Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Mexican hat remains

with 12 comments

Click for greater size and clarity.

Long-time visitors to these pages may remember the Ratibida columnifera, commonly known as Mexican hat, that starred in a post a year ago (and if not, you may want to follow that link back so you know what the wildflower looks like in its prime). I’ve long been fascinated by the way the “column” of this species dries out and deteriorates after it has spilled its seeds, and now you get to see one of the possibilities.

For more information, and to see a clickable map of the many places in the United States and Canada where Mexican hat grows, you can visit the USDA website. Mexican hat also grows, appropriately, in northern Mexico, where I’ve read that people call it sombrerito mexicano or sombrerito de Zapata.

The violet glow in the background of today’s picture is from some prairie verbenas, Glandularia bipinnatifida, that were flowering near the Mexican hat. The date was October 15, the location the south side of Great Hills Park.

For those of you who are interested in photography as a craft, points 1, 2, 5, 6, 16, and 20 in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 9, 2012 at 6:20 AM

12 Responses

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  1. I love the daub of purple behind the almost architectural remains of the flower, but I can’t help noting the similarity of the column to a mud dauber’s nest!


    November 9, 2012 at 8:55 AM

  2. Lovely and yet the raw and dried texture of the pod seems to serve as an opposing force to the surreal colors in the background. It’s the yin/yang pull of life.


    November 9, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    • I appreciate your artistic and even philosophical musings, Sally. I can see the yin/yang pull between what is decaying and what is still fresh. (What is fresh in this case has no detail, only color, but I’ll pull that amorphous color into focus next time.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 9, 2012 at 9:50 AM

  3. Great macro. Looks almost like a honey comb.


    November 9, 2012 at 9:05 PM

  4. There is a playful look to the curve of that core. Perhaps the tail of a pup or maybe something reptilian?


    November 10, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    • I like your alliteration in “the curve of that core.” I’d never thought of the tip as a tail, but your imagination is free to play as it pleases with the orientation, even entering the realm of the reptilian.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 10, 2012 at 5:21 AM

  5. […] “What? All you’re gonna give us of one of the most common wildflowers in Texas, and one that you never even showed us a single picture of in your blog, is a violet-colored glow as a background for something else?” […]

  6. Having just now seen the flower in bloom, it is interesting that, in the end-stage, it should have such a rhinoceros-like horn above the seedpods, quite odd, yet intriguing.


    January 11, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    • You have a good imagination: I would never have thought about a rhinoceros horn, but I can see it now.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 12, 2013 at 8:58 AM

  7. […] columnifera, on an embankment in Great Hills Park on February 5th. Some of you may recall seeing a closeup of one of these seed head remains early last November; it was just a few feet away from where I saw this sight. If you’d like […]

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