Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Easter daisy

with 29 comments

Easter Daisy Flowering 9081

A fringe benefit of my trout lily quest at Nan Hampton’s country place on March 13th was the chance to see a plant that’s widespread across much of the western United States and parts of western Canada but that reaches the southeastern limit of its range in Lampasas County and therefore doesn’t quite make it to Travis County and Austin: Townsendia exscapa, known as Easter daisy. The best little clumps of these flowers I found on my visit were the ones in the seemingly (to people) harshest conditions, which is to say that the plants grew in caliche and amid stones but seemed to thrive in that environment, as you see here in a photo that marks the first appearance of this species in these pages.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 27, 2015 at 5:28 AM

29 Responses

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  1. I’ve never seen this little beauty. I read on the USDA page that another name for it is “stemless Townsend daisy.” That’s what I first noticed about it: that low-to-the-ground clumpiness. In that respect, it reminds me of mountain pinks, which also tend to be low growers. I suppose if you’re going to set up housekeeping in exposed areas, in the midst of caliche and rocks, hunkering down is a good idea.


    March 27, 2015 at 6:22 AM

    • The only other time I’d seen any of these daisies was on a trip to the same property several years ago, when the daisies were fewer and past their prime. The stemless, as you say, comes from the fact that the flower heads grow so close to the ground (a fact that meant I had to hunker down to get my best pictures).

      Speaking of mountain pinks, that other caliche lover, I was thinking about them just the other day, even though it’s a couple of months too early for them. Let’s hope the rain we had through the winter will bring out a good crop of them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 27, 2015 at 7:57 AM

  2. Very pretty. The leaves remind me of those of my gazanias.


    March 27, 2015 at 6:53 AM

  3. Great find, Steve.


    March 27, 2015 at 7:29 AM

  4. It looks just like an aster flower stuck into the ground! I’ve never seen anything like it.


    March 27, 2015 at 7:48 AM

    • Here’s to uniqueness. I like your description of an aster stuck into the ground. The clumps of these plants are usually less prominent than this one (which is more conspicuous because it grew on a mound, so I could lie on the ground a little below it and aim slightly up).

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 27, 2015 at 8:12 AM

      • That must have been uncomfortable, in the rocks. AH, how we artists suffer. It is a great shot.


        March 27, 2015 at 8:15 AM

        • I had my usual mat with me to soften the lying on the ground, but I was on slope and had to struggle against gravity to hold my position while taking pictures. Our struggles can lead other people to feel sympathy for us and value what we produce all the more—at least we can hope that’s the outcome.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 27, 2015 at 9:08 AM

  5. A first for me too. Thank you for sharing.


    March 27, 2015 at 8:21 AM

    • You’re welcome. I hear lots of wildflowers are coming up now in your coastal region.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 27, 2015 at 9:11 AM

      • They are! We got back from Colorado with green and flowers all around. It was an entirely different landscape in just a week. Driving back through Austin to Houston (HWY 290) we even viewed our first bluebonnets of the year along the highway (albeit in the rain). We’ll be back for more.

        It was no less stunning in CO, though I shot more birds than flowers (there were none yet). I posted if you want to see some feathered beauties there. Cheers, Steve, and Happy Spring and flower shooting!


        March 27, 2015 at 9:27 AM

        • Happy spring indeed. It’s sunny here today, yesterday’s strong wind has abated, and I’m about to go out and see what I can see.

          I know you must have been tired on your way back through Austin, but it’s too bad we couldn’t have managed a hello. Another time.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 27, 2015 at 9:47 AM

  6. I don’t often use this word but this little ground “bouquet” is very pretty! It looks like a bride has tossed a gorgeous little arrangement onto the ground. The pinks look lovely with the blue background and light stony ground.


    March 27, 2015 at 9:07 AM

    • I can see what you’ve imagined, Jane. With a different bit of imagining, you could think of me as a bride married to nature photography.

      Speaking of brides (and coming back to reality), when a friend of my wife’s got married here in the autumn some years ago, we went out and cut wildflowers, primarily and prominently the long stalks of blazing-star and Maximilian sunflowers, which we mixed and put in vases on tables at the wedding reception.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 27, 2015 at 9:21 AM

  7. What a beauty, and perfectly captured. It does look rather like a gazania.


    March 27, 2015 at 9:31 AM

    • Thanks, Jude. I learn these things in reverse from most of you, going from native wildflower to cultivated flower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 27, 2015 at 9:48 AM

  8. Lovely photo. Love the colour

    Raewyn's Photos

    March 27, 2015 at 2:03 PM

    • That pink-maroon tinge makes these special. I don’t know if the color persists on the underside of the rays or if the lower surface ultimately turns to the white of the upper surface.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 27, 2015 at 2:49 PM

  9. That’s a gorgeous plant. A whole bouquet by itself!


    March 27, 2015 at 9:54 PM

    • Yes, these grow in little bouquets, but usually closer to the ground (in my limited experience with this species).

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 27, 2015 at 10:29 PM

  10. My first response was that I was looking at a mammillaria or notocactus in full bloom. Pretty little plant and how lucky for folks to live near the flower’s profusion.

    Steve Gingold

    March 28, 2015 at 4:01 AM

    • Funny you should mention mammillaria, because there were some on that property too, although not close to flowering yet. From the USDA map, heaps of people in the West live near this daisy, but not I.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 28, 2015 at 8:40 AM

  11. I’d say that was well worth a little crouching (hope it was only a little–my knees don’t like that any more)!


    March 28, 2015 at 8:45 PM

    • I crouched for some of the photos, but for this one I lay flat on my mat on the ground so I could look slightly upward. Getting down may not be as easy as it once was, but some pictures ask for it and I’m reluctant to turn them down.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 28, 2015 at 9:27 PM

  12. Remarkable where some plants are able to thrive.

    Susan Scheid

    March 29, 2015 at 4:53 PM

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