Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Four-nerve daisy’s folding and fading phase

with 18 comments

Over the past few months these pages have brought you several views of the four-nerve daisy, which exists in central Texas as two similar species of Tetraneuris. Both of them do the same characteristic thing: as their flower heads go to seed and begin to dry out, the central disk bulges upward into a hemisphere. At the same time, the surrounding rays turn downward and typically fold in against the flower head; there they usually stay, gradually losing much of their yellow and ending up looking white and papery. Today’s photograph from February 23 shows you those features in Tetraneuris linearifolia.

I made this portrait on a cloudy morning; I faced in the direction of the sun, so in order to keep the flower from looking black against the brighter sky behind it I used my ring flash. Because of the resulting brightness of the four-nerve daisy, roles were reversed and the sky ended up looking darker than it really was. The clouds still reveal themselves as the conspicuous gray across the bottom of the picture and as some darker gray that’s less noticeable in the upper part of the frame.

For more information, and to see a state-clickable map of the places in the south-central United States where Tetraneuris linearifolia grows, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 8, 2012 at 5:48 AM

18 Responses

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  1. Lovely photo! The gray background behind the bright yellow-orange flower is striking!

    • Thanks, Christine. I was taken with it too; in fact I photographed this flower head at other angles as well, but I had to pick just one picture for the blog.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 8, 2012 at 7:38 AM

  2. 😉 on dirait qu’elle a une jupe légère autour de la taille…


    March 8, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    • L’ancolie bleue [the blue columbine] says that you could see this flower as having a lightweight skirt around its waist (or we could say her waist, because in French the word for flower is feminine). Vive l’imagination, long live imagination!

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 8, 2012 at 9:15 AM

  3. I love the whitening effect.


    March 8, 2012 at 8:56 AM

  4. WOW, beautiful and amazing

    Grace Duke

    March 8, 2012 at 9:44 AM

  5. I’ve never seen a fading daisy look so beautiful.

    Susan Scheid

    March 8, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    • I’m pleased to hear you say that, Susan. I’ve long been fascinated by the forms and colors of plants as they fade.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 8, 2012 at 12:07 PM

  6. Beautiful and love the pop of yellow – thanks for sharing:)


    March 8, 2012 at 12:38 PM

  7. I’ve only recently learned the expression “gets on my last nerve”, as in, “That woman gets on my last nerve”. It looks a bit as though our daisy is down to her last nerve – still very pretty, though.

    I’d mentioned the fuzziness earlier, and neglected to go looking for a vintage toy that showed the treatment. Here’s a lovely flocked bunny bank. The flocking is very short and stiff – even in this stage, the flower head looks very much the same.


    March 8, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    • The expression “gets on my last nerve” is new to me. Do you know if it’s Texan or more generally Southern?

      I have no experience with flocking—even had to look up with word—but I’m glad you see a likeness in the fuzziness of these little native daisies. The peak fuzziness comes in the early stages, but there’s something to delight in at every stage, including this one, as you noted. Don’t know that you could store any coins in it, however.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 8, 2012 at 4:35 PM

  8. lovely…
    happy friday!!!

    emilie lazo

    March 8, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    • It’s still Thursday in Texas, and Friday will be cold here, but the rain should bring out even more wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 8, 2012 at 6:20 PM

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