Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Yeah, we still have some wildflowers in December.

with 42 comments

A bright flower head of camphorweed (Heterotheca subaxillaris) at the Arbor Walk Pond on December 3.
No “weed,” this.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 23, 2018 at 4:44 AM

42 Responses

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  1. We do need more sun right now…thank you!


    December 23, 2018 at 4:49 AM

  2. how lucky you are )


    December 23, 2018 at 6:56 AM

    • Having grown up in New York and never having liked being cold, I moved south when I could.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 23, 2018 at 8:28 AM

  3. We sure do. Here in Texas I look out of the window at flowers, not snow.

    automatic gardener

    December 23, 2018 at 7:33 AM

    • Agreed. That said, I’m happy when we get those rare snowfalls or hard freezes so I can play with snow and ice photographically.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 23, 2018 at 8:30 AM

  4. Camphorweed spreads like the proverbial and poorly-named weeds down here. It’s one of the latest bloomers, and sometimes spreads in huge colonies in places like the Brazoria refuge. I was a little surprised to see that you have it, too, but then I saw the location — a pond — and that made perfect sense. I’ve even seen it blooming smack in the middle of a temporary pond created by rain. It was just as bright and beautiful as this one, despite being surrounded by muddy water.


    December 23, 2018 at 8:21 AM

    • Sounds like camphorweed is more prolific by the coast than here, and yet it’s pretty common here, too. Marshall Enquist gives the bloom period as May–October, which the plant I found on December 3rd belies. As for having a pond or other body of water close by, my (always limited) experience here includes many instances of camphorweed growing in places with no apparent surface water in sight. Even the plant that appears here was at the margin of the road, a lot higher than the pond. I wonder whether camphorweed is one of those species that readily grows in different environments.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 23, 2018 at 10:05 AM

      • I realized yesterday that I was wrong about one detail. It’s true that camphorweed’s everywhere at the Brazoria refuge, but the plant I found growing in the pond wasn’t camphorweed. It was Borrichia frutescens, aka seaside tansy, sea daisy, or sea ox-eye. When I was thinking about my photo, I “saw” that the leaves were different than those of camphorweed, so I went off to find the actual photo, and discovered my misidentification.


        December 26, 2018 at 6:56 AM

        • I hope Borrichia frutescens was a new find for you, as it would be for me. From the USDA map I see the closest it comes to here is Gonzales County, which I realize I haven’t been to in several years, so maybe it’ll be time for a visit in the spring.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 26, 2018 at 7:21 AM

          • It’s actually quite common nearer the coast, and I’ve seen it every year. It only was last spring that I identified it, though, as I continued the process of sorting out all those daisy-like yellow flowers.


            December 26, 2018 at 7:31 AM

            • I saw from the USDA map that the primary habitat of the sea(side) daisy is indeed by the sea. If only we had something like the Gulf of Mexico near Austin…

              Steve Schwartzman

              December 26, 2018 at 8:05 AM

              • Why is it known as camphorweed? I suppose that should be obvious, but I really don’t know.


                December 29, 2018 at 3:40 PM

                • If you crush one of the leaves, your fingers will come away slightly gooey and will have a scent like Vicks Vapo-Rub.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  December 29, 2018 at 3:43 PM

                • Vic’s Vapo-Rub sounds cool, but the goo does not.


                  December 30, 2018 at 7:45 PM

                • It’s not badly gooey, just a little.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  December 30, 2018 at 8:33 PM

                • Well, the real camphor trees are not even a little gooey. Nor are the various eucalypti. I do happen to like the aroma.


                  December 30, 2018 at 9:37 PM

                • I like the aroma, too, maybe from memories of Vicks VapoRub as a child.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  December 31, 2018 at 7:00 AM

                • How funny. I don’t think that we were supposed to actually like it.


                  December 31, 2018 at 2:56 PM

                • As the French say: Chacun à son goût, Each to his own goo.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  December 31, 2018 at 3:21 PM

                • tee hee . . . goo


                  December 31, 2018 at 3:27 PM

  5. I love the intrepid flowers that just keep on keeping on. We have a sunflower that is still blooming. Crazy. (In a very happy good way)

    Anima Monday

    December 23, 2018 at 10:39 AM

    • “Intrepid” is a good word for them. Given mild enough temperatures, the flowers will risk it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 23, 2018 at 6:58 PM

  6. Wish there were some up here in the northeast! Lovely image.


    December 23, 2018 at 4:49 PM

    • This is the season when we lord it over you with flowers, and you over us with snow and ice.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 23, 2018 at 6:59 PM

  7. Amazing… from here where everything is white!


    December 23, 2018 at 10:18 PM

    • And I followed up this post with one showing a wildflower from two weeks further into December. Still, I’d be (briefly) happy for the chance to look outside and see everything white.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 24, 2018 at 7:37 AM

  8. and here is a beautiful case in point. Incidentally this morning I was greeted by the call of a woodpecker. Can spring be far behind?


    January 11, 2019 at 10:23 AM

    • Austin’s winter would pass for spring for many of you. The high temperature here this week reached the upper 70s.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 11, 2019 at 10:56 AM

      • Meanwhile, we seem to have ducked another storm. Snowplows were lined up ominously in a parking lot near my home yesterday but this morning, not a flake in sight.


        January 12, 2019 at 9:45 AM

        • I guess the snowstorm flaked out.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 12, 2019 at 9:48 AM

          • Haha, yeah I guess it did. We did finally get about an inch late yesterday, and a neighbor is diligently out there with a snowblower. Can you believe it?! I wouldn’t even think a snowblower could do anything in that little snow. South of I-80 they got nailed, though, I understand.


            January 13, 2019 at 9:45 AM

            • Yes. The weather report on television a little while ago mentioned snow from Missouri through Illinois and showed scenes of snowbound cars. Sorry you didn’t get enough to enjoy.

              Steve Schwartzman

              January 13, 2019 at 9:52 AM

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