Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Welcome to yet another early visitor

with 13 comments

Click for greater size and clarity.

The latest of our early visitors this year is the Maximilian sunflower, Helianthus maximiliani. This species normally flowers in Austin beginning in late August or September, but on the morning of June 11th I found several of these sunflower plants blazing away on the little prairie that’s being restored at the Elisabet Ney Museum.* In contrast to the leaves of the “common” sunflower, notice how these are long and narrow and how they fold up along their midline.

The 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 the Maximilian sunflowers—are still having in central Texas.


* Some of you will recall that in 2011, even during the worst of the drought, I still managed to find things to photograph on this parcel of prairie. Last year’s posts from September 25 to October 5 showed an assortment of those hardy native plants.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 18, 2012 at 5:54 AM

13 Responses

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  1. My husband and I are planting natives almost exclusively because they are so hardy, but also for the benefit of the local wildlife. The deer and rabbits have already found them!

    Jo Ann Abell

    June 18, 2012 at 6:07 AM

    • Good for you two for planting natives in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Deer roam my Great Hills neighborhood in Austin, so gardeners here often plant species that deer don’t seem to favor.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2012 at 7:41 AM

  2. Nice, great shot ! =)


    June 18, 2012 at 6:50 AM

  3. An early burst of sunshine!!!


    June 18, 2012 at 9:27 AM

  4. Ah, those urban deer. Don’t plant camellias, that’s for sure. Hollywood Park in San Antonio lost nearly all of theirs last year – or year before. A friend of a friend heard a strange munching sound, looked outdoors, and half of hers were gone already.

    This is one of the prettiest sunflowers I’ve seen. I really like that double fringe of petals, and the yellow-on-yellow color scheme. A year ago, I would have called it a daisy without thinking twice.


    June 18, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    • When we moved into this house eight years ago, someone had given Eve a potted plant, which she put in the back yard. One day I accidentally left the side gate unlatched, and I came home to find a doe and fawn in the back yard, and half of that plant gone. If I’d come home a little later, the other half would’ve been gone as well.

      Yes, Maximilians are graceful sunflowers. Like you, I’m attracted to the double fringe and the yellow-on- yellow (nice of you to carry over that phrase from last Friday’s post) color scheme. The dictionaries I’ve looked in define a daisy most prominently as a composite flower with a yellow center and white rays, but I’ve also heard the term used a lot more loosely.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2012 at 10:07 AM

  5. May I just add a happy face? 🙂 A wonderful Monday image to a rainy day and Monday sort of day.

    Bonnie Michelle

    June 18, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    • Your happy face is round and yellow—like the sunflower. Wish we had some of your rain here, because it’s beginning to look as if last year’s drought is settling back in.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2012 at 4:47 PM

  6. […] the Maximilian sunflower you saw last time was months early, the mountain pink you’re seeing now was right on schedule […]

  7. This is lovely! It looks like the cheerful face of a clock with the time at 1.45. A gorgeous image.


    June 29, 2012 at 3:24 AM

    • I like the way you see this as a clock face, and now I can see it that way too. Your comment reminds me of those large outdoor circular flower clocks that people have created in various places. I remember seeing one in Versailles when we visited there in 1997.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 29, 2012 at 3:52 AM

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