Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 9 comments

Engelmann Daisy with Curled Rays 2499

Click for greater clarity.

The ray flowers of the Engelmann daisy, Engelmannia peristenia, have a predilection to curl under in the heat of the day. Certain insects have a predilection to eat those rays, curled or not, as you can see from some of the chomping that has taken place here, especially at the top. And speaking of insects, Val Bugh informs me that the tiny striped insect in this photograph, which I’ve been noticing a fair number of around Austin this spring, is a predatory thrips* in the family Aelothripidae and the genus Aeolothrips. With all the rays of sunshine pouring down on the bright yellow rays of the Engelmann daisy, you might say that this little creature got to thrip the light fantastic.

Date: May 1.  Place: west side of Interstate 35 near Wells Branch Parkway in far north Austin.


* Like species and series, thrips is a noun whose singular and plural are the same.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 19, 2013 at 6:19 AM

9 Responses

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  1. Interesting post. Those thrips are a “trip.” Engelmann’s daisy- easy to get started from one plant or seeds.


    May 19, 2013 at 9:00 AM

  2. Love the photo and the background information was quite interesting.

    • Thanks, Charlie. In my photographs I try to pay as much attention to the background as to the background information

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 19, 2013 at 2:28 PM

  3. What great detail there is in this photo, in its highlighting of the tightly curled petals.

    Mary Mageau

    May 20, 2013 at 5:19 AM

    • Why the rays curl under that way is a mystery to me, but from years of observing I can say that the ray flowers on this kind of daisy curl like that much more often than those on any other native species of daisy-like flower. Happy details.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2013 at 8:03 AM

  4. I followed the link for the thrips family, and discovered the “audiothrips”. I looked at the photo pretty closely, thinking they might have a set of teeny-tiny headphones, but I didn’t see any. If they did, they surely would have had a soundtrack for thriping the light fantastic.


    May 22, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    • You have a good imagination, but I guess we’ll never see a movie of what you imagined because there’s no videothrips in the list.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 22, 2013 at 10:50 PM

  5. […] led to a post entitled Predilections, which mentioned the tendency in the Engelmann daisy of the ray flowers to curl […]

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