The opening of a basket-flower
Do 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 quarter-mile west at Meister Place in southernmost Round Rock. Today’s picture shows a Centaurea americana flower head as it was opening. People say seeing is believing, but that’s not always so: despite differences in form and color, all the florets you see here are disk flowers; this species has no ray flowers. (For a refresher on disk flowers versus ray flowers, you can refer to a recent post.)
The European species Centaurea cyanus, known as bachelor’s button and cornflower, has long been widely cultivated in the United States (at least partly because European immigrants brought it with them as a reminder of home). For those of you in the United States who are gardeners and are fond of that species, I’d encourage you to plant this beautiful American relative, the only Centaurea species that’s native here.
© 2014 Steven Schwartzman