Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

And here’s a buffalo bur flower

with 16 comments

Buffalo Bur Flower 2375

Last time you saw some opening buds of buffalo bur, Solanum rostratum, and now here’s a fully open flower. Compare this yellow-on-yellow flower to its two-tone genus-mate Solanum dimidiatum (and compare this nine-hyphens-in-three-noun-phrases sentence to any you or I have written recently). This time most of the spines you might otherwise see are hidden under the flower, but I count three shadowy ones reaching out like a would-be claw beneath the juncture of the two closest petals, and there’s another spine on the stem below that. On the other hand, perhaps you’re saying to yourself: who cares about counting spines when I’ve got those crazy curvy little banana-like stamens to look at?

Today’s photograph, like the previous one, is from the same July 23rd outing along Muir Lake Trail in Cedar Park that brought you the recent picture of a damselfly with hangers-on.

Yesterday Charlie@SeattleTrekker asked about the seeds of this species. I haven’t posted a picture of the seeds per se, but here’s one that shows a spent seed capsule and its entourage of spines.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 12, 2015 at 5:19 AM

16 Responses

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  1. This is one I’m happy not to have seen around here, given those spines!


    September 12, 2015 at 5:21 AM

  2. These stamens look more like chillies. But banana-like or chilli-like we still can’t eat them, so I will admire them instead.


    September 12, 2015 at 6:22 AM

  3. Ouch-poor buffalo!


    September 12, 2015 at 9:04 AM

    • I wonder whether a buffalo’s hide and hair offered enough protection against these burs for the animal not to feel them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 12, 2015 at 9:13 AM

      • I think they do have pretty tough hides, but still! We have several types of burrs here,and I’ve seen them work their way into the fur of dogs and into the skin, creating some pretty bad sores.


        September 12, 2015 at 9:21 AM

  4. Very sensual, Steve. I almost see gentle movement in this one.

    Sammy D.

    September 12, 2015 at 9:59 AM

    • I see how the curved and multiply curved stamens could imply movement. As for sensuality, it’s often present in flowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 12, 2015 at 1:53 PM

  5. I remember that photo of the seed capsule. It looks just as lethal today as it did then. I’ve always thought of grass burs when I hear phrases like, “He’s got a bur under his saddle,” but this one could turn any horse into a bucking bronco.

    Anyone who ran into a patch of these would be singing, “Buffalo burs, won’t you come out tonight?”


    September 12, 2015 at 6:08 PM

    • That photo may look lethal, but the truth is that I’ve often gotten poked by grass burs but rarely by buffalo burs. I’ll have to see about showing a grass bur picture, of which I’ve taken a good number, in here one of these days. I could definitely sing about getting grass burs to come out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 12, 2015 at 7:19 PM

  6. I wouldn’t want to run into a thicket of these any more than that of raspberries which our yard has too many with little fruit to show for the trouble. The flowers, however, would be a welcomed addition. I haven’t seen them here yet, but I have seen Solanum carolinense which have their own little daggers to contend with.

    Steve Gingold

    September 13, 2015 at 4:58 AM

    • These don’t seem to grow in dense thickets the way blackberries and raspberries do, although a colony of buffalo bur plants with yellow flowers packed close together would make for an appealing sight. And unlike blackberries and raspberries, buffalo bur fruits are poisonous.

      I see from the USDA map that Solanum carolinense makes it into east Texas and comes westward as close to Austin as two counties away, so perhaps one day I’ll see it on an outing to the east. By far the most common Solanum species in Austin is elaeagnfolium, which I see practically every day when I wait at a traffic light alongside the US 183 freeway about a mile and half from home.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 13, 2015 at 7:17 AM

  7. Thanks for the shout-out Steve that was very thoughtful…I really appreciate the time and effort you put into your posts, I learn a lot, I enjoy them.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    September 13, 2015 at 6:36 PM

    • I keep learning a lot too, Charlie. Taking all these photographs and saying something about them is time-consuming, no question, but that’s what time exists for.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 13, 2015 at 7:00 PM

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