Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A floral welcome home

with 21 comments

Pavonia Mallows and Straggler Daisies 3945

On the morning of October 5th, after returning the previous evening from two weeks in the Great American West, I looked out one of my kitchen windows and was greeted with this wildflower display in the yard. The larger flowers are Pavonia lasiopetala, known as pavonia mallow, rose pavonia, or rose mallow. The little yellow ones are Calyptocarpus vialis, called straggler daisy, lawnflower, or horseherb.

We’re far from done with photographs from my western adventure, but for the next week or so I’ve interrupted that sequence to catch you up on the fall succession of native wildflowers in Austin. After that I’ll mix the two regions for a spell and hope the intertwined pictures spell a pleasant variety.

If you’re interested in photography as a craft, you’ll find that points 15 and 18 in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 23, 2014 at 5:33 AM

21 Responses

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  1. That’s a very lovely patch and a fine view for the start of a day.

    Steve Gingold

    October 23, 2014 at 5:56 AM

    • At our former house there were lots of straggler daisies, but ten-and-a-half years ago we moved to our current house, where there weren’t any. Now there are, and we had nothing to do with it: they just volunteered themselves, as they’re wont to do (hence the name lawnflower). The pink flowers are descendants of a single pavonia mallow that Eve planted by the side of the house some years ago.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 23, 2014 at 7:53 AM

  2. I see lots of these on the Hewlett-Packard campus in north Austin.


    October 23, 2014 at 6:43 AM

    • *Both* species.


      October 23, 2014 at 6:43 AM

      • Then make that a double yay for the HP campus. I had to remind myself where in north Austin that is, and I see it’s close to the property on the east side of Mopac slightly north of Wells Branch Parkway where I took nature pictures on and off for years but can’t anymore because the place became a construction site this spring.

        Steve Schwartzman

        October 23, 2014 at 7:58 AM

  3. I can’t tell you how happy I am. I have a closeup of Calyptocarpus vialis in my files, and have been trying to identify it for use in a post. It’s on page 103 of the Tvetens’ book, but I had looked right past it. Sometimes book photos aren’t an obvious match, and it can take me a while to sort things out.

    It’s especially pretty combined with the rose mallow. If people wouldn’t insist on rounding up the horseherb with things like Roundup, they’d see what a nice flower it is. Maybe.


    October 23, 2014 at 7:50 AM

    • “Sometimes book photos aren’t an obvious match…” I’ve had that experience many times and have looked right past pictures of something I wanted to identify. One factor in this case is that straggler daisy flowers are small, while the photo of that species in the Tvetens’ book is (necessarily) a closeup. I posted one closeup myself three years ago:


      The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the Native Plant Society of Texas promote Calyptocarpus vialis as a native ground cover, and a good one it is. Once it gets started it’s usually there for life—your life, that is.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 23, 2014 at 8:12 AM

  4. Funny. All of my neighbors call these “weeds.” I guess beauty really IS in the eye of the beholder.


    October 23, 2014 at 5:08 PM

  5. That is a wonderful start to the day, like the first of the evening stars ushering you in. I almost didn’t even notice the yellow ones. This is quite the bush, hedge?

    Thanks for sharing such a happy subtle photo.


    October 24, 2014 at 1:05 AM

    • You’re welcome for the happiness and subtlety.

      The straggler daisies are small, so it’s easy to understand how you might overlook them in favor of the larger and more conspicuous flowers on the pavonia mallow, which grows into an open shrub.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 24, 2014 at 1:48 AM

  6. Now, why am I not surprised that you have wildflowers in your garden? 😀


    October 24, 2014 at 5:28 AM

    • Truth to tell, we don’t have much in the way of gardens per se. Some non-native plants are still here from when we moved into this house a decade ago, and some native ones have volunteered from time to time, like the straggler daisies. Eve has planted a few native things from time to time, like the pavonia mallow. I noticed the other day that some Virginia creeper vines have begun creeping up a couple of trees in the back yard.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 24, 2014 at 6:45 AM

  7. This image made me smile with happiness. It reminds me of a time when I was returning from a trip (to Texas, as it happens) and discovered a new plant blooming a cheerful welcome to me in the garden. Travel is hard on me, and that really lifted my heart.


    November 7, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    • What a coincidence that Texas was involved both times, though at opposite ends of a trip. I’m, sorry to hear travel is hard on you; I’ve noticed my stamina isn’t quite what it used to be.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 7, 2014 at 1:53 PM

      • *yeah, sigh. I do think Texas is calling to me. My son wants to visit Austin. If we get there, sometime next spring, I’ll let you know 🙂


        November 8, 2014 at 4:01 PM

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