Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Maximilian in May!

with 9 comments

A Maximilian sunflower in May? Yes indeed, on May 5th in the fringe between Loop 360 and Arboretum Blvd., I found a bunch of Helianthus maximiliani plants, one of which had produced a bud that was beginning to open. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this kind of sunflower, let me explain that it normally doesn’t bloom here any earlier than late August, and primarily in September and October, so this specimen was quite a prodigy.

Maximilian Sunflower Bud Opening in May 3450

By the time of my return on May 11th, I found one flower head that had fully opened.

Maximilian Sunflower Flowering in May 4310

© Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 28, 2016 at 5:04 AM

9 Responses

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  1. Nice work, Steven.


    May 28, 2016 at 6:10 AM

  2. The times they are a-changin’.

    Steve Gingold

    May 28, 2016 at 2:58 PM

  3. The bud opened quite quickly then. Nice looking Maximilian.


    May 28, 2016 at 5:07 PM

    • I’ve never had day-after-day contact with one of these, so I don’t know how quickly a bud normally develops into a fully open flower head.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 28, 2016 at 5:14 PM

  4. I get such a kick out of the bud stage of these sunflowers. They always look a little disheveled to me: far less neat than the H. annuus. I looked at the few photos I have of Maximlians, and they’re all from October and November; I certainly would be surprised to see one now. It is amazing how brightly all of them shine on cloudy and gloomy days.


    May 29, 2016 at 7:26 AM

    • I get no kick from champagne.
      Mere alcohol doesn’t thrill me at all,
      So tell me why should it be true
      That Maximilian sunflower buds give a kick to you?

      (No doubt Cole Porter would have found a way to tighten up that last line.)

      The long, thin-fingered bracts surrounding a Maximilian sunflower bud do it for me. Such an out-of-season find does it for me too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 29, 2016 at 7:53 AM

  5. […] part of their traditional bloom period. Let me add that last year in my neighborhood I found one of these plants flowering on May 5th. Regardless of the season, Maximilian sunflowers always strike me as […]

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