Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Remains of a Liatris colony

with 12 comments

Click for greater clarity and considerably larger size.

Here’s a better look at a colony of Liatris mucronata, called gayfeather and blazing-star, in its own right as it was drying out on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin on November 20. For me this has the feel of an old sepia-toned or split-tone black and white photograph, yet it’s a straightforward color image with nothing but normal processing.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 4, 2012 at 6:21 AM

12 Responses

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  1. Sieht wundervoll aus!!


    December 4, 2012 at 7:31 AM

    • I first saw a backlit colony of Liatris spikes that had turned fuzzy in around the year 2000, when I had an early digital camera that took small pictures. Ever since then I’d wanted to record a similarly good view, and this one comes close.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 4, 2012 at 7:53 AM

  2. Oh, my. Can you see me smiling? Backlighting and sepia tones – what a combination. One thing I really like about this photo is the even distribution of the other grasses. They seem to fill the space between the Liatris spikes and pull the photo together without being intrusive. I really like this one.


    December 4, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    • Thanks as always for the detailed explanation of what you find appealing in a photograph. In the Truth-in-Advertising Department, I can’t vouch for all those fill-in grasses being native, but I’ll overlook their provenance and let them play a supporting role.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 4, 2012 at 3:01 PM

  3. What a beautiful scene – it’s so magical. I could see this as a Christmas card.


    December 4, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    • It’s good to know that other people find dried-out plants magical, too. Your suggestion of putting the image on a Christmas card makes sense to me, even if—or perhaps because—that would make for a non-traditional holiday picture.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 4, 2012 at 3:06 PM

  4. Beautiful muted colors- really pretty. This is one plant that I really like but have none growing in my yard. Might someday get some seeds or corms.


    December 4, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    • Thanks. I hope you do manage to get some of these started in your yard, as they’ll give you something pretty to look at all through the fall and into the winter.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 4, 2012 at 3:08 PM

  5. […] you looked carefully at the last picture, you may have noticed that not all the dry seed heads were those of Liatris mucronata. At the […]

  6. It took a while, but I knew I had seen these. They’re growing all around my little bunkhouse on the prairie, and yesterday I saw what had to be thousands of them in fields bordering the road. I’ve got a couple of photos for eventual sharing on my blog.

    Once they’re all fluffed out, are the seeds ready to be gathered? I may get some anyway and send them to Yvonne (Petspeopleandlife). Nothing ventured, nothing gained.


    October 24, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    • I’m impressed that you remembered this photograph from a year ago, or took the trouble to search for something that looks like what you saw. Here in Austin the Liatris has advanced to the fluffy stage, but I still have at least one more flowering picture to show. As the seasons lag the sun, so my blog photographs lag the season.

      My impression is that once these spikes are fluffed out, the seeds are ready to be gathered (but I hesitate because I’m no gardener, and I don’t know if the seeds keep maturing inside the fluff).

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 25, 2013 at 7:16 AM

  7. […] you looked carefully at the last picture, you may have noticed that not all the dry seed heads were those of Liatris mucronata. At the […]

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