Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A nerve-ray bud

with 12 comments

Click for greater size and clarity.

Yesterday’s post mentioned that nerve-ray, Tetragonotheca texana, is a wildflower whose buds are noticeably four-sided. That’s 100% true, even if today’s picture shows you only 50% of the sides. Each pair of sides meets at an angle and forms a noticeable seam along the juncture. You can see three of those ridges here: the one that follows the line of the flower stalk, and the two that outline the left and right contours of the bud. Behind this bud is a fully open flower head of the same species.

Date: April 9.  Place: the right-of-way beneath the power lines that run across a part of my Great Hills neighborhood in Austin.

Posted on this date last year, in the middle of the drought, when Austin had already had 43 days on which the temperature reached at least 100°: a photograph showing how flowerful the spring of 2010 had been.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 28, 2012 at 6:21 AM

12 Responses

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  1. It’s good to be reminded of cooler spring days/flowers when it’s so hot. And I love the word “flowerful”!


    July 28, 2012 at 6:36 AM

    • I don’t know that I’d read or heard the word flowerful before, but I also figured I couldn’t be the first person to use it. I just checked the edition of the Oxford English Dictionary that I have and found the earliest citation there for flowerful was 1848. Nice try, OED, but that’s not the earliest use. In a search on books.google.com just now I found a couple of occurrences from 1836 in which people quote a dirge by Henry Alford (and, appropriate to today’s post, it even has the word bud in it):

      Slowly and softly let the music go,
      As ye wind upwards to the gray church tower ;
      Check the shrill hautboy, let the pipe breathe low,
      Tread lightly on the pathside daisy-flower !
      For she ye carry was a gentle bud,
      Loved by the unsunned drops of silver dew ;
      Her voice was like the whisper of the wood
      In prime of even, when the stars are few.
      Lay her, all gently, in the flowerful mould,
      Weep with her one brief hour, then turn away—
      Go to hope’s prison, and from out the cold
      And solitary gratings many a day
      Look forth: ’tis said the world is growing old,
      And streaks of orient light in Time‘s horizon play.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 28, 2012 at 7:01 AM

      • Very nice. Sad, but lovely. It would be good to make up a new word that then becomes used widely…


        July 28, 2012 at 7:19 AM

      • Yes on both counts. It’s easy enough to make up words, but getting other people to use them is the challenge.

        Steve Schwartzman

        July 28, 2012 at 7:30 AM

  2. A2 times A2=A4 (A to the power of 4) or in this example, A is for Awesome, times squared.

    Sheila T Illustrated

    July 28, 2012 at 7:25 AM

    • You’re really on a roll, Sheila, following your algebraic comment on the previous post. I think you’re also psychic, because you’ve anticipated the double reference to the number four that will be apparent in tomorrow morning’s post.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 28, 2012 at 7:34 AM

  3. Stunning! 🙂


    July 28, 2012 at 4:40 PM

  4. […] last post might have left you wondering how a four-sided bud of Tetragonotheca texana opens into a flower head. The post before that one showed two fully open flower heads stuck […]

  5. What a tidy little package this is, and how evocative of dim sum! Add its resemblance to the plant known as Chinese Lanterns, and I’m about ready to call a friend in Houston and see if she wants to head over to Fung’s Kitchen for a brunch worth the drive into town!


    July 29, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    • I like to think of my pictures as appetizing, but you’ve taken that a step further. I’d never have thought of this bud as dim sum, but your imagination (or hunger) did the trick.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 29, 2012 at 8:19 AM

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