Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for October 30th, 2012

A different kind of sunflower

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Click for greater size and clarity.

If you compare this picture to the many you’ve seen here of common sunflowers, Helianthus annuus, and Maximilian sunflowers, Helianthus maximiliani, you may be able to tell that these are a different species. They’re called cucumberleaf sunflowers, and they have the long scientific name Helianthus debilis ssp. cucumerifolius. And speaking of long, can you make out the long and very slender stalks that these flower heads grow on? That characteristic is one way, in addition to these plants’ leaves, to distinguish this species from the other two, which are more widespread and much more familiar to most people.

I photographed this cucumberleaf sunflower colony on October 1st at the intersection of Vargas Rd. and US 183 in southeast Austin. That was four weeks ago, but I assure you that there are still plenty of sunflowers of all three Helianthus species in Austin, with the Maximilians currently predominating.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 30, 2012 at 6:11 AM

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