more information on Tetraneuris scaposa, you can visit the USDA website, which includes a state-clickable map showing where this species grows.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 22, 2011 at 5:14 AM

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