Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

White on the Blackland Prairie

with 27 comments

Click for greater clarity.

There are two things that we can tie this picture to. One is the roughstem rosinweed, Silphium radula, that appeared in these pages in July of 2011. Here you see a sibling, Silphium albiflorum, known as white rosinweed because of the color—atypical in this genus—of its flowers. The plant is thick and stiff, but its white rays are similar to those of many another daisy-type flower. Notice the shaded bud beginning to open just below the already open flower head.

The other thing to tie this image to is a still-undeveloped property on E. Old Settlers Blvd. in Round Rock. There, and at the same time as I took this picture on May 29, I photographed the dried-out basket-flower that you saw in these pages five weeks ago. Various other kinds of wildflowers were also flourishing on this piece of the Blackland Prairie then, some of which account for the daubs of color you see beyond the white rosinweed.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 8, 2012 at 5:59 AM

27 Responses

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  1. This is currently the only open space in our area where I am finding an abundance of native vegetation. Let’s hope it remains that way so that perhaps we can do a bit of seed collecting for awhile longer. Notice quite a bit of building in the area so not overly hopeful.

    Agnes Plutino

    July 8, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    • Wow: down to one flourishing open space! I didn’t realize things had gotten so bad—and as you said, there are signs of more building.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 8, 2012 at 10:45 AM

  2. You’ve inspired me.. I went for a walk the other day and started noticing our own wildflowers.. now I just need to know what they’re called!

    Just A Smidgen

    July 8, 2012 at 9:54 AM

  3. Lovely photo of this flower. Nice background too.


    July 8, 2012 at 10:08 AM

  4. I noticed Agnes’ comment about open space and building. Point taken, again. 😉

    What she said about seed collecting caught my interest, too. I have friends who are growing vegetables both for produce and seed. They use only heirloom seed and are really skilled and knowledgeable. I suspect there’s more of that going on in the wildflower communities than I’ve been aware of.

    As for this handsome flower, it’s the most formal I’ve seen. It reminds me of a fellow all spiffed up in a white tuxedo and black tie, as though he’s off for the Wildflower Ball!


    July 8, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    • The fellow known as your friendly local wildflower photographer was recently all spiffed up for a wedding in New Jersey, but I can assure you he’s happy to have the flowers and not himself get all dressed up for the Wildflower Ball.

      As for seed collecting in the native plant community, you’re right that there’s plenty of it going on. People also engage in rescuing plants from sites that are about to be developed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 8, 2012 at 3:03 PM

  5. That was a good one. I like how this one flower stands out against the background.


    July 8, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    • Like you, I was intrigued by the way the colors in the background offset the larger white in the foreground.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 8, 2012 at 5:56 PM

  6. Another great photo Steve and I love the background !!!


    July 9, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    • Thanks, David. I’d seen white rosinweed flowering on this plot in earlier years, but I don’t think I ever found one as pristine as the specimen shown here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 9, 2012 at 3:14 PM

  7. BOKEH. 🙂

    George Weaver

    July 9, 2012 at 6:54 PM

  8. That’s gorgeous!


    July 9, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    • This was the prettiest of several of these rosinweed flowers. I hadn’t been thinking about this species and was therefore especially glad to see them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 10, 2012 at 7:37 AM

  9. […] my nature photography blog I’ve used the word daub from time to time when mentioning a patch of color, especially as an […]

  10. […] me as an artist! I’m the Michelangelo of milkweed, the Goya of goldeneye, the Rembrandt of rosinweed, the Miró of Mirabilis, the Titian of Tinantia, the Gauguin of Gaillardia, the Dalí of Datura, […]

  11. […] Behold a queen butterfly, Danaus gilippus, on Simpson’s rosinweed, Silphium simpsonii. The butterfly outdoes the rosinweed here, but in the second month of this blog I showed a radiant picture of a similar species of rosinweed, Silphium radula, if you’d care to look back. And if you’re still in retro mode, you may enjoy revisiting last summer’s white rosinweed. […]

  12. A white sunflower! I had no idea. It is a beauty, too.


    November 10, 2015 at 8:25 AM

    • This flower head is a great way to top off a coarse and stiff plant.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 10, 2015 at 8:59 AM

      • I think so too. I’m surprised some enterprising horticulturist hasn’t zeroed in on this stunner.


        November 10, 2015 at 12:41 PM

        • At


          I found some horticultural information:

          “Silphium albiflorum ( White Rosinweed )
          A slow growing but very long-lived, very deep taprooted ( up to 15 feet deep ), bushy perennial, reaching up to 2.5 feet, that is native to prairies in central Texas.
          The stunning, very densely white-haired, deeply-cut foliage is silvery-gray. The foliage is 1 to 2 pinnately-lobed.
          The showy, white flowers are borne late spring to mid-summer.
          Hardy zones 7 to 8b in full sun on sandy or gravelly, well drained soil. It is extremely heat and drought tolerant and also tolerates alkaline soil. It has medium deer resistance.”

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 10, 2015 at 2:02 PM

  13. I bumped into this post while I was reading up on the roughstem rosinweeds I found blooming yesterday. I’d forgotten how beautiful this is. It’s such a gorgeous flower, I think I’m going to have to add it to my 2019 list of plants to find.


    April 7, 2019 at 9:11 PM

    • Good luck finding it. I don’t often see white rosinweed myself. Unfortunately this piece of land has been further developed since the post appeared in 2015, and the part of it where the specimen shown here grew is gone.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2019 at 4:26 AM

  14. […] Now that it’s already the middle of May, if you thought I was done showing vast colonies of wildflowers this spring, think again. Above from May 9th in Pflugerville (hence the spelling of wildpflowers in the title) is a densely flowering colony of Gaillardia pulchella, called firewheels, Indian blankets, and blanketflowers. The yellow flowers mixed in are greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium), and the leaves forming a green mound belong to compass plants (Silphium albiflora). […]

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