Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Two blackfoot daisies

with 12 comments


When I walked the trail you heard about last time through woods and meadows along the upper reaches of Bull Creek on September 12th, I saw that the blackfoot daises (Melampodium leucanthum), which have their first flourishing in the spring, were going at it again in goodly numbers. Here you see two of them in a fringe where sunshine and shadows met.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 20, 2016 at 4:55 AM

12 Responses

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  1. A painterly pair of perfect pretties!


    September 20, 2016 at 1:05 PM

  2. On my first trip by boat through a Louisiana cypress swamp, I kept thinking about the way sunshine and shadows intertwined. These hardly are swamp plants, but the interplay of light and shadow is remarkably similar: a little mysterious, and perfectly beautiful.

    I wondered if ‘blackfoot’ referred to the Indian tribe. I found a different explanation on a Texas Parks and Wildlife page, where they said, “If you look on the underside of each of the white ray flowers you will see a small, foot-shaped bract (or reduced leaf) that turns black when mature. It’s a surefire way to identify this little beauty.”


    September 20, 2016 at 5:28 PM

    • The explanation I’ve heard for the name blackfoot is that the roots of this species are dark. I’ve never dug one up, but it would be easy enough to do and see if that supposed explanation is true. As for the other explanation, I have seen these flowers turn black as they age but haven’t paid attention to whether those black parts are shaped like a foot. I could check that too. Multiple causation sometimes happens, so it’s conceivable that both explanations are correct.

      In Austin, nothing else looks a lot like a blackfoot daisy, so people here probably don’t need the blackness as a criterion for identification. There’s something to be said for the gestalt of this plant.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 20, 2016 at 7:47 PM

  3. Well controlled whites with a bit of spotlight to help the background recede.

    Steve Gingold

    September 21, 2016 at 3:44 AM

    • Leave it to a good photographer to notice the control of the whites. I was fortunate to find two such pristine specimens together.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 21, 2016 at 8:19 AM

  4. This photo is delightful. I can’t help but smile at these two.


    October 11, 2016 at 8:02 AM

    • I was taken with how pristine both flower heads were.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 11, 2016 at 8:05 AM

      • I was too. At a time of the year when everything seems to look a little shopworn, here these flowers were, looking fresh as daisies. ahem.


        October 11, 2016 at 8:21 AM

        • That’s a good one: fresh as daisies.

          This far south we’ve been having our second-busiest floral season. Hooray!

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 11, 2016 at 8:40 AM

          • Yes hooray! We’ve been hearing frogs again, up here. Wonder what they know. I hear the Earth’s axis is shifting. Maybe Illinois is heading for the new tropics 🙂


            October 12, 2016 at 8:15 AM

            • If Illinois, with all its political corruption, ends up in the tropics, it’ll fit right in as a new banana republic.

              Steve Schwartzman

              October 12, 2016 at 9:17 AM

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