Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Pink and yellow thrills a fellow; pink and blue is pretty too.

with 30 comments

Palafoxia callosa goes by the common name small palafoxia because at half an inch in diameter its flower heads are indeed smaller than those of other species in the genus. The background in the first photograph owes its yellow to cowpen daisies, a few of which you’ve already seen from the same September 2nd session along Lost Horizon Dr. in my Great Hills neighborhood.

Back on August 24th along the right-of-way beneath the power lines west of Morado Circle I portrayed a small palafoxia from the side so that the blue sky could be the background, as you see in the picture below. The heads in this non-composite composite species consist entirely of disk flowers; there are no ray flowers.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 24, 2018 at 5:44 PM

30 Responses

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  1. Exquisite, with such delicacy.


    September 24, 2018 at 6:10 PM

  2. Lovely image quite elegant !!

    Bernie Kasper

    September 24, 2018 at 7:28 PM

  3. As far as I know, I’ve yet to see this flower, but it is a pretty one regardless of background. I never hear its name without thinking of Pensacola, since the heart of that city is Palafox Street, and both the flower and the street are named after General José de Palafox y Melci. Palafox Street and Palafox Marina have their charms, but I’d be happy to find the flower, too.

    Oddly, another common name is Spanish needles, and the plant is said to thrive in the Ozarks.


    September 24, 2018 at 10:33 PM

    • May you soon see at least one of the several species of Palafoxia grow in your area:


      Palafoxia callosa is the only one I ever see in Austin, except for some cultivated Palafoxia hookeriana at the Wildflower Center; it’s native one county east of here, in Bastrop.

      I see on a BONAP map that Palafoxia callosa does indeed grow in the Ozarks. When I searched online for “Spanish needles,” I also found it applied to different species, Bidens alba and Bidens bipinnata. Here in Austin, I’ve not heard anyone call Palafoxia callosa “Spanish needles.”

      Shinners and Mahler’s mentions “your” Palafox and leaves open the possibility that the genus could also have been named for the prelate Juan de Palafox y Mendoza. Maybe the namer got two for the price of one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 25, 2018 at 5:08 AM

  4. Love the first with that nice warm background, not that there’s anything wrong with blue. I experienced a lost horizon the other day when the clouds rolled in.

    Steve Gingold

    September 25, 2018 at 3:39 AM

    • I remember how you used to refer to my “trademark” blue background. The first picture shows that I’ll take any other interesting color I can get, but the sky is often the most readily available neutral background.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 25, 2018 at 5:11 AM

  5. Your title and your colourful photos remind me of an old rhyme which was popular in my elementary school days. It went something like this;
    Red, red, touch your head.
    Blue, blue, tie your shoe. (or I love you)
    Brown, brown, touch the ground.
    White, white, take a bite.
    Black, black, touch your back.
    Purple, purple, purple, draw a circle.
    Green, green, don’t be mean.
    Yellow, yellow, Punchinello.

    What Punchinello had to do with yellow, I have no idea. It’s quite likely we corrupted it to Punch a fellow.


    September 25, 2018 at 5:41 AM

    • Well, there’s lots of “punching” that goes on in the old Punch and Judy shows:


      I doubt that Punchinello had anything to do with yellow other than that the words rhyme.

      I got the first part of my title by altering a rhyme that people use in Texas to distinguish two similar snakes, one venomous and the other harmless:


      Steve Schwartzman

      September 25, 2018 at 6:08 AM

      • Ah, yes, the snake rhyme; most useful. My Punchinello rhyme had no purpose, as far as I remember, other than the pleasure of chanting something silly.


        September 25, 2018 at 8:05 AM

        • I think you’re right. I found lots of variations of your old rhyme online. I’d hoped to find its origin but didn’t turn up any information about that.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 25, 2018 at 8:57 AM

    • By the way, the line “Brown, brown, touch the ground” reminds me of a public-service ditty in Texas that’s intended to reduce the number of people who die in flash floods here each year:


      Steve Schwartzman

      September 25, 2018 at 6:20 AM

      • A sensible ditty which hopefully is heeded.


        September 25, 2018 at 8:48 AM

        • I heard “Turn around, don’t drown” repeated on television last week in connection with the hurricane-caused flooding in parts of North and South Carolina.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 25, 2018 at 8:50 AM

  6. A perfect presentation!


    September 25, 2018 at 9:38 AM

  7. The stem is very unusual! And what a pretty little flower. I see those cowpen daisies keep showing up. That made me smile and think of our leased property. I really must hike out there and see how things have changed in the last couple of weeks. My electric buggy is in the shop so I’m on foot. Maybe this next cold front will make it a little more comfortable to hike in the coming days!


    September 25, 2018 at 12:23 PM

    • Yes, I’ve always noticed how the stem in this species has those little thingies on it. I don’t know what they are or what purpose they serve.

      The afternoon high here today is predicted to be 93°, the warmest it’s been in a week. Still, by this time near the end of September we know that the slow cooling down has begun. So much the better for a cold front to speed you on your explorations.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 25, 2018 at 12:30 PM

  8. Delightful colours Steve … lovely images 🙂


    September 30, 2018 at 12:56 AM

  9. The background makes such a difference, Steve, but both are absolutely lovely.


    October 1, 2018 at 11:01 PM

  10. […] you remember the small palafoxia you saw here two weeks ago? On September 27th at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center I photographed some showy palafoxia, […]

  11. I really like the top image. Well. Both of them, of course. But especially the top one. It is indeed pretty thrilling, and I’m not even a fellow.


    October 19, 2018 at 4:14 PM

    • I was originally going to show only the top image but then I added the second for contrast. No fellowness is needed to thrill to either picture.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 19, 2018 at 4:30 PM

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