Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Two closer looks

with 13 comments

Here you have two closer looks than last time at Baccharis neglecta, a shrub or slender tree known as poverty weed, which in the fall produces no poverty of fluff.

The yellow in the background of the second picture came from Maximilian sunflowers, Helianthus maximiliani, and goldenrod, Solidago spp. Notice the characteristic herringbone pattern of the small branches.

I took these photographs in a “vacant” lot on the west side of Grand Avenue Parkway north of Royston Ln. on October 12. If this is a vacancy, no one need apply to fill it.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 18, 2017 at 4:52 AM

13 Responses

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  1. Beautiful.

    Sisir Ghosh

    November 18, 2017 at 5:44 AM

  2. You would not expect something with a name like that to be beautiful but it’s very nice. I looked it up and realize that it reminds me a bit of an ornamental shrub broom, that one of my grandmothers had in her yard, A distant relative I guess.
    I also like the scientific name. It is probably not the same root, I know that’s one of your interests, but the name suggests to me A neglected bacchanalian, sleeping it off in the vacant lot.
    I read the Wikipedia entry about this plant, right up to the point when it described “necrosis in the gastrointestinal tract of cattle” and I haven’t had breakfast yet.

    Robert Parker

    November 18, 2017 at 8:18 AM

    • An authoritative reference book says that Baccharis was based on Bacchus but doesn’t explain what connection the namer of the genus imagined. I think the neglecta could well reflect the fact that this species readily colonizes pieces of ground that people have used and neglected. That was true of abandoned farms during the 1930s, when poverty weed also went by the names Depression weed, New Deal weed, and Roosevelt weed. The picture at


      showed a large colony of poverty weed that had sprung up on land normally underwater because of a dam but that had temporarily reappeared during a drought.

      I certainly wouldn’t want to try eating any part of a poverty weed plant.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 18, 2017 at 8:53 AM

      • It looks very nice mixed with those bluebonnets.
        Well, if that’s “New Deal Weed,” I guess next spring we might expect a bumper crop of skunk cabbage in the marshes around here. Symplocarpus foetidus

        Robert Parker

        November 18, 2017 at 3:20 PM

        • Yes, the mixture of dense bluebonnets and dense poverty weed plants was a great find.

          I’ve heard of skunk cabbage but have yet to see any (unless I inadvertently did when I was growing up in New York). Can’t say I’m eager to smell any, though.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 18, 2017 at 4:54 PM

  3. That is an interesting name- poverty weed!! 🙂


    November 18, 2017 at 10:04 AM

    • If you check my reply to the comment before yours, you’ll find out how that name and alternate names for the plant are connected to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 18, 2017 at 10:35 AM

  4. It’s beautiful. Whether I’ll see any this weekend is uncertain, but I’ve already spotted some old man’s beard, which is just as blowsy and appealing. Right now, it’s 31 degrees in the hills west of Kerrville, and I’m off to hunt for ribbons of ice. There’s already been a freeze or two, but you never know.


    November 19, 2017 at 6:49 AM

    • Well, 31 is a prime number and you’re primed to find some ribbons of ice. May you succeed with that and with poverty weed as well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 19, 2017 at 6:57 AM

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