Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Least but not last

with 8 comments

Leastdaisy Colony with Four-Nerve Daisies 4368

Here’s a native plant you’ve not seen in these pages till now: Chaetopappa bellidifolia, apparently known as dwarf white aster and white-ray least daisy. I say apparently because I’ve never heard anyone mention these tiny members of the sunflower family. They’re so small that the rays on each daisy are only 2 to 3 millimeters long. The yellow four-nerve daisies (Tetraneuris linearifolia) in their midst, already on the smallish side, look large by comparison. As you can see, here at least the least daisies make up for their diminutive size with their large numbers. This photograph is from along Yaupon Dr. in my Great Hills neighborhood in Austin on May 11. The rocky ground is typical of the Texas Hill Country.

If that stars-in-the-sky view of least daisies left you with at least some desire to see an individual Chaetopappa flower head, here’s one I photographed in Bastrop County on April 12, 2010.

Least Daisy Flower Head 3773

Note: I’m away from home and will be for some time. Please understand if I’m late replying to your comments.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 3, 2016 at 5:11 AM

8 Responses

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  1. The least is no less a beauty for all its leastness.


    June 3, 2016 at 6:09 AM

    • When I searched the Internet for leastness I got relatively few hits, but at least I got some, including this one from Wikipedia: ‘(chiefly mathematics) The quality of being least.’

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 3, 2016 at 6:27 AM

  2. Thanks for the microscape of the dwarf white asters. I like the slight tinge of purple along the outside of the petals in the picture of the individual flowers. Will now keep an eye open for them – plenty of Tentraneuris species specimens and rocky terrain in the neighborhood, so there’s bound to be some Chaetopappa bellidifolia around as well,. Enjoy your trip away from Austin.


    June 4, 2016 at 10:43 AM

    • You’re welcome for the “microscape.” I’m with you in liking the tinge of the rays. In the first picture the faint tinge gives the colony a very pale blue cast, and that’s what made me think of stars.

      Saw and photographed some wildflowers on the prairie in Missouri today.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2016 at 10:38 PM

  3. I am not sure that I would have guessed that there were flowers amongst all the four-nerve daisies and might have taken the hints of white for slight glare on shiny leaves. Your close up is a great example of why we should look closely. Even the smallest flowers have a great deal of detail and beauty to them.

    Steve Gingold

    June 4, 2016 at 4:35 PM

    • Because I knew all those least daisies were there, I wouldn’t have imagined someone not seeing them as flowers, but of course your impression is justifiable. These flowers are so small and close to the ground that they’re hard to photograph, as you can appreciate.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 4, 2016 at 10:43 PM

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