Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

More from my hours on the Blackland Prairie

with 12 comments

While out on the prairie on October 27th looking for Maximilian sunflowers and finding plenty of them, I also came across a colony of goldenrod (Solidago altissima) along Bratton Lane whose flowers were happily fresh.

Some of the plants were simultaneously drying out and putting forth new flowers:

All those goldenrod flowers attracted a slew of insects, including this monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus):

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 1, 2018 at 4:42 AM

12 Responses

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  1. We were surprised the other day to find goldenrod on sale as a garden plant. It is a week, being so easy to grow and fecund.


    November 1, 2018 at 7:07 AM

    • And I’m very happy to hear that a store is selling goldenrod as a garden plant. Hooray for natives!

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 1, 2018 at 7:55 AM

      • They had been available here too, where they are NOT native! I have not seen them since spring, but I am afraid that they have naturalized in isolated spots. They do not seem to be too aggressive or invasive yet.


        November 1, 2018 at 9:36 PM

  2. Very pretty, especially the Monarch! I envy your long growing season.


    November 1, 2018 at 10:11 AM

    • Warmth is one of the main reasons I moved to Texas in 1976. Later I came to appreciate how that means, among other things, still having wildflowers in November.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 1, 2018 at 10:55 AM

  3. There’s such variety in a field of goldenrod, even when only one species is present. It’s sometimes hard for me to figure out which species I’m seeing, although S. altissima is pretty easy to spot because of its height. Seaside goldenrod (S. sempervirens) can be easy, too — especially when it’s growing just behind the dunes.

    I’m glad you included the butterfly. It’s amazing how many insects can set up shop on even a single stem of the plant. A field filled with goldenrod can seem like nothing more than a big yellow blur, but there’s a lot going on in there.


    November 3, 2018 at 8:21 AM

    • I don’t think we need to feel bad about not being able to identify goldenrods, as I’ve read that even experienced botanists find goldenrods a difficult complex to untangle. (Likewise for another fall-flowering group, the asters.) As you say, Solidago altissima makes identification easy, along with offering a majestic plant to photograph. I’ve yet to see the seaside species, but maybe one of these years.

      The only local plants I’ve found that rival the goldenrods in how many insects they attract are the various mistflowers, the Eupatorium and Ageratina species.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 3, 2018 at 10:23 AM

  4. Looking forward to seeing monarchs in our garden. Great shot Steve


    November 7, 2018 at 2:33 AM

    • There’s a campaign here to plant milkweeds to aid the monarchs. Now that I think of it, I don’t recall seeing any milkweeds while photographing the goldenrod shown here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 7, 2018 at 5:07 AM

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