Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Clasping-leaf coneflower

with 18 comments

Many more people are familiar with Mexican hats, black-eyed susans, and coreopsis, than are familiar with this wildflower that closely resembles each of those others in one or more ways. It’s the clasping-leaf coneflower, Dracopis amplexicaulis. Here you see a flower head of one at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on May 6th. The pleasantly contrasting background color came from a colony of prairie brazoria, Warnockia scutellarioides. The picture below explains the “clasping leaf” part of the plant’s common name.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 23, 2018 at 4:55 AM

18 Responses

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  1. I used to confuse this with the Texas coneflower (Rudbeckia texana until I learned to distinguish between their leaves. They’re both impressive plants. What really caught my eye here was the prairie brazoria. Funny that it doesn’t grow in Brazoria County. When I looked at other photos of it, it reminded me of spring obedient plant (Physostegia intermedia, another member of the mint family.


    May 23, 2018 at 6:23 AM

    • I’m not familiar with the Texas coneflower; from what you say, the leaves are a good distinguisher (and WordPress doesn’t distinguish distinguisher as a real word). What you say about prairie brazoria not growing in Brazoria county is probably due to both having been independently named after the Brazos River.

      You’re right about prairie brazoria resembling all those obedient plants, which my mind doesn’t obediently distinguish.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 23, 2018 at 7:11 AM

  2. Yellow is the trending colour in your flowers and in fashion, it would seem (https://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/latest/a20752293/amal-clooney-royal-wedding-dress/). I like the purple background. Which came first, flower brazoria or county Brazoria, I wonder?


    May 23, 2018 at 6:28 AM

    • I believe both prairie brazoria and Brazoria county were independently named after the Brazos River.

      Who’d have thought of me as a fashion maven? I’ve long observed that if you wait long enough, a given thing that was once stylish will be stylish again.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 23, 2018 at 7:13 AM

  3. The clasping leaf is neat, I think I like it even better than the blossom.

    Robert Parker

    May 23, 2018 at 8:13 AM

  4. I confess I would have dismissed this as Indian Blanket and moved on without a second glance. Kudos for looking more closely!


    May 23, 2018 at 9:07 AM

    • I learned to recognize clasping-leaf coneflowers from a grand colony of them that I found in 2000 on a property that within weeks was razed for what soon became a truck depot. I was probably the last person ever to walk on that piece of prairie and appreciate it for what it was.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2018 at 6:37 PM

  5. Coneflowers… I always think they should be called ‘bobbleheads’ or something like that… Pretty flower, lovely photo! (And the one explaining the leaves… I’d never have guessed otherwise.)


    May 23, 2018 at 4:15 PM

    • With a vernacular name like clasping-cleaf, I felt I ought to show what one of the leaves looks like. On the other hand, as a math teacher, I have to object to calling the column at the center of the flower head a “cone.”

      You may have chosen better with “bobblehead.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2018 at 6:42 PM

  6. Lovely images Steve .. that leaf is interesting 🙂


    May 26, 2018 at 5:09 AM

  7. That clasping leaf seems like something that was assembled rather than something that grew naturally.


    May 26, 2018 at 4:14 PM

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