Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Marsh fleabane flowers and opening buds

with 22 comments

Marsh Fleabane Flowers and Buds4038

Click for grater clarity and size.

Another thing I found on August 8th at the pond adjacent to Naruna Dr. in northeast Austin was some marsh fleabane, Pluchea odorata. Yes, this species of plant does have an odor, which some people find fragrant and others unpleasant. Nose aside, your eyes can enjoy the ripe buds at the left and the opening flowers at the right (especially if you click to enlarge the image).

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 7, 2013 at 6:16 AM

22 Responses

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  1. I like those. In the larger view, they appear to be fuzzy, not out of focus. When the technology arrives, your blog will be perfect for the Smell Me widget.

    Jim in IA

    September 7, 2013 at 6:29 AM

    • It’s too bad that WordPress doesn’t preserve sharpness in views that it resizes, but clarity is only a click away (that sounds like it could be a slogan for something).

      As for the olfactory technology you propose, I remember one from the 1950s that was a lower-tech version of it:


      Steve Schwartzman

      September 7, 2013 at 7:08 AM

      • I love that…the dials, Hans Lube, scent energizer…it is all perfect. Scaling that down to fit into an iphone will be tough. I think a brain implant will be needed to activate the olfactory lobe. Similar stuff is done with cochlear implants.

        Jim in IA

        September 7, 2013 at 7:14 AM

  2. Gorgeous flowers……..


    September 7, 2013 at 7:02 AM

    • And individually small: each little head is typically 3/16 to 1/4 of an inch (4.8–6.4 mm) in size.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 7, 2013 at 7:16 AM

  3. Nice! I’ve been on the hunt for Robin’s Fleabane, and our common fleabane has now finished blooming. This is prettier than either!


    September 7, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    • Fleabane is one of those names that people have given to multiple plants. I had to look up Robin’s fleabane and I found it’s in the genus Erigeron, other species of which are also called fleabane. Last year I showed a picture of probably the most common central Texas species in that genus, Erigeron modestus, with a modest little fly on it:


      Marsh fleabane is—perhaps surprisingly—in the same plant family as the Erigerons, the sunflower family, but in one of the so-called tribes whose members don’t have flower heads that take the form of a daisy.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 7, 2013 at 10:28 AM

  4. I love gathering this kind of information so it explains the things I see when I am out hiking. The photo is great, thank you.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    September 7, 2013 at 10:43 AM

  5. My yard is filled with Daisy Fleabane which is a compositae and, I guess, not really related. These appear very pretty.

    Steve Gingold

    September 7, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    • How nice that your yard is filled with daisy fleabane (or fleabane daisy, take your pick or pick your take). That’s in the same family as marsh fleabane, the sunflower family, but in a different tribe (i.e. branch) of the family. The flowers of Pluchea lack the rays that are so prominent in daisies.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 7, 2013 at 11:05 AM

  6. Most of all, I would appreciate if the scent (or any aspect of the plant) were actually a great flea repellent. I suspect it’s not reliably so, but we can all dream.


    September 7, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    • If you know any budding biology student (or would like to become one yourself) in need of a research project, there’s one for you. Pluchea odorata grows in your part of Texas and should be easy to find near creeks and ponds. Maybe some great new insect repellent awaits us.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 7, 2013 at 7:46 PM

      • I’ll definitely leave the experiment to my betters; if my science grades in school were sufficient indicators, I’d be likely to inadvertently invent a superrace of 18 foot tall fleas whose diet of fleabane only makes them seek a snack of humans more bloodthirstily. Still have to find a way to make a *positive* contribution to society, but I’m pretty sure this one isn’t my grand opportunity. Sigh. Thanks for the suggestion, though.


        September 9, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        • It sounds like your school experience was more sigh-ence than science, but that’s okay. On the other hand, you’d be just the person to draw pictures of those monster fleas and write poems about them.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 9, 2013 at 4:21 PM

  7. These are beautiful. I’m eager to go back to wildflowers, but twist of fate has it that I post about ornamentals for now. But can’t wait to resume some of the wildflowers I was posting about.

    M. Firpi

    September 7, 2013 at 8:23 PM

  8. I do enjoy the photos that show progressive stages, even if the differences are slight. And the fuzzy flowers are such fun. It looks like this is another example. The stems and leaves appear to be just as fuzzy as the flowers. They seem stiff, too – good flowers for an arrangement.


    September 8, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    • I like the sound and rhythm of “the fuzzy flowers are such fun.” I can’t recall how fuzzy the leaves are, so I’ll pay attention the next time I’m near some.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 8, 2013 at 6:39 PM

  9. […] produce flowers that don’t look like daisies or sunflowers (for example climbing hempvine, marsh fleabane, shrubby boneset, purple mistflower, and poverty weed). Enough already, you say? Hey, I’m […]

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