Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A Mexican hat mitten

with 35 comments

How about a Mexican hat that looked more like a mitten? I saw this strangely forming Ratibida columnifera in Austin six years ago today. Note the spider silk in various places. The colors in the background were from an Indian blanket, Gaillardia pulchella.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 6, 2019 at 4:56 AM

35 Responses

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  1. what an interesting shape –


    May 6, 2019 at 5:05 AM

    • Just yesterday I came across a Mexican hat in a later stage of development that had two mostly fused, equal-sized central columns.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 6, 2019 at 6:01 AM

  2. Mexican hat is one of my favorites around these parts. We have a large patch of them just west of the slough area of the pecan orchard. This mitten is an interesting find. I’d wear a pair like that in that lovely color and design!


    May 6, 2019 at 6:36 AM

    • You can be the first to design, produce, and market mittens like these. It seems you’d have ready buyers among gardeners and native plant lovers.

      I’m glad to hear you’ve got a large patch of Mexican hats on your property. The ones in Austin had been developing through April and began flowering last week. I imagine yours in Oklahoma are a bit behind ours.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 6, 2019 at 6:58 AM

      • All of our wildflowers are just now at their prime. I’d guess we’re three to four weeks behind you real southerners! It’s a banner year here too, with wildflowers.


        May 6, 2019 at 10:16 AM

  3. A good catch.


    May 6, 2019 at 7:00 AM

    • If I’d been wearing mittens I wouldn’t have been able to make that photographic catch. (Last winter I managed to take pictures while wearing regular gloves.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 6, 2019 at 7:05 AM

  4. Now that’s an excellent one. Or excellent ones = picture + text


    May 6, 2019 at 8:32 AM

  5. Instantly upon seeing this image the phrase “manamana” popped into my head – a puppet mitten perhaps?


    May 6, 2019 at 9:04 PM

    • I had to look that up. I’m afraid I was too old to watch the Muppets by the time they became popular. Still, I understand your mitten association. Shall we say “smitten with a mitten”?

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 6, 2019 at 10:43 PM

  6. […] The astute viewer will have noticed (as some writers used to put it) the contrast between the flowerful embankment that fills two-thirds of the photograph, and the bare one on the other side of the highway. I don’t recall whether that opposite embankment had looked as good as the near one; I do know that just a few days earlier I saw mowers cutting down all the wildflowers on that side of Mopac farther south, in the vicinity of Far West Blvd. I’d been planning to photograph there but didn’t make it. Fortunately I was in time to catch this display on the east side of the highway. Below is another view, now in my usual way, which is to say without any human elements. The bits of white are gaura, Oenothera spp., and the darker flowers are Mexican hats, Ratibida columnifera, a strange one of which you saw in the previous post. […]

  7. Obviously a plant with an identity crisis. One is never too old for the Muppets.

    Steve Gingold

    May 8, 2019 at 5:48 PM

    • Well, if I haven’t Muppetized by now, I don’t think it’s gonna happen. I like the way you described this strange Mexican hat as “a plant with an identity crisis.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 8, 2019 at 6:36 PM

  8. It took no time at all for me to think of my mother when I saw this photo. She was quite the knitter, and like every good knitter she always put point protectors on the ends of her needles for safety. She had a pair of red ‘mittens’ she used, and they looked remarkably like this plant. I even found a photo of her ‘mittens’ online.


    May 8, 2019 at 9:10 PM

    • I appreciate the punning name of the website you liked to: Ravelry. Now I see why this strange Mexican hat reminded you of point protectors, which I’d never heard of, and then why you were reminded of your mother. She probably never wore a real Mexican hat, even if she saw some of the floral kind in Texas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 9, 2019 at 6:12 AM

  9. An innovative flower not content with her usual habiliments.


    May 9, 2019 at 10:54 AM

  10. Wonderful shot Steve … has to be a mitten! 🙂


    May 11, 2019 at 3:06 PM

  11. It looks like a frowning Muppet.


    May 12, 2019 at 3:20 PM

  12. My first reaction was to laugh! This is so cool. It made me think of an oven mitt, for sure an oven mitt.


    April 28, 2020 at 8:04 PM

    • Yes, it looks so well padded it could pass for an oven mitt. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another Mexican hat like it. Last year I came across the photo in my archive and felt I had to post it. I’m glad I did.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 28, 2020 at 8:10 PM

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