Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Camphorweed by prairie verbena

with 9 comments

From a year ago today on the west side of US 183A in Cedar Park, here’s a cheerful and rather abstract view of a camphorweed flower head, Heterotheca subaxillaris. The purple flowers out of focus in the background were prairie verbenas, Glandularia bipinnatifida.

As you can see from the USDA map, camphorweed grows in many parts of the United States. What the map doesn’t show is that the species also grows down through Mexico and Belize.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 22, 2018 at 4:22 AM

9 Responses

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  1. Rainbow bokeh… love that!!


    June 22, 2018 at 6:49 AM

  2. What a nice sunny bloom. When I looked it up, I was surprised to see it’s extended its range north to NY, because pretty sure I’ve never seen one. And then there was a picture on Flickr, taken near Jones Beach. So on its way to upstate.

    Robert Parker

    June 22, 2018 at 7:59 AM

    • I prepared and scheduled this post before leaving on our most recent trip. On checking it out last night I made sure the link worked, and in doing so I looked again at the USDA map. I, too, noticed that camphorweed has been attested in Nassau County, the county I grew up in. Whether the species was already present 60 years ago, I don’t know; I hardly paid attention to plants back then. I can assure you, though, that Jones Beach was there and that I spent lots of time at it. Let’s see if it makes it to the place upstate where you spent your childhood.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 22, 2018 at 8:23 AM

    • And yes, the camphorweed flower head sure is sunny.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 22, 2018 at 9:08 AM

  3. This is a delightful view of a camphorweed flower. These are thick in Brazoria county, especially in the flats in the refuges, but they tend to be scrubby, nibbled, and not quite so ready for prime time.

    I know I’ve mentioned my affection for purple and yellow combinations. Even when I was a kid, I never liked the solid-colored plastic Easter eggs that could be opened and filled with candy. I always was taking them apart and recombining them. Purple and yellow was a favorite combination even then; nature seems to favorite the pairing, too.


    June 23, 2018 at 8:14 AM

    • I don’t know about nature as a whole, but central Texas certainly offers lots of chances for that combination. To pair with many DYCs we have Liatris, eryngo, mistflower, bluebells, skullcap, etc. Silverleaf nightshade is its own combination of purple and yellow.

      When I got to your words “They are thick in Brazoria” I thought about your photographic opportunities. Then the words “scrubby” and “nibbled” canceled that notion.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 23, 2018 at 9:04 AM

  4. Very cheerful and sunny. Does the plant have a noticeable camphor smell?


    November 26, 2020 at 10:51 PM

    • Yes, it does. If you squeeze a leaf it feels a bit sticky and your fingers come away with a camphor-like smell.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 27, 2020 at 6:55 AM

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