Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for February 23rd, 2012

A yellow more surprisingly late than the last one was early

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Anyone who knows goldenrod knows that it’s a fall-blooming plant. In 2011 I was surprised to find one still flowering in my neighborhood on January 19—something that three days of below-freezing temperatures in the first week of February certainly put an end to, if the flowering had even gone on that long. This year, though, with no real winter in central Texas, things have been strange, as you’ve been seeing in these pages for the past few weeks. Two days ago, on February 21, I found this small goldenrod miraculously flowering in northeast Austin. Did I say it’s been a strange winter?

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 23, 2012 at 1:28 PM


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Click for greater clarity.

Another precocious wildflower I found on February 19 at the Mueller Greenway in east-central Austin was Gaillardia pulchella, known by the picturesque names Indian blanket and firewheel (and I’ll add that this firewheel, or at least the ground beneath it where I knelt, was pique-turesque and cost me my first two fire ant bites of 2012). The flower head was just opening—and doing so a good month or two before its traditional time—but hadn’t yet formed the familiar “wheel” whose wide rays, which are mostly red and tipped with yellow, form the “spokes.” At this stage you can recognize a family resemblance to the rays of a four-nerve daisy.

For more information, and to see the many places where Gaillardia pulchella grows in the United States and Canada, the USDA website beckons.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 23, 2012 at 5:47 AM

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