Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Do you see it?

with 49 comments

Here from my neighborhood on October 21st are some buds and flowers of Ageratina havanensis, known as shrubby boneset, white mistflower, and Havana snakeroot.

Did you notice the little visitor?

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 25, 2017 at 4:43 AM

49 Responses

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  1. Rather well camouflaged – but, yes.


    November 25, 2017 at 5:14 AM

  2. Is it some kind of shield bug?

    Mike Powell

    November 25, 2017 at 5:33 AM

  3. One little visitor, or two little visitors? There is a little lady bug-like red spot on the flower, too.


    November 25, 2017 at 6:17 AM

    • What good eyes you have. Something is there all right, but I’m not sure what it is:

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 25, 2017 at 8:00 AM

      • The red part seems ladybuggish, all right, including the little black area at the left with three white dots on it. I don’t know what to make of the much larger black area.

        Steve Schwartzman

        November 25, 2017 at 8:23 AM

      • I couldn’t enlarge the photo enough to figure out the mystery mark.


        November 25, 2017 at 6:57 PM

        • Did the enlarged excerpt that I included in my first reply to your comment show up okay?

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 25, 2017 at 11:21 PM

          • I didn’t see it in my notifications but I can see it here. But it’s still hard to figure out what it may be. Tempting to say a squashed lady bug!


            November 25, 2017 at 11:41 PM

  4. I see him too. Downright buggy down there, isn’t it? 🙂


    November 25, 2017 at 7:30 AM

    • This species attracts lots of insects, no question about it. If you look back at my reply to Gallivanta you’ll find an enlargement of the tiny red spot she noticed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 25, 2017 at 8:04 AM

      • We’re enjoying warm temperatures here, with a whole week in the 60’s predicted. And I am seeing some insects out and about again, including a lady bug.


        November 26, 2017 at 9:40 AM

        • Happy warm, as Eve might say.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 26, 2017 at 10:28 AM

          • Oh yes, happy warm. Pete hasn’t needed his little sweater when I take him out on walks. Which is a shame, really, because it is so cute I can hardly stand it.


            November 27, 2017 at 5:06 PM

  5. I had no idea how widely-spread this plant could be, or how attractive to butterflies, until my trip to the hill country last weekend. It was covering the limestone cliffs along the “mountainous” regions of Texas 16 between Kerrville and Medina, and FM 337 between Medina and Vanderpool. The books that say it enjoys limestone soil certainly are right. It’s interesting that I didn’t see any boneset at all on the Willow City loop.

    Yours is fresher than most of what I saw, and you’ve captured that lovely pink blush. It’s certainly earned a place on my list of fall favorites.


    November 25, 2017 at 7:42 AM

    • Yes, it’s a great insect magnet all right. The eastern edge of our neighborhood lies along the eastern boundary of the Edwards Plateau. Our house is one mile into the hill country. The bush in today’s photograph grows by the side of the road leading east out of the neighborhood, so I see it practically every day and know when to go photograph it. It looked fresh here on October 21st, well before your recent trip, so I’m not surprised the specimens you found weren’t as lively. On the other hand, the bush in my neighborhood went through a second round of flowering after we had some rain a couple of weeks ago, and where you were is generally a little cooler than Austin, so it seems you could’ve seen more fresh specimens than you did. I’m glad you got familiar with this fall-flowering species.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 25, 2017 at 8:19 AM

    • In preparing a reply to Robert Parker, below, I found that the USDA map marks common boneset, Eupatorium perfoliatum, for Harris County, so you might well get to see it, perhaps still this year. The boneset in my picture used to be classified as a Eupatorium before getting moved to Ageratina.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 25, 2017 at 8:39 AM

      • These plants are another great example of the importance of scientific names (even when they change). I’d not quite sorted out that the two “white bonesets” I’ve seen actually are different plants. It’s interesting that the Tvetens don’t list common boneset. Instead, they list E. serotinum, aka “late eupatorium” or “late-flowering thoroughwort.” When I started prowling around, I found some people calling that one “white boneset,” too.


