19th-century Anglo settlers in Texas sometimes referred to Centaurea americana with the name shaving brush. This picture of a dry basket-flower shows you what prompted that: although the shiny outer part of a dried-out seed head gets rather crisp, the inner part remains much softer, like the bristles of a shaving brush.
I took this picture on May 29 in a field on Old Settlers Blvd. near Greenhill Dr. in Round Rock. A part of this property used to be covered with dense bluebonnets and paintbrushes every spring, and parents would come on Easter Sunday to pose their fancily dressed children in the wildflowers and take pictures of them. That’s only a memory now, as first one and then another portion of the property gave way in recent years to an expanding office complex, but the eastern part of the field, with its many other kinds of wildflowers, has held out so far.
And I have held out: today marks one year since I put up the first tentative post in this Portraits of Wildflowers column. Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, today’s species is the same as the one in that first post, though in a later stage of development, just as I’m in a later stage in the development of this blog.
© 2012 Steven Schwartzman