Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 21 comments

Goldeneye Flower Head Opening with One Prominent Ray 0696

I’ve noticed a tendency in a few species of the composite family (Asteraceae) for flower heads to open asymmetrically. One such species is the Maximilian sunflower, and another is goldeneye (Viguiera dentata). Here’s a closeup of a goldeneye flower head showing how far advanced one ray flower was compared to all the others.

This photograph is from Arboretum Blvd. in Austin on December 4. The post’s title is a hybrid (English-Italian) takeoff on the classical Italian painting term chiaroscuro.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 4, 2016 at 5:22 AM

21 Responses

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  1. This is a brilliant capture! Absolutely loved it.


    January 4, 2016 at 6:55 AM

  2. Perfect title – and beautiful photo


    January 4, 2016 at 7:37 AM

    • When I first saw this from farther away, I assumed that all but one ray flower had already fallen off (it was December, after all).

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 4, 2016 at 7:41 AM

  3. It looks like the disc flowers are just getting started, too. I really like how you yellowscuro’d this image. 🙂


    January 4, 2016 at 8:35 AM

    • Good point: the disk flower adjacent to the open ray flower similarly seems to be the only disk flower that had opened.

      Your second sentence suddenly got me thinking that I could have gone all the way and made the purely Italian term gialloscuro. A search just now turned up plenty of hits for giallo scuro as two words with the meaning ‘dark yellow’:

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 4, 2016 at 9:11 AM

      • The words giallo scuro were just enough to evoke that yellow, herb-infused staple of 1950s and 1960s cocktail parties: Galliano. Perhaps this goldeneye had taken an extra nip of sunshine, and decided to flirt with the other flowers on the bush.


        January 4, 2016 at 6:52 PM

        • Galliano may have been “the golden liqueur that conquered America” but it never conquered this American; I can’t remember if I even heard of it back then.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 4, 2016 at 7:26 PM

      • That is pretty awesome.


        January 8, 2016 at 8:46 AM

        • Because of the repeated commenting on comments, I’m afraid I’ve lost the thread. Can you tell us what the “That” in “That is pretty awesome” refers to?

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 8, 2016 at 9:02 AM

          • Oh~I had to think a bit. It was in reference to the Yelloscuro, both the effect and the word you created for it, and the fact that a very similar word turned up in your google search. I think it is neat when that sort of thing happens. Sorry for my obscure comment. “That” wasn’t neat at all!


            January 11, 2016 at 9:23 AM

  4. Love the amazing detail and gorgeous rich color…What a wonderful way to start 2016.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    January 4, 2016 at 11:05 AM

    • I took pictures of this bush from farther back as well to show the many flowers on it, but there’s much to be gained by moving in for the details of one flower head. Even in this close view, though, you see ghosts of other goldeneye flower heads in the background boosting the overall color quotient. A happy yellow year to you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 4, 2016 at 11:50 AM

  5. Another fine word wangle…and image. The warmth is really appreciated today.

    Steve Gingold

    January 4, 2016 at 5:50 PM

    • I’d say word wangle is as good as yelloscuro.

      This yellow comes to you from a place that hasn’t yet had a freeze this winter.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 4, 2016 at 7:22 PM

  6. Wonderful image .. A great family!


    January 5, 2016 at 12:48 PM

  7. […] along US 183 in northwest Austin on January 12. I’ve mentioned that the flower heads of some members of the sunflower family tend to open asymmetrically, and here you’ve got another good […]

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