Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A double dose of four and nerves

with 8 comments

Click for greater clarity.

The 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 together, but you saw only glimpses of green representing the four bracts that had surrounded each developing flower head. Today’s picture should make clear how the bracts separate and fold down as the flower head opens.

If you’re also wondering about the title of this post, the first nerve is the one in nerve-ray, a colloquial name for this wildflower. The other nerve comes from the Tetraneuris linearifolia, or four-nerve daisies, that were in the background and account for the yellow haze across the bottom of the photograph. The two fours are the tetras at the beginning of the genus names Tetragonotheca and Tetraneuris.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 29, 2012 at 6:16 AM

8 Responses

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  1. Did you use a ring light to illuminate the tetragonotheca? Nice bright lighting!


    July 29, 2012 at 6:24 AM

    • I might have used a ring light, but I’m sorry to say that after almost four months I don’t remember, and the metadata for the photograph doesn’t distinguish between the camera’s built-in flash and a ring flash. In any case, I’m glad you like the lighting.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 29, 2012 at 7:49 AM

  2. Have enjoyed this series fourfold! Seriously, I am wowed by your talent!

    Sheila T Illustrated

    July 29, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    • A euphonious and mathematical native English word, fourfold. I appreciate your being wowed, Sheila. Nature can do that.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 29, 2012 at 8:23 AM

  3. The sheer extravagance of some of these tiny flowers is breathtaking. I wonder if they’ve striven over the millennia to outdo one another – a kind of wildflower Olympics. I’d award this one style points!


    July 29, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    • In speaking about striving, you may be setting yourself up for an argument with evolutionists, who seem not to allow for purpose in the way species develop. Still, I don’t see how anyone can object to your awarding style points.

      (I’ll add that I’m fond of the historical past participle striven, which young speakers are increasingly regularizing to strived for both the past participle and the past tense.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 29, 2012 at 8:41 AM

  4. A very unusual flower indeed!


    July 29, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    • Yes, and to top it off, a fragrant one. I still find an occasional one flowering even now, though the prime time for this species has passed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 29, 2012 at 8:43 PM

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