Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Sunflowers started coming out early this year

with 11 comments

Sunflower Flower Head in Colony 6062

Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) started coming out in April this year, but I didn’t spend any time with a group of them till May 29th. The colony shown here on that date was in the same place on the west side of Capital of Texas Highway that I’d found it the year before, adjacent to a seasonal stand selling peaches from Fredericksburg.

Sunflowers are always so cheery.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 25, 2016 at 5:00 AM

11 Responses

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  1. They sure are.


    June 25, 2016 at 8:53 AM

    • I drove past the same sunflower group this morning and found there are still plenty of flowers on the plants four weeks later. The cheer continues.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2016 at 11:36 AM

  2. Little sunshines.


    June 25, 2016 at 12:28 PM

  3. I hope you were able to get some of those Fredericksburg peaches this year. Our crop’s finished now, but the fig trees are loaded — lots of rain followed by lots of heat has made them remarkably sweet.

    I’ve been seeing sunflowers and sunflower look-alikes here since about mid-May. I finally figured out that one “sunflower” wasn’t a sunflower at all, but instead seems to be Silphium simpsonii. It’s yellow, composite, and cheerful as all get-out, but, as you know, it’s a separate genus in the Asteraceae. I still can’t figure out the tribes and sub-species business, but I’m not going to worry about that.

    What’s helped me appreciate taxonomy more than anything else I’ve read is this wholly entertaining article. It makes the apparent chaos in the field more understandable.


    June 25, 2016 at 2:08 PM

    • From what I’ve read, many people mistake plants in the genus Silphium for sunflowers, and it’s easy to understand why that happens. Silphium simpsonii grows in central Texas but so does Silphium radula. A local expert told me that the plants along Bull Creek are S. radula, and a sign at the Wildflower Center told me that a plant there was S. simpsonii, but on my own I don’t think I could tell the two species apart.

      We haven’t had any Fredericksburg peaches yet this season, but as of this morning the farm stand was still there, so maybe it’s time to indulge.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2016 at 2:20 PM

  4. Wonderful picture .. And they are such happy flowers. I grow them in my vege garden .. At the back of course! 😃


    June 25, 2016 at 7:05 PM

  5. Many plants appear confused as to when to bloom this year. Several flowers that I see in late spring have flowered recently in early summer and others just the opposite. The daisies were early and the mullein late.

    Steve Gingold

    June 28, 2016 at 4:25 AM

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