Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Two colonies

with 5 comments

Texas Thistle Colony by Firewheel Colony 7793

Click for better clarity and much larger size.

On May 17th, as I passed through the town of Liberty Hill on my way home from some hours of taking pictures (including the ones in the last few posts), I spotted this field of dense wildflowers and had to stop. You’ve seen some closeups of Texas thistles, Cirsium texanum, this spring, but here’s the first view of a colony of them.

The yellow-tipped red flowers, as you probably know from having heard it so many times here recently, are Gaillardia pulchella, called firewheels or Indian blankets. They certainly did a good job of blanketing the field, and they contrasted nicely with the thistles in height and color.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 11, 2013 at 6:12 AM

5 Responses

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  1. So lovely, Steve; makes me want to visit Texas to see more of this in person! I can see why the impressionist painters loved fields of flowers.


    June 11, 2013 at 7:05 AM

    • Hi, Lynn. Let’s hope you can come here one spring to see and walk through colonies like this yourself. I’ll bet you’d be inspired to turn Texas wildflowers into music, and we have plenty of birds whose calls could lend themselves as well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 11, 2013 at 7:12 AM

  2. I’ve never seen so many thistles gathered together, and I’ve never seen them grouped with another flower like this. It’s just lovely.

    I was wondering why you’d never posted about my favorite thistle, but now I know. The Russian thistle, AKA “tumbleweed”, is an invasive, brought to this country via contaminated flax seed. It landed in South Dakota first, and then tumbled south and west. Of course, invasive is one thing. Frontal assault is another.


    June 12, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    • Agreed: the interpenetration of the two dense colonies makes each one better than it would be on its own.

      That’s a scary video of the tumbling tumbleweed in the Texas Panhandle. I was quite surprised to learn, after I got into native plants 14 years ago, that the tumbleweed I’d grown up hearing Gene Autry sing about, and that seemed so emblematic of the American West, was an invasive plant from Russia. I think very few people know that.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 12, 2013 at 10:08 PM

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