Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A wildflower in mid-December

with 14 comments

Tetraneuris linearifolia Flower Head with Folded Rays 8426

Several recent freezing nights did away with many of the wildflowers in Austin, including two still-blooming sunflower plants along Mopac that I’d been keeping an eye on. Nevertheless, some wildflowers survived, and there are already even a few new ones. Yesterday afternoon, with the temperature in the 60s, I found this four-nerve daisy, Tetraneuris linearifolia, in the right-of-way beneath the power lines to the west of Morado Circle in my hilly part of town. Notice how the rays have begun curling down as the flower head matures.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 18, 2013 at 5:59 AM

14 Responses

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  1. I like the tiny star shaped structure above center in the flower. Looks like an asterisk. Are you sure this isn’t an aster variety?

    We returned yesterday from our road trip to WV. We had fun. There will be some posts w/pix coming. Have you ever gone hiking in snow and ice? We saw some remarkable scenery.

    Jim in IA

    December 18, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    • The little asterisk that you’re seeing is the end-on view of the fused stamen columns that characterize flower heads in the Asteraceae, the giant botanical family that includes, sunflowers, daisies, asters, and many other kinds of plants. At


      you can see many more of these asterisks in the head of a sunflower.

      My days of icicles and foot-deep snow and frost patterns on windowpanes and frozen streams ended when I left New York in the 1970s. On those rare occasions when we get an ice storm or a bit of snow, you’ll find me out there with my camera taking advantage of it, as you happily did on your trip.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 18, 2013 at 8:58 AM

  2. A lovely bit of sunshine for a morning with visibility of about twenty feet. We’re really so lucky to be able to enjoy these bits of color through most of the year.

    I came across this quotation from Alan Kay last night. He said, “Some people worry that artificial intelligence will make us feel inferior, but then, anybody in his right mind should have an inferiority complex every time he looks at a flower.”


    December 18, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    • I wouldn’t mind some temporary 20-foot visibility for a chance to take muted pictures in the fog. And yes, we are fortunate to have at least some wildflowers even in the winter, or what passes for winter here. I invariably see four-nerve daisies in Austin from early spring through December, which is to say for most of the year.

      That’s a great quotation from Alan Kay. It reminds me of the so-called Flower Sermon, in which the Buddha held up a flower to his disciples but said no words at all:


      Steve Schwartzman

      December 18, 2013 at 9:42 AM

  3. Your photo made me smile. Thanks!


    December 18, 2013 at 9:22 AM

  4. Beautiful work as usual. At first it seemed to be floating on icy water, isn’t that strange?

    Maria F.

    December 18, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    • Thanks, Maria. It’s interesting that you should have seen water, and icy water at that. I was hunched down and I aimed horizontally; the brown came from dry plants in the background.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 18, 2013 at 2:44 PM

  5. That’s really pretty and so pleasant to see! Up here the sight of flowers will be months away.


    December 18, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    • I saw another one of these today that was fully open. Sorry a similar sight is months away for you, unless you find one of those little micro-climates again where flowers spring forth.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 18, 2013 at 11:18 PM

      • Even though I do miss the wildflowers during our rather long winters, it’s very comforting to know that their survival strategies work very well for them as they rest under a warm blanket of snow until spring. Their absence in winter only heightens the enjoyment of seeing them celebrate spring when it finally comes.


        December 18, 2013 at 11:22 PM

  6. i’ve enjoyed many of the posts i’ve missed lately, and they’re all stunning! am in transit today and look forward to being home soon where i have more time to enjoy missed posts!


    Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    December 26, 2013 at 3:39 PM

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