Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A floral new year

with 28 comments

Mexican Hat Flower Head Caught on Another 1501

On my way home from a store on January 2nd I noticed that some fresh Mexican hats, Ratibida columnifera, had sprung up in the median of Morado Circle.* I came back a little later with my camera and, although the day was cool and overcast, took my first pictures for 2016. Leave it to yellow to bring cheer to a fellow, especially when there’s a double dose in the form of two flower heads caught on each other. Mutual captures like this aren’t uncommon and the wind usually resolves them, just as it often causes them in the first place.


* Morado Circle has roughly the shape of the letter C, so it’s not a circle or a loop, but I guess a road named Morado C would have baffled people.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 16, 2016 at 5:21 AM

28 Responses

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  1. No Mexican hats snuggling here. It is 10˚F. Sunday, it won’t rise above 0˚.

    Do you think these entanglements aid their pollination?

    Jim Ruebush

    January 16, 2016 at 7:04 AM

    • That’s an interesting question about pollination, one that never occurred to me. My recollection, uncertain after two weeks, is that both flower heads were from the same plant, so pollination wouldn’t have been desirable (if I understand such things). What I can say is that at the stage shown here, the disk flowers hadn’t yet appeared on the “thimble,” so no pollination could take place. The much larger ray flowers, which are yellow and reddish brown, are infertile in this species. Even if the disk flowers had appeared by then on both “thimbles,” the infertile ray flowers would have kept them apart.

      Given your latitude and the calendar, 10°F seems par for the course. Down here, I was out walking under blue skies and 70° yesterday. The high today is forecast to be “only” 60°.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 16, 2016 at 7:24 AM

  2. Beautiful flower


    January 16, 2016 at 8:16 AM

  3. That is often the way, isn’t it~the very things that cause tangles in life will also resolve them if we are patient.


    January 16, 2016 at 8:30 AM

  4. very beautiful photo, Steve


    January 16, 2016 at 11:14 AM

  5. How beautiful!


    January 16, 2016 at 7:16 PM

  6. really beautiful.


    January 16, 2016 at 11:37 PM

  7. When I saw this delightful capture, I was taken directly back to grade school, where competitions were common. One of the simplest involved hooking forefingers, and pulling. The person whose finger straightened and slipped first was the loser. Arm wrestling and rocks-paper-scissors came a little later.

    I found two Mexican hats in the cemetery next to Presidio La Bahia last November. One was brand new, without ray or disk flowers, but the other had its rays and about half of its disks. What made me go back and look at my photo was the color of these rays. Mine were substantially more red — a nice reminder of the variation that can exist even within a species.


    January 17, 2016 at 9:45 AM

    • That capture is a good double entendre. Your mention of childhood pastimes reminded me of one we had on Long Island, where a European species of Plantago was common in people’s lawns. We kids would tear a stalk off at the base, make a loop around the seed head with the middle portion of the wiry stalk, then pull hard and fast to tear the head off and shoot it as far as possible.

      As you noted, the shades of yellow and reddish brown in this species, and the proportions of the two colors, vary a lot in this species.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 17, 2016 at 9:58 AM

  8. Doesn’t yellow do just that! Love the dab of red. I haven’t seen Mexican hats before 😊


    January 17, 2016 at 12:05 PM

    • If you lived in Texas you’d see them in many, many places. They’re at their densest in the late spring, but at least a few can be found till the first freeze. They’re so common that some people think of them as weeds, but obviously not I. The amount of red varies from essentially none to quite a lot.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 17, 2016 at 1:22 PM

  9. Original y bellísima floración de Ratibida columnifera. Excelente foto.

  10. These are really pretty flowers


    January 17, 2016 at 9:34 PM

  11. A dress circle in a theatre is not a circle. Is Morado Circle in a dress circle part of town?


    January 17, 2016 at 10:00 PM

    • That’s a good observation. No, Morado Circle is in our neighborhood in northwest Austin. It’s a good 10 miles (16 km) from the central part of Austin where most of the theaters are.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 17, 2016 at 10:05 PM

      • But Morado Circle may imply that the street is very select with a dress circle view? In Christchurch that shape of street would be named a Crescent.


        January 17, 2016 at 10:11 PM

        • Streets like that are sometimes named Such-and-Such Crescent here too.

          I can’t say that Morado Circle is select in a social sense, and the road offers no grand vistas, but a select portion of it has provided me with many nature pictures in the going-on-12 years that we’ve lived in this neighborhood, as has a right-of-way that intersects the western arc of the C.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 17, 2016 at 10:30 PM

  12. I must be in an imaginative mood today. When I viewed this image, my first thoughts were, “Bound by love and beauty,” It made me think of a couple embracing even though they are simply flowers tangled by the wind. Yes, given time many problems in life just resolve by themselves. Others require direct action or at least a little nudge. That’s what I enjoy about photography and other forms of art. You never know how a person will be affected by the image. I appreciate your photography partly because I never know what thoughts it will spark. 🙂


    January 23, 2016 at 12:33 AM

    • “Bound by love and beauty” is an excellent phrase, one that could serve as part of a line of poetry or as the title of an essay or book. You should use it for something, given that it sprang from your imagination.

      When to act and when to wait for things to resolve themselves: now there’s a quandary. How often (or seldom!) do we make the right choice?

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 23, 2016 at 6:37 PM

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