Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

What the yellow might have been

with 12 comments

Tansy Mustard Flowering 9674

Click for greater clarity.

I no longer remember what the yellow wildflowers in the background of yesterday’s first picture were, but they could well have been tansy mustard, Descurainia pinnata, which was present in goodly numbers in that field. In fact I don’t often come across this species, and I saw more of it there that morning of March 25 than I think I’d ever seen anywhere or anywhen* else.

* Standard modern English allows anywhere and anyhow but arbitrarily rejects anywho, anywhat, anywhy, anywhen and anywhich (which as separate words has appeared in the film title “Any Which Way You Can”).

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 15, 2016 at 4:53 AM

12 Responses

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  1. Anywhen works for me and, in support, I will try to use it in the future…just added it to the Windows dictionary. Speaking of that occasionally useful thing, In another comment I just misspelled “beter” and the correcting function suggested half a dozen words, not a one of which was “better”.

    More importantly, this is a fine image of a lovely flower head. We have several mustards here but none as pretty as this.

    Steve Gingold

    May 15, 2016 at 6:25 AM

    • It’s good to hear you’ll use anywhen anywhen you feel like using it. As for your spell-check, it seems to have suggested anything it felt like for beter except the correct word better.

      More important, as you said, is the mustard, which in this view keeps giving me the impression of light shining in the dark.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 15, 2016 at 7:15 AM

  2. My first thought was of the gall-bearing goldenrod I found last year; the buds are shaped remarkably like those little round galls. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this green in such a scene, but avocado it is, and it’s very striking.

    I can’t remember now which of my friends or acquaintances uses “anywho,” but someone does: and regularly. She uses it not to refer to any person, but as what I presume is a tongue-in-cheek substitution for “anyhow.”


    May 15, 2016 at 6:38 AM

    • One thing this mustard has in common with goldenrod (especially with tall goldenrod, Solidago altissima), is its erect posture. As for color, I ended up with three groups of pictures of tansy mustard. In one group the background was the green you see here. In another, taken on different soil, the background was a pale salmony tan. The third group, taken from the ground, showed the plant against the clear blue sky. I vacillated between the first two groups as the source for the post’s image.

      I. too, have heard anywho (also spelled anyhoo) as a jocular substitute for anyhow. It suddenly occurred to me now that quirks of English spelling have made who and how anagrams. The relationship is even better because the words are cyclical anagrams: move the w of who to the end of the word and you get how.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 15, 2016 at 8:04 AM

  3. It seems there was a movie titled Any Which Way But Loose. Anywho, that’s what I recall. Too early to think of anywhat else.

    Jim Ruebush

    May 15, 2016 at 7:01 AM

    • In preparing this post I’d had the same impression as you about that movie, but when I looked it up I found its name was “Every Which Way But Loose.” If you think of anywhat else later in the day, let us know.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 15, 2016 at 8:09 AM

  4. It is unfortunate that this native plant looks so much like the invasive Rapistrum rugosum, known in Texas as bastard cabbage. I am not sure if I would be able to tell them apart.

    Lloyd Ewing

    May 15, 2016 at 10:00 AM

    • I think you’d be able to tell them apart. The native mustard is slender and more delicate than the invasive one. In person I’ve never had any trouble distinguishing the two. Unfortunately we all see a lot more of the alien one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 15, 2016 at 10:32 AM

  5. There is also anyway, which is joined with two of its cousins in the classic 1965 song from The Who “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere.”


    May 15, 2016 at 6:13 PM

    • There is indeed anyway. The reason I didn’t include it is that way is a noun and can’t be made to fit in with the interrogative pronouns who?, what?, where?, when?, why?, how?

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 15, 2016 at 9:59 PM

  6. Thanks for pointing out the difference between Tansy Mustard and Bastard Cabbage…there is so much of the latter in the area that I have been overlooking the former.

    Tom Lebsack

    May 20, 2016 at 7:04 AM

    • You’re welcome. I’ve rarely found tansy mustard, and only in only two areas. One is along and close to US 183 in east Austin, including the field on Clovis St. (a street that runs for just one block). The other place was TX 29 a little east of Burnet. I wish the frequencies of the two plants were reversed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2016 at 8:03 AM

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