Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Going back two years twice

with 30 comments

As this blog enters its fourth year, I’ll point out that 4 = 2 x 2, so I’d like to go back and correct two mistakes I made two years ago. That’s right, today I’m going to offer you updates, complete with a replacement photograph in each, of two articles from 2012. Most of you have never seen either post, and none of you have seen the replacement pictures, so happy new/old to you. Here’s the first:

Dwarf Dandelion Flower Head Opening 1746

Soon after the original version of this post was published on April 19th, 2012, Sue Wiseman alerted me to the fact that the plant in the post’s picture wasn’t really a dwarf dandelion at all, but Hedypnois cretica, an increasingly common European invasive, referred to descriptively based on its origin and botanical family as a Cretan composite. I’ve now replaced that photograph with one I took of an actual dwarf dandelion on a field trip to Bastrop State Park led by botanist Bill Carr on April 27, 2014. There’s nothing like having an expert with you to identify plants.

I suspect that even in areas where these little flowers are common, many people are unaware of dwarf dandelions, which botanists place in the genus Krigia (this one being K. oppositifolia). As John and Gloria Tveten write in Wildflowers of Houston: “While these tiny plants do not attract attention when alone, they frequently form large, showy colonies that blanket sandy fields or roadsides.”

© 2012, 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 7, 2014 at 6:00 AM

30 Responses

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  1. Sumptuous. So crisp and detailed, balanced with softened edges.


    June 7, 2014 at 6:34 AM

    • I’ll take sumptuous any time, so thanks. Crisp, detailed, and balanced are welcome too, so thanks again.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 7, 2014 at 7:54 AM

  2. big wow


    June 7, 2014 at 7:11 AM

  3. Whenever I pull my copy of the Tvetens’ book from the shelf, it opens naturally to page 121, where this dwarf dandelion is shown. It was one of the first flowers I identified with my magnifying glass and their book, and it took a while, especially since I thought the colony had been mowed down because it was there in the morning and not in the evening. Of course it was there, only the flowers had closed up. Who knew some flowers have bankers’ hours?

    This portrait is so elegant — not weedy at all!


    June 7, 2014 at 7:22 AM

    • Some of my best botanical friends are so-called weeds, by which I mean plants whose common names include weed in them, like frostweed and milkweed. That’s not the case with the dwarf dandelion, but people who value manicured lawns over wildflowers most likely treat this plant as a weed. Nor do lawn lovers care that it’s native (which the more-familiar dandelion isn’t, having spread here from Europe). Did you notice the rhyme in your statement that “some flowers have bankers’ hours”?

      Speaking of math (which you did in your previous comment), the number 121 (which you mentioned in this comment) is 11 squared, and that reminds me that there’s an easy way to multiply a two-digit number by 11. For example, to multiply 35 by eleven, add the 3 and the 5 and stick their sum between the 3 and the 5, so 35 times 11 is 385. Similarly 42 times 11 is 462. If the two digits add up to 10 or more, you’ll have to carry an extra 1 leftward. For instance, 38 times 11 is 418, and 97 times 11 is 1067.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 7, 2014 at 8:09 AM

      • I didn’t notice the rhyme. Accidental poetry, again.

        And that number trick is great. For whatever reason, I did fine with my multiplication tables, except for the nines. Then, I learned the trick with the fingers, which you surely know. (Start from the left, fold down the first finger (thumb) and there’s the solution: one times nine is nine. Second finger? Two times nine is eighteen. And so on.)

        I don’t need the nines trick any more, but that one for the elevens might come in handy.


        June 15, 2014 at 8:12 AM

        • I’ve been aware of the finger thing for nines for a few decades, but it wasn’t something any of my elementary or secondary teachers showed us. It’s related (because 9 is 1 less than the number of fingers we have) to the fact that if you multiply any number by 9, the sum of the digits in the product will always be 9 or a multiple of 9. For example, 9 x 874 = 7866, and if you calculate 7 + 8 + 6 + 6 you get 27, which is a multiple of 9.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 15, 2014 at 8:59 AM

  4. Nice photo. If you zoom in on the droplets attached to the left of center near petal you can see petals from the far side through them.

    Jim in IA

    June 7, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    • You have good eyes. The little vertical stripes visible in the droplets make the picture special for me too.

      As much as I like those droplets, fortunately the drizzle they’re evidence of didn’t last long, or else I wouldn’t have been able to take the other pictures from this field trip that will be appearing here over the next few weeks.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 7, 2014 at 9:38 AM

  5. Another beauty shot!


    June 7, 2014 at 11:40 AM

  6. Une petite merveille Steve, je n’avais pas vu le premier post et j’aurais bien été incapable de l’identifier. Mais lorsque je me lance dans l’aventure il m’arrive aussi de me tromper. Heureusement des botanistes chevronnés nous alertent!


    June 7, 2014 at 12:04 PM

  7. Not one I am familiar with, but it is a lovely flower…at least when it’s a slightly opened bud. All flowers are cute when they are just buds.

    Steve Gingold

    June 7, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    • When this one opens all the way it looks similar to a dandelion, but smaller. Your comment about cuteness might apply to people as well as flowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 7, 2014 at 10:59 PM

  8. Very nice portrait of this flower.


    June 7, 2014 at 3:51 PM

  9. A very beautiful photo. I was excited to know that the dwarf dandelion was not of the European invasive family. I wondered about our dandelions here and to my delight discovered that we have a native dandelion also http://maoriplantuse.landcareresearch.co.nz/WebForms/PeoplePlantsDetails.aspx?firstcome=firstcome&PKey=0F46DB6D-63E6-4A75-A95A-B610B2D48CA3


    June 8, 2014 at 3:36 AM

    • I see that your native New Zealand dandelion is even in the same genus as the invasive European one that has conquered the world. Botanists place the dwarf dandelion in the genus Krigia, as you can see above. At


      you’ll notice that the so-called Texas dandelion is in yet another genus.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 8, 2014 at 6:37 AM

      • Goodness, the dandelion is so diverse!


        June 8, 2014 at 7:31 AM

        • What happened is that when Europeans (in this case English-speaking ones) explored other parts of the world and encountered plants that resembled ones they were familiar with, they often re-used the existing names. (Sometimes they added a qualifier, as in the cases of the dwarf dandelion and Texas dandelion). One result was that various plants superficially similar to the common European dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) also came to be called dandelions. Botanists later found plenty of differences, hence the fact that many so-called dandelions are in different genera.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 8, 2014 at 8:00 AM

  10. […] The photograph of a dwarf dandelion in yesterday morning’s post was from an April 27th field trip to Bastrop State Park led by botanist Bill Carr. Bastrop lies about 30 miles (50 km) east of Austin, not far as drivers reckon distances, but quite a different world when it comes to plants. The ground is often sandy there, and as a result many species grow in Bastrop that don’t grow in nearby Austin. Today’s post and a bunch that follow—a whopping three weeks’ worth—will show you some of the things we saw on that field trip, beginning with a few of the ones that don’t grow in Austin and were new to me. […]

  11. Great photo!


    June 9, 2014 at 10:05 PM

  12. Lovely array of colors there. So much to amaze the eye in this little plant.

    Susan Scheid

    June 13, 2014 at 4:59 PM

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