Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Basket-flowers and firewheels

with 18 comments

Basket-Flowers and Firewheels 8743

Click for greater clarity.

In the early spring I showed you some dense Texas wildflowers, and now I’m interrupting the pictures from Bastrop for the next several days to catch you up on some more-recent “colonial” pictures from later in the spring, even though today already marks the official beginning of summer. Oh well, the seasons lag the sun, so I can lag the seasons.

Today’s wowee-zowee photograph is from May 24th, when for the third year in a row at the intersection of Meister Ln. and Schultz Ln. in southernmost Round Rock I visited this great colony of basket-flowers, Centaurea americana. The red and yellow flowers in the background are Gaillardia pulchella, known as firewheels and Indian blankets.

If you’re interested in photography as a craft, you’ll find that points 2, 6 and 15 in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 21, 2014 at 6:00 AM

18 Responses

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  1. I’ll agree with wowee-zowee.


    June 21, 2014 at 7:03 AM

  2. Did you know today does not mark the earliest sunrise and latest sunset?

    Jim in IA

    June 21, 2014 at 7:19 AM

    • I hadn’t thought about today’s solstice in particular, but years ago I’d noticed some anomalies in charts of daylight hours that showed times of sunrises and sunsets. If you’d like to append an explanation, please do.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 21, 2014 at 7:25 AM

      • Not an explanation so much as an observation…earliest sunrise was about 4 days ago. Latest sunset will be in about 4 days from now. Their combination gives the longest daylight today.

        Happy Summer Solstice.

        Jim in IA

        June 21, 2014 at 7:41 AM

  3. Love this pic….Reminds me of the lovely fragrance of the basket flower…Suggestion: tell your viewers about the fragrance. I’m so glad Lisa Spangler told me. Thanks for your wonderful sharing! Kathy Henderson

    Kathy Henderson

    June 21, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    • You’re welcome, Kathy. Who wouldn’t love a dense colony of basket-flowers, right? That was intended as a rhetorical question, but over the hours that I’ve spent in various visits to this site, which gets plenty of traffic passing it on three sides, I don’t believe I ever saw anyone else but me stop and get out to look at or photograph the wildflowers.

      As for fragrances of flowers, I’ve struggled for ways to describe them in these posts. If you’d like to tell readers how you interpret the scent of a basket-flower, go right ahead.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 21, 2014 at 10:55 AM

  4. Well. I think I’m going to head back to the farm where I picked more blackberries and tomatoes last night. At the end of a blackberry row, I glanced at some pinkish globes and thought, “My. Those sensitive briar certainly are tall.” Now, I wonder. They might have been basket-flowers.

    Either way, the trip will be worth it. I forgot my camera last night, and then discovered the passion-flowers have begun producing passion-fruit, and the combination of flowers and fruit is worth a photo. If I’m lucky, the bumblebees will be there again, too.


    June 21, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    • Happy fruits and veggies, and maybe even some basket-flowers. The heads of basket-flowers, at least when mature, are a lot larger (and usually more flattened) than the globes of sensitive briars, which are small. It’s not clear clear what you saw last night, but I’ll bet a return visit, this time with a camera, will clarify things.

      As for passion-fruit, it’s likely that your farm is cultivating Passiflora edulis, which Wikipedia says is native to Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and northern Argentina. Several species are native to Texas, but I don’t think they produce edible fruit. Too bad.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 21, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      • It took a while to clarify things, but clear they are. I’m down in Goliad, and between Blessing and Port Lavaca, the colonies of basket-flowers were as dense as any I’ve seen. The “basket” is as wonderful as the blossom. and, yes, they are much larger than the sensitive briar. I can check one more native wildflower off my never-seen list.


        June 8, 2015 at 3:59 PM

        • I’m glad you added the basket-flower to the basket of wildflowers you’ve been wanting to see, and via dense colonies as well. (We have some good colonies in central Texas this year as well, as you saw in the post a couple of weeks ago, but not quite as good as the one shown here from last spring.) The floral parts of this species are already special, and the basket below adds more magic.

          I hope your Goliad stay puts you closer to the goal in the project you’re working on.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 8, 2015 at 4:31 PM

  5. That’s quite the neighborhood posey. Is that naturally occurring or is it planted? I ask because around here most often a swath like this is hand sown.

    Steve Gingold

    June 21, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    • It’s an appropriate question, and the answer is that this is a natural colony. When Anglo settlers came to Texas in the 1800s, they found miles and miles of wildflower colonies like this in the spring. Farming and ranching and settlement put an end to a lot of it, but whenever land here is left alone for a few years, the wildflowers often return—even if it’s only until the land gets built on, as I expect this plot will be before too long. In the meantime, I hunt for places like this for as long as I can.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 21, 2014 at 8:50 PM

  6. Wowie-zowie is right, and I enjoyed the bit of back story in your response above, too.

    Susan Scheid

    June 24, 2014 at 12:42 PM

  7. […] you remember the great colony of basket-flowers that you saw last month? Now here’s a May 28th closeup taken during the same outing but a […]

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