        November 25, 2017 at 10:56 PM

        • Another great example, indeed, even given the way scientific names keep changing in the era of DNA analysis. Of the three Eupatorium species included in Enquist, E. serotinum is the only one that has remained a Eupatorium. To me, it has the least showy flowers of the three.

          As for why the Tvetens didn’t include common boneset, I don’t know specifically, except that no popular book can include everything that’s out there.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 25, 2017 at 11:15 PM

  6. Yes…on top of the world…..er…I mean, pretty inflorescence 🙂


    November 25, 2017 at 7:55 AM

    • You’re right in pointing out it’s on top of the little world of this inflorescence. Well said.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 25, 2017 at 8:21 AM

  7. Very nice bloom! much prettier than the common boneset that grows in NY, which is smaller and fuzzier.

    Robert Parker

    November 25, 2017 at 8:21 AM

    • You’ve heard the boast that Texans say:
      Texas does things in a big, big way.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 25, 2017 at 8:25 AM

    • I looked up common boneset, Eupatorium perfoliatum, and found that it grows across most of the eastern United States. I noticed from the map at


      that is grows as close to Austin as two counties to the east, so perhaps I’ll see it there one of these autumns. As a child on Long Island I might already have seen it without paying attention.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 25, 2017 at 8:33 AM

      • One of my grandmothers had an herb garden, and always had a clump, but I don’t think she ever really used it for anything. Supposed to be, like so many things, a cold remedy.

        Robert Parker

        November 25, 2017 at 8:35 AM

  8. Our Lost Pines Master Naturalist bio-census group has encountered much A. havanensis at McKinney Roughs Nature Park in Bastrop County, especially on the Bluff Loop Trail.


    November 25, 2017 at 9:10 AM

    • That’s good to hear because the USDA map at


      doesn’t mark Bastrop County for Ageratina havanensis. Maybe your group can report this to the USDA so the map can get updated.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 25, 2017 at 9:35 AM

      • Myself and another member have a long term project of reporting “found” species to the Biota of North America program. By “found”. I mean in person or thru on-line herbaria. BONAP believes that every county has at least 500 plant species. We’ve updated at least 36 Texas counties. A very few have made it to the 500 count. We are concentrating on counties currently with 300 or fewer species. Bastrop was the first one we did about 3-4 years ago. Unfortunately, I have not updated our county with new finds. Need to do that one of these days! Count for Bastrop County is around 1300 species now. Judy


        November 25, 2017 at 5:32 PM

        • I’m happy to hear about the great project you’re engaged in and the results it has achieved so far. I know when I go to Bastrop County I see things I’m not familiar with from the Austin area. It’s partly like being in a foreign land.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 25, 2017 at 9:00 PM

  9. In the enlargement it almost looks like a spider, with those big black forelegs..


    November 26, 2017 at 9:42 AM

  10. Shield bug? In its summer outfit. 🙂


    November 26, 2017 at 12:51 PM

    • The best I’ve managed to get so far from bugguide.net is that this bug is in the family Miridae, whose members are referred to by various common names, including plant bugs, leaf bugs, and grass bugs.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 26, 2017 at 3:04 PM

  11. The other thing is probably a ladybird (ladybug) that’s lost part of itself to the shieldbug as part of its dinner…


    November 26, 2017 at 1:12 PM

    • I inserted an enlargement of the other thing into a comment that I left in reply to Gallivanta, above. Depending on how you came to leave your comment, you might not have seen the enlargement (as she didn’t initially). If not, check it out and see what you think.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 26, 2017 at 3:10 PM

      • Mm… still looks like someone’s messy dinner.


        November 26, 2017 at 7:21 PM

  12. Bugs are the bonus of flower photography. I still think of your hover fly on yellow which brought me to your blog so long ago.

    I like the flowers, but I love the little guys!


    January 8, 2018 at 7:08 AM

    • Happy winter. Yes, I certainly get the impression from your blog that you love the little guys. I didn’t remember that it was a hover fly on yellow that brought you here a long time ago. It’s always fun when I get close to photograph a plant and discover—sometimes not till I’m already home and viewing pictures—one little critter or another that I hadn’t originally noticed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 8, 2018 at 8:51 AM

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