Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A closer look at four-nerve daisies

with 12 comments

After showing you three good colonies of four-nerve daises in the last post, I thought I should remind you what an individual flower head of this species (Tetraneuris linearifolia) looks like. When I searched through my pictures from April 12th along the right-of-way under the power lines west of Morado Circle, I found this one, which has the advantage of including two stages of a four-nerve daisy. The stage on the right, which follows the one on the left, typifies the way the central disk tends to bulge upward at the same time as the ray flowers fold back, lose some of their yellow, and take on a papery appearance.

In case you’re wondering about the curious configuration behind the two daisies, it was the flower globe of an antelope-horns milkweed (Asclepias asperula) that lay far enough in the background for me to render it out of focus yet still retain its pattern of light and dark. Now that I’ve identified the milkweed I guess I’ll have to show you a picture of some in its own right. You see the globe below when several flowers had opened and a greater number of buds were still to open. The accompanying white flowers are corn salad (Valerianella spp.).

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 2, 2019 at 4:38 AM

12 Responses

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  1. The daisies are lovely and I like that you have two in differing maturities but as I am really fond of milkweeds, the antelope horns take the prize for me. The closed buds always remind me of bishop’s mitre cacti and the mitres themselves.

    Steve Gingold

    May 2, 2019 at 5:23 AM

    • Then for your sake I’m glad I added the second picture, which wasn’t originally part of the post, even though I remember that when I was still in the field the combination of milkweed and corn salad flowers appealed to me enough to do several takes on it. Like you, I’m fond of milkweeds (isn’t everyone?). The species shown here is the most common one in Austin, in addition to which we have several other species of Asclepias.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 2, 2019 at 6:29 AM

  2. The milkweed in the first photo looks like fireworks exploding behind the daisies. I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed that bulging central disk. It looks rather like a traditional beehive: appropriate, given how much the bees seem to like the flowers.

    The combination of the milkweed and corn salad is inspired. I like the way the white flowers of the corn salad pick up the white tips on the antelope horn. It’s quite a unique view of the milkweed, and very pleasing.


    May 2, 2019 at 7:10 PM

    • Ever with your good imagination: fireworks, something that hadn’t occurred to me. The bulging disc is common with these daisies; how common, I don’t know, never having observed carefully over time. There’s a project for a botany student.

      You’ve seen over the years how fond of combinations I am. While I don’t remember photographing milkweed and corn salad together, I’ve been to this area at least once each spring for a long time, so I wouldn’t rule out having portrayed the two together before. What I can say is that this particular example of the combination really caught my attention.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 3, 2019 at 9:29 AM

  3. I saw my first antelope horn earlier in the year and was able to ID it. I hope to plant some in the pocket prairie out back.

    I am having fun trying to ID all the multitudes of yellow daisies blooming right now .. puzzling, some are.


    May 3, 2019 at 2:51 PM

    • Happy milkweed to you, and good luck with your pocket prairie.

      Yes, all those DYCs can be a challenge. Over time I’ve learned most of the ones that grow in Austin, but if I travel elsewhere, well, it’s a different story.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2019 at 12:21 PM

  4. I would not have noticed that if you had not pointed it out.


    May 5, 2019 at 9:14 PM

  5. Super pic of the daisies Steve 🙂


    May 7, 2019 at 3:45 AM

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