Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Western ironweed flowers

with 33 comments

Western Ironweed Flowers 6249

Also from July 7th along Bull Creek comes this close and somewhat Impressionist portrait of western ironweed, Vernonia baldwinii, a species making its debut here today. Although the photograph is from two months ago, I kept finding western ironweed (and also woolly ironweed, the other local species) flowering in various places all through August.

To see the many locations in the central United States where this species grows, you can check out the newly updated USDA website that now has a slider (but not a red-eared slider) on the left side of the U.S. map. If you slowly drag the slider upward the states will keep enlarging and eventually the counties will appear. You can drag the map around within its frame at any magnification to see whatever region you’d like.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 4, 2014 at 5:10 AM

33 Responses

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  1. Very pretty.

    Gallivanta

    September 4, 2014 at 5:44 AM

    • Yes, this species has flowers that are often a rich purple. Because of their smallish size and arrangement I’ve had trouble over the years getting pictures of them that I’ve liked, but this abstract approach pleased me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 4, 2014 at 5:51 AM

      • At a first quick glance I thought “thistle”.

        Gallivanta

        September 5, 2014 at 2:31 AM

        • There’s a family resemblance. Ironweeds and thistles are both in the Asteraceae, commonly called the sunflower, aster, daisy, or composite family. It’s such a large family that botanists have divided it into sections called tribes. Thistles are in the Cynareae tribe, while ironweed is in the Vernonieae tribe.

          This picture is close and abstract, but if you saw an ironweed in person, or a photograph showing the plant as a whole, you probably wouldn’t take it for a thistle.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 5, 2014 at 7:16 AM

          • Well, there you go, my thought wasn’t as silly as I imagined.

            Gallivanta

            September 5, 2014 at 8:44 AM

  2. Quelle magnifique couleur, une splendeur. A mon tour j’ai été surprise par le mot “debut” so I asked Mr. Google. Car comme nous disons début pour “beginning” j’ai été surprise de voir que vous pouviez l’utiliser vous aussi mais sans accent. Merci Steve!

    chatou11

    September 4, 2014 at 5:58 AM

    • Oui, c’est un mot que l’anglais a emprunté au français. Au début on l’écrivait avec l’accent, qui peu à peu s’est évanoui.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 4, 2014 at 7:40 AM

  3. Stunning colour. A little like a cornflower? Just looking at the shape of that bud.

    Heyjude

    September 4, 2014 at 6:58 AM

    • It’s in the same family as the cornflower, the Asteraceae, which has been called the sunflower, aster, daisy, or composite family. It’s such a large family that botanists have divided it into “tribes.” The cornflower is in the Cynareae tribe, while ironweed is in the Vernonieae tribe (and how about those four consecutive vowels at the end of Vernonieae?).

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 4, 2014 at 7:46 AM

  4. I like the zoom-able map.

    Jim in IA

    September 4, 2014 at 7:00 AM

  5. This one took my breath away. The color is so deep and lovely, and the bud appears to be silken threads in a Cloisonné holder. I just can’t find words enough for this one.

    shoreacres

    September 4, 2014 at 7:48 AM

    • I’m glad it moved you, Linda, which means I’ve gotten a long-awaited success in trying to photograph this species.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 4, 2014 at 9:06 AM

  6. Beautiful photo, stunning coloration, very much a princess quality!

    marksshoesbyevamarks

    September 4, 2014 at 4:11 PM

  7. No surprise there….something called “Western Ironweed” does not appear in my neighborhood. We do, howeever, have New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis).

    Steve Gingold

    September 4, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    • I noticed the species named after New York when I did a little looking at the genus Vernonia, and I see it’s marked for Long Island’s Nassau County, where I grew up, so I might have seen it without being aware. Have you photographed it in Massachusetts?

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 4, 2014 at 6:02 PM

  8. What a jewel!

    lljostes

    September 4, 2014 at 6:25 PM


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