Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

The opening of a basket-flower

with 18 comments

Basket-Flower Opening from Above 9102

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

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 21, 2014 at 5:52 AM

18 Responses

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  1. The tiny blue highlights really add interest. If I had a plot of land, I’d plant these. They’re close enough to bachelor buttons to make me happy.

    As for ray and disk flowers, I think I’ve learned that lesson fairly well. I often see your wildflower photos and think, “That looks like (fill in the blank).” But yesterday, I saw a photo of this, and thought, “Those are ray flowers.” As I told Sherri, add a few meatballs in the middle and you’d have a complete sunflower.


    July 21, 2014 at 7:40 AM

    • Maybe you can befriend a “vacant” lot near you and scatter a bunch of basket-flower seeds. As you’ve seen from some of the pictures here, basket-flowers can take off and form large colonies.

      I like the imaginative pastafleur. I’d use the botanical term linear to describe the “ray flowers.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 21, 2014 at 8:35 AM

  2. Stunning shot and incredible detail. I love this.


    July 21, 2014 at 9:32 AM

  3. I watered my small patch of those a few minutes ago. Very nice close-up.

    Jim in IA

    July 21, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    • Thanks. I’ve photographed basket-flowers from close and from afar, at this angle and that angle, in stages from early to late. It’s hard to miss with such an attractive wildflower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 21, 2014 at 12:25 PM

  4. wow, beautiful


    July 21, 2014 at 10:41 AM

  5. Great combination of colors and the detail is excellent as well.

    Steve Gingold

    July 21, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    • Merci, monsieur. Given the angle at which I held the camera, and with the flower head at this stage of opening, the florets ended up approximately parallel to the sensor plane. With f/14 I managed to get most of the details sharp.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 21, 2014 at 4:31 PM

  6. Beautiful flower, beautiful coloration and a delicate artwork creation!


    July 21, 2014 at 7:18 PM

  7. Beautiful moment on this one.

    Maria F.

    July 21, 2014 at 7:43 PM

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