Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Engelmann daisy leaf

with 28 comments

One thing that distinguishes the Engelmann daisy, Engelmannia peristenia, from so many other yellow daisies is the plant’s leaves, both in their lobed shape and in their fuzzy texture. I photographed this backlit Engelmann daisy leaf on the vanishing prairie in Round Rock on April 8th.

Now it’s a month later and I’m still seeing Engelmann daisies around Austin.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 9, 2018 at 4:48 AM

28 Responses

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  1. Beautiful detail.


    May 9, 2018 at 6:04 AM

  2. This could be proof, if any were needed, that not only flowers are worthy of attention. It’s beautiful. Looking at the flowery chaos in your previous photos, it’s amazing that you were able to isolate a single leaf.

    I read last night that another name for Engelmann daisy is cut-leaf daisy. It’s easy to see why.


    May 9, 2018 at 6:41 AM

    • When I was getting interested in native plants I noticed that a few species had common names with “cut-leaf” in them. That has never jibed with my sense that that epithet ought to refer to something that has had straight cuts made in it. I know people cut curvy shapes out of cloth or cardboard, but I still have never gotten used to “cut-leaf” as a description for a lobed leaf, even one with lobes as deeply incised as this. To my mind, the difference is like a usage I’ve noticed in Filipino English, where people will say “His arm was cut” when they mean “His arm was cut off.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 9, 2018 at 8:06 AM

      • When I read “cut-leaf,” the first thing that came to mind was the paper folding-and-cutting projects we engaged in as children. We started with snowflakes, and then moved on to stylized chains of people, flowers, and leaves. When I saw this leaf, it confirmed my initial impulse to think of it in that way. While the actual leaf isn’t perfectly symmetrical, as a cut-out-of-paper leaf would be, it’s easy to envision replicating it with paper and scissors.

        Beyond that, the various meanings of “cut” are interesting. Someone could be cut from a team, or cut off at a bar, or cut off at the pass. There are cutting remarks, and film that lands on the cutting room floor. I’ve never thought about how expansively the phrases are used.


        May 9, 2018 at 10:00 PM

        • Now you’ve made me wonder whether the epithet “cut-leaf” as it’s applied to leaves of this kind came from an imagined resemblance to the type of cutouts you listed. If so, it’d be a case of nature imitating art.

          As for the many uses of cut, just look at the summary in the right-hand column at


          Steve Schwartzman

          May 10, 2018 at 6:56 AM

  3. Excellent close-up shot, Steve! A nice informative note. 🙂


    May 9, 2018 at 7:35 AM

  4. In the words of Mr. Spock. ‘Hm. fascinating.’


    May 9, 2018 at 8:03 PM

  5. Beautiful Steve!


    May 9, 2018 at 8:21 PM

    • Thanks, Maria. I’m pleased with this backlit portrait of a leaf. For me, the hints of flowers in the background are a plus.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 9, 2018 at 8:57 PM

      • Did you use flash here?


        May 9, 2018 at 8:58 PM

        • No, I didn’t. I avoid flash as much as possible and normally use it only when there’s so little light that it’s either use flash or give up on getting a picture.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 9, 2018 at 9:05 PM

          • Leaves often go unnoticed. This image is witness to how solemn they can be.


            May 9, 2018 at 9:18 PM

            • That leaves me no choice but to add that the fuzzy leaves of the Engelmann daisy are enjoyable to touch.

              Steve Schwartzman

              May 10, 2018 at 7:02 AM

  6. Lovely portrait!!!!!


    May 10, 2018 at 11:45 AM

    • Thanks, Sally. I think that’s the greatest number of exclamation marks a picture has ever received here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 10, 2018 at 11:58 AM

  7. Absolutely gorgeous.

    Judy Baumann

    May 11, 2018 at 7:43 AM

  8. I really like this photo. It is beautiful. Isn’t it satisfying to just stop a moment and really see a leaf, especially one as gracefully shaped as this one?


    May 26, 2018 at 8:28 AM

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