Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A double-headed Mexican hat

with 6 comments

I’d been keeping my eye on a stretch of median in Morado Circle in the Great Hills neighborhood of Austin where I live. At some point the median had been mowed, but now in the spring the vegetation was reasserting itself. A week ago I noticed some Mexican hat plants (Ratibida columnifera) coming up, and when I drove by on March 26th I saw that several were already flowering. The next day I went and sat myself down with them. The flower head shown here caught my attention and I took some pictures of it. Only when I went to look from the opposite side did I discover another central column jutting out at roughly a right angle to the one shown here. In other words, this was an unusual flower head, a twin. While I was still there I didn’t get the impression of fasciation, but in this photograph the stem does seem a little wide and flattened, so perhaps fasciation explains the doubling-up after all.

The two adjacent sets of ray flowers formed a broad collar that isolated one central column from the other. I looked from various angles but couldn’t find a good way to photograph the two columns together. In the end, just for the sake of documentation, I took the picture below.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 29, 2017 at 4:13 AM

6 Responses

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  1. That second photo’s so interesting. I’m glad you added it. In both photos, the abundance of ray flowers looks like the sort of ruffs worn by royalty or clowns. Given the colors, I’d vote for clown. What I’m not sure of is whether I’ll ever be able to read the word “fasciation” again without hearing this song.


    March 29, 2017 at 7:46 PM

    • As on other occasions, you’ve read my mind: I’d thought about using the word ruff.

      All you had to do is hint at a song in the same sentence in which you mentioned fasciation, and I knew what song you had in mind.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 29, 2017 at 8:46 PM

  2. Beautiful image .. so very unusual


    April 2, 2017 at 11:37 PM

  3. In the second photo it looks as though the hat wished to take a turn as a flamenco outfit.


    April 4, 2017 at 6:25 AM

    • In this case we can read your “take a turn” literally. I still wish I’d been able to take a turn with my camera in a way that showed more of both columns in a single view.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 4, 2017 at 8:43 AM

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