Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for May 15th, 2012

Autumn in spring, take 2

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The last post showed a goldeneye plant flowering while the earth was on the wrong side of its orbit around the sun. I’d noticed that yellow-flowered species extending its blossoming through January, February, and even March of 2012—as I had another native plant, white mistflower, Ageratina havanensis. In fact on February 5th I showed a closeup of mistflowers that I’d photographed along Mopac four days earlier, and I mentioned how unusual it was to still find them in Austin so late.

Well, just as the goldeneye has started back up half a year earlier than its traditional time, so has the mistflower, some of which I found only a block away from the goldeneye in my neighborhood on May 1. The mistflower bushes that I’m used to seeing along Mopac also flowered again, as did the even greater number in Great Hills Park. It’s a bizarre year, botanically speaking, but a great time for a nature photographer in central Texas.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 15, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Autumn in spring

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Those of you who were visiting this blog last fall may remember a native wildflower called goldeneye, Viguiera dentata, that appeared in posts on October 19 and October 20. Normally the cold weather of December signals the species to stop flowering, though a few individual plants may linger on into January. I say normally, because in January and February of 2012 we didn’t really have a winter, and I noticed that a small goldeneye plant by the side of a street in my neighborhood kept producing a few flowers even through March. Only then, when all sorts of spring-flowering plants had been going going crazy for some time already, did the goldeneye finally stop.

Or so I thought. On April 30, as I was driving past the place where that plant was, I caught a glimpse of yellow off to my left. I assumed it was some non-native lantana that I see there every year, but when I went back the next day to check, I was astonished to discover that the goldeneye had started flowering again. You can say that it was half a year late or half a year early, and that the earth was on the wrong side of its orbit around the sun, but there the flowers were, undeterred by any astronomical or human calendar.* Naturally I stayed to take pictures of the prodigy.

At one point during my photo session I noticed an insect nymph under one of the flower heads. Eventually it moved to a place where I could photograph it better, and that allowed me to give you this picture showing so many things simultaneously: a goldeneye bud still green and mostly compact; a goldeneye bud still green but revealing its florets; an adjacent goldeneye flower head with yellow rays just emerging; a flower head mostly open; a flower head fully open; and of course the colorful nymph.

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* The last time I looked, yesterday evening, the plant was still confounding the calendar by producing flowers.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 15, 2012 at 5:39 AM

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