Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Golden groundsel

with 3 comments

Click for greater clarity.

An early spring wildflower in central Texas—and one that you haven’t seen here till now—is golden groundsel, Packera obovata. This plant was part of a colony of them that I photographed in northwest Austin on March 6. You can make out the indistinct form of another groundsel plant in the background to the left.

Hot (it’s June in Texas) on the roots of March’s bit of etymology about huisache, I’ll add that the English wordgroundsel looks like it has something to do with the word ground. Speakers of Old English were influenced enough by the ancestor of ground that they added an r to the original form of the plant’s name, which was gundeswilge; the first part meant pus, and the second is semi-recognizable as the forerunner of the modern word swallow.  The American Heritage Dictionary notes that a type of groundsel had been used to reduce abscesses, a process that the Anglo-Saxons expressed imaginatively as “swallowing pus.”

To see a state-clickable map of the many places in North America where this species grows, even if it doesn’t swallow any pus, you can visit the USDA website.


The daily posts that you’ve become accustomed to will continue while I’m away from Austin. Feel free to comment if you’d like, but please be aware that it may be a while before I can respond.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 27, 2012 at 6:03 AM

3 Responses

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  1. Very pretty!


    June 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM

  2. […] I photographed some of the plants in a colony of golden groundsel, Packera obovata, in northwest Austin on March 6, I noticed that one of them had been serving as a […]

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