Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Closer and closer looks at poverty weed

with 14 comments

Again from November 4th and the same part of the greenbelt adjacent to Great Hills Park as yesterday’s view of a densely fluffy poverty weed bush, here’s a closer look at the tufts on a female Baccharis neglecta. In the lower left portion of the image the little seed bundles still hold their fibers mostly parallel, while elsewhere those fibers are losing their alignment and loosening up, soon to be breeze-blown, wind-wafted, later land-linked and root-ready.

Poverty Weed Tufts 8796

And here’s an even closer look, this time at two back-to-back tufts. In the one on the right, the fibers were seemingly still sodden from recent rain.

Two Poverty Weed Tufts 8809

They say that seeing is believing, but most people who see one of these bushes or small trees wouldn’t believe it’s in the same botanical family as sunflowers. It is.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 17, 2015 at 6:10 AM

14 Responses

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  1. Tus fotos son una maravilla, la segunda me parece fantástica. Gracias.

    Isabel F. Bernaldo de Quirós

    November 17, 2015 at 9:23 AM

  2. The second shot is most adorable with an added sense of humor, it might be only my vision playing with my senses but that’s how I perceived it!. I had no idea it’s called tufts, I have no botanical IQ left in me I can count on you! Thanks for sharing this wonderful little treasure!

    marksshoesbyevamarks

    November 17, 2015 at 4:07 PM

  3. Looks like an aster tuft, through I’ve not seen them in glorious bunches like this. Love the second image in particular.

    tomwhelan

    November 17, 2015 at 8:34 PM

    • You’re right that poverty weed tufts, strands, and fluff come in greater density and on a larger scale than the equivalent things in their distant relatives, the asters. One reason is that poverty weed grows as a bush or modest tree, while asters are forbs.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 17, 2015 at 8:55 PM

      • The asters that I see locally (such as heath asters) are bushy plants, waist or shoulder high, with clusters of flowers. Not as big as your plant. Nice closeup subjects, though.

        tomwhelan

        November 23, 2015 at 4:54 PM

        • I should have spoken more carefully. As you pointed out, some asters do indeed grow as bushes, and we have at least a couple of species here like that, but I was thinking of the low ones in my picture.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 23, 2015 at 9:38 PM

  4. “In the lower left portion of the image the little seed bundles still hold their fibers mostly parallel, while elsewhere those fibers are losing their alignment and loosening up, soon to be breeze-blown, wind-wafted, later land-linked and root-ready.”
    Transplendent writing, Steve.

    Steve Gingold

    November 18, 2015 at 4:25 AM

  5. “…elsewhere those fibers are losing their alignment and loosening up, soon to be breeze-blown, wind-wafted, later land-linked and root-ready.” Like Steve, I loved that line, except that it doesn’t tell the whole story. I noticed on Monday that the wind-wafting has begun. Unfortunately, many of those fibers became varnish-linked. No roots for them.

    I suppose the good news is that, this year, I recognized them for what they were, and didn’t wonder where all the dandelion fluff came from.

    shoreacres

    November 18, 2015 at 6:21 AM

    • I didn’t want anyone to say I wasn’t telling the unvarnished truth. In writing that, though, I might be leaving myself open to charges of being too negative.

      Let the wind-wafting begin! May all your fluff at least be native.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 18, 2015 at 7:42 AM

  6. I sure wouldn’t have thought “sunflower” without your prompt! I enjoyed seeing poverty weed up close . . . and yet closer, too.

    Susan Scheid

    November 19, 2015 at 8:06 AM

    • The sunflower family is so large and diverse that botanists split it up into tribes. Even across tribes, each member species generally has two kinds of flowers, ray flowers and disk flowers. In any case, I’m glad to see that poverty weed produced no poverty of appreciation in you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 19, 2015 at 8:43 PM


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