Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


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Dense Broomweed Flowers 4203

Here’s a closer look at the small but multitudinous flower heads of broomweed, Amphiachyris dracunculoides, which you saw en masse several posts ago. All the little flower heads shown here—and others that you can’t see—are from a single plant. This October 7th view is once again from Andrews Crossing at Windy Hills Rd. in Kyle, a fast-growing suburb south of Austin.

Stay tuned tomorrow for purple multitudes.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 28, 2014 at 5:49 AM

22 Responses

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  1. All one plant? It is almost competition for the infamous Humungous Fungus.

    Steve Gingold

    October 28, 2014 at 6:42 AM

    • At least I think it was all one plant. In looking at the image again now, I’d say it’s possible that the slightly darker upper left corner of the image shows another plant, but that takes up just a few percent of the area of the photograph.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 28, 2014 at 7:20 AM

      • I wasn’t doubting you, Steve. It was more of a Wow question….and a lead in to the fungus comment.

        Steve Gingold

        October 28, 2014 at 7:43 AM

        • No, I didn’t take it as if you were doubting me, but I sometimes have doubts myself when I try to remember how something was.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 28, 2014 at 8:01 AM

  2. It’s hard to believe all those blooms come from a single plant. A comparison of this to your earlier portrait of a single broomweed flower really is remarkable. As so often happens, they all seem the same, until one’s singled out for a good look.


    October 28, 2014 at 6:43 AM

    • It’s quite a contrast, isn’t it? These hundreds of little asterisk clones creating a collective yellow milky way, versus the head that stood alone and asserted its individuality as it shone out of the dark.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 28, 2014 at 7:26 AM

  3. Broomweed, so called because it was used to make brooms? Some types of broomweed are used for brooms but for this particular one all I can see on Google is entries on “how to kill it”.


    October 28, 2014 at 7:48 AM

    • Not to make brooms (as we think of brooms now) but to use as a broom, because broomweed typically grows upward as a single stalk for a while and then branches out a lot at the top (hence the multitudinous flower heads). According to what I’ve read, pioneers in Texas in the 1800s would uproot a broomweed plant, turn it upside down, and sweep with it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 28, 2014 at 8:08 AM

      • Ah, thank you for that explanation.


        October 28, 2014 at 6:29 PM

        • You’re welcome. It’s interesting that the English word broom was originally (and still is) the name of a plant.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 28, 2014 at 7:38 PM

          • Yes, and we have many brooms in New Zealand, some native but also the Scotch Broom. I liked this article on the Scotch Broom which gives some of its good points as well as its bad points. http://www.arthurleej.com/a-scotchbroom.html According to the article “scoparius means broom-like” . With reference to the word broom; where I grew up ‘broom’ was usually used as a verb. People always said they were going to ‘broom’ the floor. No one ever swept the floor.


            October 28, 2014 at 9:00 PM

            • I didn’t know that Scotch broom has become an alien invasive in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. I’m glad to hear you’ve got some native ones is New Zealand.

              I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone in the United States use broom as a verb, but I just looked and found that usage in several American dictionaries, so at least some people must use the word that way.

              Steve Schwartzman

              October 28, 2014 at 9:14 PM

              • It’s unusual to use broom as a verb. My parents didn’t approve. Nor did they approve of another term which was common. People didn’t say “turn off the light” or ‘switch on the light”. It was always “off the light” or “on the light”.


                October 28, 2014 at 9:25 PM

                • “Off the light” and “on the light” make sense to me and are understandable, even if not standard.

                  In American slang, off as a verb means ‘to murder.’

                  In some dialects of the eastern United States, the verb outen means ‘to turn out, turn off, extinguish.’

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  October 28, 2014 at 9:34 PM

                • Ah, the diversity of English.


                  October 28, 2014 at 9:54 PM

  4. An interesting photo and a great opportunity to use the wonderful word “multitudinous”. I can’t remember the last time I saw or heard that word.


    October 28, 2014 at 10:20 PM

  5. We are also enjoying the broom weed and goldenrod here in the Houston area. I wish I had some free time to go capture a couple of bright yellow fields! I have a thing for yellow. So glad I don’t have seasonal allergies anymore.


    October 29, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    • It’s great that you’ve gotten past season allergies. I wish I had. I had a report that the goldenrod near the coast is excellent now, so I hop you can find a little time to enjoy it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 29, 2014 at 10:17 AM

  6. […] plants (Amphiachyris dracunculoides) still flowering—barely. (That stands in contrast to how densely flowerful this species is at its peak.) To give you a sense of scale, I’ll add that each broomweed flower head ranges from 1/4 to […]

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