Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Add some fasciated flower heads

with 16 comments

On April 12th, when I came back along the same path west of Morado Circle that I would end up spending almost three hours on, something caught my attention that I’d walked right past on the outbound stretch: a four-nerve daisy (Tetraneuris spp.) that didn’t look right. When I bent down to check it out, I saw that it was fasciated. The stem was flattened and partly concave, and two flower heads were glommed together.

After taking a bunch of pictures from various angles, I noticed another fasciated four-nerve daisy close by (see below). The unusual features in these photos are typical of fasciation. To see other such plants that have appeared here, you can click the “fasciation” tag at the end and scroll through a dozen relevant posts.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 20, 2019 at 4:46 AM

16 Responses

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  1. I think it’s super cool that you noticed this. I’m not sure I always pay attention to such detail, especially if I’m out on a hike and in the midst of a sea of wildflowers. Nice capture of the unusual, Steve!


    April 20, 2019 at 6:36 AM

    • Well, I walked right past this on the way in, but at least I caught it on the way out. That has happened often enough that I can only assume I’ve missed plenty of things altogether, especially when I return by a different route. Still, by going into nature often enough I figure that even a small percent of noticing times a large enough number of outings will keep yielding discoveries.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 20, 2019 at 6:53 AM

  2. These examples of fasciated flowers are fascinating but the something which caught my attention here is the word ‘glommed’. I like the look and sound of it.


    April 20, 2019 at 10:51 PM

    • The phrase “glommed together” is less common (15,800 Google hits) than “glom onto” (65,700 hits) and “glom on to” (31,000 hits). Here’s the etymology given in the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

      It’s a classic case of glomming: Americans seized on glaum (a term from Scots dialect that basically means “grab”) and appropriated it as our own, changing it to glom in the process. Glom first meant “steal” (as in the purse-snatching, robber kind of stealing), but over time that meaning got stretched. Today, glom often figuratively extends that original “steal” sense. A busy professional might glom a weekend getaway, for example. Glom also appears frequently in the phrase glom on to, which can mean “to appropriate for one’s own use” (“glom on to another’s idea”); “to grab hold of” (“glom on to the last cookie”); or “to latch on to” (“glom on to an opinion” or “glom on to an influential friend”).

      Now two questions come to mind: have you ever seen a fasciated plant, and will you who like the look and sound of glom glom onto it in your own speech and writing?

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 21, 2019 at 6:53 AM

  3. One of the disadvantages of being alone, particularly on roads, is that so much is missed. There have been plenty of times that I’ve driven a stretch of road in one direction, and then turned around and traveled it from the other, just so I can limit my looking to one side at a time. On foot it’s a little easier, but there’s still a lot missed.

    The second photo really amuses me. My imagination’s run amok with that one. I see an old woman (see the tiny black ‘eye’?) with a fancy nightcap and her dentures already out, leaving that cleft in her ‘chin.’

    When I found a fasciated black eyed Susan, there was only one flower head, elongated and wide. It’s fascinating to see the variety in these plants.


    April 21, 2019 at 7:45 AM

    • Then both of our imaginations have run a bit amok. In the last picture (which is the one I think you meant), I also saw a caricature of an old woman with her dentures out. In addition, I saw it as a sock puppet.

      I’ve found both kinds of fasciation: a single flower head widened and elongated, and two flower heads glommed together. I have a sense that the two-in-one has been more common, but I’m not sure that’s right.

      As for missing things, well, no one can be everywhere and look everywhere simultaneously. To see and not to see, that’s our nature.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 21, 2019 at 9:08 AM

  4. Fascinating fasciation.

    Steve Gingold

    April 25, 2019 at 4:04 AM

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