Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Camphorweed continues

with 11 comments

Camphorweed bud and flower head; click for greater detail.

On the morning of December 22, the first fully clear day after at least two weeks of mostly gray skies, I wandered southeast across town to the prairie reconstruction at Austin’s former Mueller Airport to see if I could find any wildflowers, and find some I did. The first thing that caught my attention was dozens of flowers of a plant that appeared several times in the early days of this blog in July: camphorweed, Heterotheca subaxillaris. This species is known to bloom in Austin from the spring through the fall, so a late-December find wasn’t all that rare. Unusual or not, the bright yellow was a welcome sight: in the foreground you see an opening bud, with its characteristic red-tipped bracts, and behind it a fully open flower head.

You can visit the USDA website for more information about Heterotheca subaxillaris, including a state-clickable map showing the many places in the United States where the species grows.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 26, 2011 at 5:04 AM

11 Responses

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  1. Very nice composition

    Mahesh Patil

    December 26, 2011 at 12:05 PM

  2. It’s fun to see these flowers you are finding so late in the year, Steve. I have to resort to history for mine.
    The bud stands out very nicely against the rear bloom and the brownish background makes for a nice complement.

    Steve Gingold

    December 26, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    • I found half a dozen flowering species last week, so following the Indian paintbrush and the camphorweed I’m planning to feature more wildflowers for the next four days before finishing out the year in a blaze of color. Once we get into January and February I’ll mostly have to do what you’re doing, Steve, and resort to my archives.

      I’m pleased that you like the way the camphorweed bud plays off against the flower head. The one in front will soon become like the one in back.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 26, 2011 at 4:44 PM

      • Oh, and I’m sorry if I’ll be taunting some of you with the bright blue sky background I had on December 22; if it’s any comfort, we’ve had mostly gray skies here since then too.

        Steve Schwartzman

        December 26, 2011 at 4:47 PM

        • Not to worry…I’ll be very happy to see your blue skies and blooming flowers. It’s a treat. 🙂

          Steve Gingold

          December 26, 2011 at 4:48 PM

  3. Steve, happy holidays to you and your family! Your blog is one of my best discoveries this year. Thanks.

    Jack Matthews

    December 27, 2011 at 5:01 AM

  4. I really like this one…beautiful balance.


    December 29, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    • Thanks. I was definitely going for that balance and the way the bud plays off the open flower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 29, 2011 at 4:21 PM

  5. […] Settled on it, of course. Just as the dew fell on the firewheel that you saw two posts ago, so it fell on these flower heads of camphorweed, Heterotheca subaxillaris, a wildflower that has appeared several times in these pages. […]

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