Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A simple twist of fate

with 13 comments

Firewheel Seed Head Dried Out on Looping Stalk 0574

You’ve seen plenty of pictures here this year of Gaillardia pulchella, known as firewheel or Indian blanket, but not till now have I showed you one this far gone and dried out, nor with so curiously looping a stalk. I took this photograph beneath cloudy skies and with rising wind on Old Settlers Blvd. near Greenhill Dr. in Round Rock on July 14th (vive la France et vive la gaillarde).

I try to give dried-out plants their due, as you’ve seen two days in a row. Tomorrow’s picture will include another one, but only as a minor element in the service of something quite different. Lovers of bright red, stay tuned.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 7, 2013 at 6:09 AM

13 Responses

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  1. I searched back in your site for more Gaillardia pulchella references. I remember years ago growing a variety of Gaillardia in my flower patch. They were one of my favorites with their red and orange and yellow petals. You are fortunate to have them growing so abundantly. I have seen them wild here in IA. But, not so many at a time.

    Jim in IA

    August 7, 2013 at 6:26 AM

    • We are fortunate to have them flowering here so abundantly throughout the spring, and in smaller quantities into the summer. Even now I’m still finding the occasional stray flower head. Inevitably I come across large dried-out colonies that make me wish I’d visited those places a few months earlier, when they would have been covered in dense red and yellow. Too bad I can’t be everywhere all the time.

      If the climate keeps warming up, you may get dense fields of Indian blankets too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 7, 2013 at 6:49 AM

  2. Reminds me of an aged beauty in relish of days gone by…..a just due you did give…j

    Developing A New Image

    August 7, 2013 at 6:42 AM

    • And a just comment did you.

      I should push myself to visit trans-Pecos Texas more often. You have some great subjects out there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 7, 2013 at 6:56 AM

    • And I should add that you treat those subjects quite nicely. Readers who would like to see Jim’s many photographs of nature in far west Texas can go to:


      Steve Schwartzman

      August 7, 2013 at 7:08 AM

  3. I enjoy the shapes plants take as they dry out. This is very nice, Steve.

    Steve Gingold

    August 7, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    • Those withering shapes have fascinated me for years. Not everyone is as fond of them as we are, so I don’t overdo pictures of that sort here but I do make sure to include one every now and then.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 7, 2013 at 6:14 PM

  4. Not only dried out, but positively crispy. It reminds me of fried pork rind – that kind of crispiness that just shatters when you bite into it. The stem’s a nice twist on the way these flowers bob and bow in their prime. I do love these more “structural” photos.


    August 9, 2013 at 7:03 AM

  5. Oh oui, Vive la gaillarde du 14 juillet 😉 ! What a délicate and delightful picture of this flower. I like them in red and yellow but this one has a particular charm. It would be nice in black & white too, I think.


    August 10, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    • I’ve showed plenty of photographs of this species in the red and yellow phase that you mentioned, which everyone finds it easy to love, so I’m pleased that you also found delicacy and charm in this dry, which isn’t monochrome, but close to it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 10, 2013 at 3:33 PM

  6. Lovely~ I always enjoy looking at plants after they are done blooming. My botanist friends call it “forensic botanizing” : )


    August 12, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    • That’s a great phrase, Melissa, and one I wish I’d thought of. It’s appropriate, too: sometimes a species dries out in a characteristic way that I’ve learned to recognize, but many times I can’t identify a dry plant.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 12, 2013 at 5:21 PM

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