Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

One is normal now, but the other, close by, far from it

with 6 comments

Liatris and Greenthread Flowering in March 3670

Last year I reported driving in east Austin and finding some Liatris mucronata, called blazing star and gayfeather, that was flowering on May 14th. The normal time for the species to begin blooming here is late summer, so that mid-May date was well in advance of what’s expected. This year things got even more out of whack: I spotted some Liatris flowering in far north Austin on March 24th, a good five or six months ahead of schedule. I went back the next day and took pictures of this prodigy, as you see here.

The yellow flowers are greenthread, Thelesperma filifolium, which were in their right mind, which is to say their right season (actually they can be found in Austin from early spring through late fall). They’ve been abundant so far this year, and you had a recent look at the nodding bud of one.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 6, 2013 at 6:22 AM

6 Responses

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  1. Five or six months ahead of schedule? They’re almost to the point where it could be debated whether they’re early or late, like holiday lights under the eaves of a house. 😉

    I do love the greenthread. They’re everywhere here, now.


    April 6, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    • I’ve had the same assessment problem several times in the last few years: if something happens when the earth is on the opposite side of its orbit from what’s expected, do you consider the phenomenon half a year early or half a year late? Here, because I didn’t see any stray Liatris flowers during the winter, I’m inclined to say this is half a year early, but I could be wrong.

      I’m happy to hear the greenthread is having a good year along the coast as well as here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 6, 2013 at 7:55 AM

  2. Liatris blooming now is just about unheard of. This only confirms how much the climate is changing.


    April 6, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    • It’s a strange bloom time, all right. I wonder if it portends something, or if there have always been occasional anomalies, though perhaps not well reported.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 7, 2013 at 4:58 AM

  3. They are sure pretty. I hope there is nothing ominous in their early bloom!


    April 7, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    • I hope it’s not more ominous than the buttercup you reported in Montana on February 5, though I’ll grant that wasn’t half a year out of sync.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 7, 2013 at 5:18 AM

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