Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

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Goldeneye Flowering in Fort Davis 9457

Although 400 miles west of home in the Trans-Pecos, I noticed a few old friends that also grow natively in Austin. Pecan and cottonwood and mesquite trees were among them, and so was Viguiera dentata, a bush known as goldeneye or sunflower goldeneye. Here you see one flowering on the grounds of the old Fort Davis on November 20. Thanks to Prof. Michael Powell of Sul Ross State University for confirming the identification.

Before leaving Austin for west Texas I’d noticed a few flowers on several goldeneye bushes in my Great Hills neighborhood, but nothing to write home (i.e. to you) about. Within a couple of weeks of my return, though, I found that some of the goldeneyes in northwest Austin were putting on a good show. Below is an example of one from Arboretum Blvd. late on the afternoon of December 4.

Goldeneye Densely Flowering 0660

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 16, 2015 at 4:40 AM

9 Responses

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  1. beautiful


    December 16, 2015 at 4:53 AM

  2. Indeed, they do bring cheer.

    Melissa Pierson

    December 16, 2015 at 8:30 AM

    • As I drove around the neighborhood this morning I still noticed some of these flowers, even if they’re not nearly as profuse as in the photograph from 12 days ago. Still cheerful, however.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 16, 2015 at 12:43 PM

  3. Truly gorgeous color, so appreciated this time of year in the more northern part of the country.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    December 17, 2015 at 1:29 AM

    • We don’t have a lot of wildflowers left now but we still have some. While driving two days ago I saw some sunflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 17, 2015 at 7:05 AM

  4. When I was cruising the countryside on Thanksgiving, I was surprised to find a half-dozen beautiful yellow species still blooming. They were sparse, but they were there. I recognized greenthread and broom, but I still haven’t identified the others. What I do know is that none was goldeneye, since none had that beautiful golden eye.

    Speaking of golden, I had a most interesting experience this week. There’s a large stand of aquatic grasses on the north side of the Kemah-Seabrook bridge. On Tuesday afternoon, in bright sunshine, the grasses were as gold as a wheatfield. Yesterday it was cloudy, and they appeared to be rusty-red and green. Today, it’s blue skies and sun again, so I’m eager to have another look, and see if it was the light making the difference, or whether they might actually have turned color overnight. Lesson: the “same” place isn’t always the same.


    December 17, 2015 at 8:37 AM

    • Your lesson of the same place not always being the same place is one that I learned early-on in my photography of native plants. After finding an excellent stand of flowering verbenas out near Lake Travis one spring, I went back to the spot at the same time the following year and found: nothing; not a single verbena flower in sight.

      Let’s see if the color of your aquatic grasses is intrinsic or due to the quality of the light, or possibly both.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 17, 2015 at 8:54 AM

  5. […] as Viguiera stenoloba, making it a genus-mate of the sunflower goldeneye, Viguiera dentata, that you saw recently. However, Prof. Michael Powell of Sul Ross State University in Alpine, who identified this […]

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