Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for June 3rd, 2014

White rock lettuce

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Cucumber Beetle on White Rock Lettuce Flower Head 3075

Here’s a species I’ve never showed in these pages till now: Pinaropappus roseus, known as white rock lettuce. I didn’t know why a botanist decided to call it rosy, unless the rose in question was a white one. That’s the only color (aside from the yellow at the center) that I’ve ever seen in one of these flower heads, but when I looked at the entry for this plant on the website of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center I found this: “It is said that the undersides of the petals are pink to rose-lavender and that the upper side is sometimes pale pink, which would agree with the pink dandelion name.” Next time I run across one of these flower heads, which I don’t often see, I’ll be sure to check the underside.

This photograph, like two of the last three you’ve seen, is from the Smith Memorial Trail in northwest Austin on April 29th. Also like those pictures, today’s includes an insect: this time it’s a spotted cucumber beetle, Diabrotica undecimpunctata. The species name is from Latin undecim ‘one [plus] ten, i.e. eleven’ and punctum ‘point, dot, spot.’ Notice how the yellow parts of the beetle match those at the center of the flower head.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 3, 2014 at 5:45 AM

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