Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Euphorbia corollata

with 32 comments

Melissa Pierson: "When a little further along the little white flowers form a crown above the stem. Abundant at Illinois Beach, I don't find it anywhere else."

At Illinois Beach State Park on June 9th I found a flowering spurge plant, Euphorbia corollata. The species name is Latin for ‘having a small crown,’ and Melissa Pierson, who identified the species for me, noted that “when a little further along the little white flowers form a crown above the stem. Abundant at Illinois Beach, I don’t find it anywhere else.” Today’s photograph is a downward-looking view at one of those small white crowns, which was about a quarter of an inch across (6mm).

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 16, 2016 at 4:59 AM

32 Responses

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  1. The crowning glory; beautiful.


    August 16, 2016 at 6:16 AM

  2. The genus name gave me a hunch, which I found confirmed in the description you linked: “each flower has… 5 white petaloid bracts, and 5 green glandular appendages at the bases of these bracts.” When I took a look at our Euphorbia marginata, there were the tiny white bracts again, surrounded by pretty leaves. Then, I found the same for Euphorbia bicolor.

    Even better, I’ve found an answer to a question I asked myself recently when I discovered an abundance of not-yet-blooming, tall plants that seemed vaguely familiar. Seeing your photo, I’m sure the plants I found are one of our common euphorbias: snow-on-the-mountain or snow-on-the-prairie.


    August 16, 2016 at 7:39 AM

    • My familiarity with the two snow-on-the-s and other dwellers in the Euphorbia family led me to recognize this plant immediately as a member of that family, and fortunately when I later sent Melissa a couple of pictures she knew which species I’d found.

      The genus Euphorbia is enormous. Even if you allow for the splitting off of some 500 members into the genus Chamaesyce, a couple of thousand Euphorbia species remain.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2016 at 8:01 AM

  3. Isn’t that amazing? Not only numerous, is this tribe, but tough. Some members of this family you definitely do not want in your garden. This one, though, is a dainty addition dancing about under my trees.


    August 16, 2016 at 8:21 AM

    • Amazing indeed. I’ve read that in some parts of the world Euphorbia species are spiny and take on the ecological role that cacti do for us. In Austin we also have some of the dainty members, a couple of which have volunteered in our back yard from time to time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2016 at 8:27 AM

  4. How lovely the shapes and forms of the flower and the leaves blend together to create a magnificent image. Thank you for capturing the beauty of far-away lands and sharing them with us through the magic of photography. This is definitely museum quality work. Its delicate and temporal beauty will live on through time and space thanks to your photographic imaging. Congratulations on a job well done.

    Ariana Vincent

    August 16, 2016 at 8:54 AM

    • Thanks, Ariana. You’re always so complimentary. I was pleased that in addition to the white floral parts in the center I was able to get five out of the six leaf tips in focus, and with no smaller an aperture than f/5.6. I do think of many of these wildflower pictures as portraits.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2016 at 9:19 AM

  5. I want to “Like” what A. Vincent expresses. Beautiful portrait!


    August 16, 2016 at 11:04 AM

    • Thanks for your double “like,” once for Ariana’s comment and again for the portrait itself.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2016 at 11:06 AM

  6. I love this photo, good greens and a little off symmetry!

    jane tims

    August 16, 2016 at 3:54 PM

  7. The six long leaves are like fingers reaching out to pull me in–and they do!


    August 16, 2016 at 5:35 PM

  8. I’m not familiar with this little beauty .. Special image Steve


    August 17, 2016 at 1:39 AM

    • With a couple of thousand Euphorbia species in the world, Julie, there’s not much reason you’d have run across this little American one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 17, 2016 at 8:16 AM

  9. Lovely shot. I have a phobia about spurge. Many years ago I was at a customer’s home and saw some dainty and fine-leaved plants which I thought were quite attractive. Not familiar with gopher spurge (Euphorbia lathyris) at the time, I accepted the lady’s offer of a few. Serious mistake…to this day, they are still spreading and impossible to totally rid of if even the tiniest little remnant of root remained. Arrgghh.

    Steve Gingold

    August 17, 2016 at 5:39 AM

  10. Very nice shot, love it.


    August 17, 2016 at 3:16 PM

    • I originally edited this lighter, but I like the darkened-down version better.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 17, 2016 at 3:24 PM

      • I think darker is better.


        August 18, 2016 at 5:28 AM

        • I’ve sometimes quipped (to myself) that if you want to be accepted in the world of art photography, just print your pictures dark. In this case I’m with you in favoring the darker version.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 18, 2016 at 5:33 AM

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