Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

What some buds had already become

with 25 comments

You’ve heard that when I visited the Mueller Greenway on January 27th I found a Coreopsis tinctoria plant fully three feet tall with plenty of buds and flowers on it already. To yesterday’s closeup of a coreopsis bud let me add this picture of a nearby part of the same plant so you can see what the buds open up into. Yes, I’ll admit that like the rays of the Engelmann daisy from two posts back, those of the lowest of the three flower heads here also look a bit bedraggled, but for a species that normally flowers in April and May to have any flowers at all in January is quite an accomplishment, so let’s be charitable and forgive a few brownish spots and rumpled tips. In any case, the two smaller flower heads were still free of any imperfections and are probably now, four days later, fully and immaculately open. In addition to the flowers, I was intrigued by the curves that the stalks make on their way upward; you saw a trace of that curving at the bottom of yesterday’s picture of a bud.

Although I found just one coreopsis plant on my visit to Mueller last Friday, this species can form large and dense colonies when conditions are right. That was the case in the spring of 2010, as you can see if you go back to a picture that I posted nostalgically during the drought of 2011.

For more information, and to see a map showing that Coreopsis tinctoria grows in northern Mexico, almost every American state, and parts of southern Canada, you’re welcome to visit the USDA website.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 31, 2012 at 4:51 AM

25 Responses

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  1. Love the colors!


    January 31, 2012 at 5:08 AM

  2. The centers look beaded, humans have no original ideas lol, it all springs forth from nature as do we! You capture it all so well.

    Bonnie Michelle

    January 31, 2012 at 6:57 AM

    • Now that you say it I can see the centers as beaded, but I don’t think I’d ever seen them that way till now. You’re right that a lot of our art and craft has been inspired by nature.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 31, 2012 at 7:13 AM

  3. Gorgeous! I didn’t even notice the flaws till you pointed them out to us… These are the colors we need to get us through the winter grays. Thanks for the sunshine! ~ Lynda


    January 31, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    • It happens to be a cloudy morning in Austin following some overnight rain, but the temperatures are still in the 60s and the forecast is for the afternoon to turn sunny. So never fear, there’ll be more color in the posts ahead, including some from sources you might not expect.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 31, 2012 at 9:46 AM

  4. Great quality of photo, colors are wonderful as usual. 🙂

    Spiral Dreamer (Francis)

    January 31, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    • Thanks, Francis. The reddish-brown and orange set this coreopsis apart from some of its similar-looking relatives.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 31, 2012 at 11:14 AM

  5. Looks like August in Illinois….


    January 31, 2012 at 3:27 PM

  6. The centers look like Boston Baked Beans (the candy not the actual bean dish) and those rays have a really nice curvy texture to them.

    Steve Gingold

    January 31, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    • I’m not familiar with the candy, but I grew up liking the real Boston baked beans. It’s good that you noticed how the rays of this species characteristically terminate in three lobes (and so do those of some other sunflower-family relatives in this area, one of which I’ve begun to see flowering as well). Happy curves!

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 31, 2012 at 5:03 PM

  7. Beautiful!
    The colors are amazing!

    Pablo Buitrago

    January 31, 2012 at 7:01 PM

  8. That’s one charming and curvaceous mini-bouquet.

    I must admit, all of this false spring, as pleasant as it is, is making me very nervous and confused about what I dare plant and when (particularly the seeds I’ve got tucked away so very hopefully)!


    January 31, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    • I like your description—naturally. Let’s hope a sudden hard freeze doesn’t set all these wildflowers back a month or two.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 31, 2012 at 10:35 PM

  9. Beautiful new flowers! 🙂


    February 1, 2012 at 8:14 AM

  10. […] all there must have been dozens along a stretch of a few blocks. So, like the Engelmann daisy and the coreopsis of the last few posts, here’s another springtime species that is blooming at least a month […]

  11. […] have already appeared in individual views in these pages, Mexican hats (Ratibida columnifera) and coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria). Note that the rays of the Mexican hats vary from virtually all yellow to […]

  12. […] many smaller yellow flowers with brown centers are coreopsis, of which I showed you a seasonally advanced photograph way back in January. That’s the kind of ahead-of-ourselves year we’ve had and—with […]

  13. […] most prominent wildflowers here are coreopsis (Coreopsis sp.). The darker flower heads below them are Mexican hats (Ratibida columnifera), and […]

  14. These are beautiful, in fact they look like clay sculptures. Hey who minds the brown spots? That’s just more color variation! I tell ya what, unless I was indoors, I probably wouldn’t flower in January. Lol


    January 26, 2014 at 11:21 AM

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