Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for February 12th, 2016

The best place I know for silverpuff

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Silverpuff Flower Head 3352

On the morning of February 2nd I went over to my local Costco because a few days earlier I’d noticed some silverpuff plants (Chaptalia texana) on a couple of the raised islands in the parking lot. (Presumably those islands were left to preserve trees when the land was leveled to build the store and make the parking lot.) As far as I can tell, nature does most of the tending of those raised plots, with the result that silverpuff has continued to prosper in its native haunt even if surrounded now by cars and commerce.

You may recall from reading posts here two or three years ago that this composite species produces long flower heads that tend not to open much, as you see here. You can also see from this latest picture that the specimens I photographed looked a little the worse for wear. That’s understandable if Marshall Enquist is correct about the typical bloom period being March through May. Ellen Schulz gives an earlier flowering period of late winter to early spring, but January, when these plants appeared, is still hardly late winter, and that month did bring us a few frosty mornings.

Because silverpuff plants are small and short, for many of the pictures I lay on a mat on the ground to do my work. (The store doesn’t open till 10:00 and I was there by 9:00, so although some cars drove past me in the parking lot there weren’t a lot of people to wonder what strange things I was doing.) The blue in the background is from patches of sky visible through the trees. The slightly cool cast of the picture as a whole comes from the fact that the silverpuff group was mostly in the shade of the trees.

On an unrelated matter, today marks the 207th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 12, 2016 at 5:11 AM

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