Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for December 28th, 2011

Another enduring flower

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When I went to the prairie restoration at Austin’s former Mueller Airport on the morning of December 22, I found flowers of another native species that you’ve seen before: Ratibida columnifera, known as Mexican hat. Although this species reaches its flowering peak in Austin in the late spring, scattered plants bloom occasionally through the summer and well into the fall, so once again my late-December find, though certainly welcome, wasn’t unusual.

This picture shows a more advanced stage than the fresh one you saw in the middle of November. Now the “column” is drying out and the rays, quite variable in their distribution of colors from one plant to another, show more yellow than before, and a much redder red. Though these rays are still bright they are clearly starting to curl and shrivel, so if you want to intone Robert Frost’s line that “Nothing gold can stay,” I won’t object. As for the luscious blue sky, you’re free to savor it in any way you like.

For more information about this species, and to see a state-clickable map of the many places in the United States and Canada where it is found, you can visit the USDA website. Mexican hat also grows, appropriately, in northern Mexico.

For those of you interested in photography as a craft, points 1 and 3 in About My Techniques are relevant to today’s picture.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 28, 2011 at 5:04 AM

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