Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Texas stars and bluebonnets

with 14 comments

Texas Star Flowers in Bluebonnet Colony 8603

The bluebonnet* is the official wildflower of Texas. In fact five species collectively play that role; the one shown here is Lupinus texensis. (If you’d like a reminder of how a bluebonnet looks when it’s developing, you can go back to a close-up photograph from two months ago.)

A wildflower from a different family, Lindheimera texana, has come to be called Texas star or Texas yellow star. Like the star on the state flag, a Texas star flower head always has five rays—as opposed to most local yellow composite flowers, where the number of rays varies from one specimen to another within a given species. Another distinctive characteristic of Lindheimera texana is the notch at the tip of each ray (which you can see more clearly in a close-up from 2012).

Last week, in writing about a photograph dominated by colonies of old plainsman and verbena, I said I’d eventually identify the yellow flowers in the lower right corner of that picture. Now you know what they were.

Date: April 12.  Place: Interstate 35 at Onion Creek Parkway in far south Austin.


* Although bluebonnets usually look purple to me, I’ll confess that this group could pass for true blue.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 24, 2013 at 6:20 AM

14 Responses

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  1. Love your photos. And love the Lindheimer Daisy. To me, the most interesting stage is between those you’ve shown. I don’t know if you can see my Facebook album, so here’s a photo from last week.



    Al Williams

    April 24, 2013 at 6:41 AM

    • It’s good that you were able to play (photographically, and maybe otherwise) in our central Texas wildflowers. One phase of the Texas star that has always intrigued me is after it has gone to seed and is beginning to dry out, when it looks like no other similar daisy. I see that stage in one of your pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 24, 2013 at 7:09 AM

  2. The blue and yellow contrast is very striking and bold!

    Barbara Rodgers

    April 24, 2013 at 6:43 AM

    • It is. Bluebonnets can form dense colonies, so it’s nice when wildflowers of different colors break up the expanse of bluish-purple.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 24, 2013 at 7:13 AM

  3. Lovely capture – great DOF.


    April 24, 2013 at 6:49 AM

  4. I love the color contrast Steve! Beautiful shot!

    Michael Glover

    April 24, 2013 at 10:14 AM

  5. […] a view from higher and farther back than last time, showing how the large bluebonnet colony that I found on April 12 along Interstate 35 at Onion […]

  6. Those flowers are spectacular together!


    April 24, 2013 at 11:08 PM

  7. Ah, I love the juxtaposition of the brilliant colors!


    April 27, 2013 at 9:50 AM

  8. […] a picture posted a couple of weeks ago showing a few Texas yellow stars in a colony of bluebonnets, two small insects were barely […]

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