Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Firewheel fading

with 6 comments

Firewheel Going to Seed with Dangling Ray 7448

Every spring you’ve seen pictures here of Gaillardia pulchella, the colorful wildflower called firewheel, Indian blanket, and blanket flower. One flower head* of that species provided background color in the photograph you saw last time. A firewheel’s flower heads are also appealing when they fade, as this one was doing on June 8th, 2015, along the Smith Memorial Trail. Of particular interest to me was the withered ray flower* that had fallen, had gotten caught on a bract—I think with the help of some spider silk—and was slowly spinning even in the slight noontime breeze. Oh, just try and stop that swirling: it will send your mind a-whirling.

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* If you’d like to review the meanings of the related terms disk flower, ray flower, and flower head, you’re welcome to turn back to a post from 2014.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 9, 2016 at 5:12 AM

6 Responses

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  1. Beautiful.


    June 9, 2016 at 5:30 AM

    • Images of faded flowers are a hard sell for many people, so I’m glad you find this one beautiful.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 9, 2016 at 6:17 PM

  2. The last time I was at the Galveston cemetery, the firewheels that supplanted the coreopsis had begun to fade, as grasses grew tall and began to overtake the wildflower displays. The mix of blooming and fading flowers was delightful. Unfortunately, our flooding affected Galveston, too, and I didn’t make it back last weekend. Your photo reminds me that I should try to get down there once more, crossing my fingers that the mowing hasn’t yet begun.

    What I didn’t know until recently is that the Broadway “cemetery” actually is a complex of seven cemeteries. Five of them allow the wildflowers to bloom, while two do not. Why those two prefer to keep the flowers at bay, I don’t yet know, but I’ve never seen a better contrast between “neat and tidy” and “rich and profuse” in my life.


    June 9, 2016 at 6:25 AM

    • I knew about the complex of cemeteries, though I didn’t know (or have forgotten) how many components there are. What’s unusual is how many of the seven allow the wildflowers to prevail. Hooray for the five!

      I do hope the rain that kept you away kept the mowers away too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 9, 2016 at 9:23 PM

  3. Great detail and color, Steven.


    June 9, 2016 at 6:34 AM

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