Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Giliastrum incisum once more

with 27 comments

As far as I know, not since 2013 have I come across Giliastrum incisum, called cut-leaf gilia and split-leaf gilia. On April 11th off Yaupon Dr. on the west side of my neighborhood I began noticing plant after plant of this slender forb, so naturally I took pictures. Each flower measures only about a third of an inch across. Below you’ll see what a bud looks like.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 8, 2019 at 4:40 AM

27 Responses

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  1. Lovely!


    May 8, 2019 at 8:54 AM

  2. Both are beautiful images. And mini-story from bud to bloom.

    Otto von Münchow

    May 8, 2019 at 10:59 AM

    • Thanks, Otto. I like your description of this as a mini-story. The sound of that reminded me of the word ministry, a form of which we photographers could be said to engage in.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 8, 2019 at 1:34 PM

  3. This reminds me of Shooting Star-Dodecatheon. Glad that you got to see a Schwartzman rarity.

    Steve Gingold

    May 8, 2019 at 5:46 PM

    • Speaking of Dodecatheon: it was reportedly once common in Austin but has retreated to the extent that I’ve never seen it. Here’s how botanist Bill Carr describes it:

      “Native perennial. A species of the eastern United States, occurring here at the southwestern limit of its natural distribution. Rare in seasonally moist stony clay soils on seepy limestone slopes in the western half of the county. Curiously, Young (1920) describes Dodecatheon meadia as “abundant in the floodplain and banks of Bull Creek”, an area from which it is now (2014) almost extirpated. Extant at Wild Basin Wilderness (Muzos, 1986) and Brightleaf State Natural Area.”

      Maybe someday I’ll see it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 8, 2019 at 6:35 PM

      • You saw Giliastrum incisum so that’s encouraging.

        Steve Gingold

        May 8, 2019 at 7:09 PM

      • There’s an April 5 report of the lavender variety in Travis County, south of Bee Cave and west of you. It’s listed under the name Primula meadia. I looked around and saw that even though the USDA doesn’t list that as a synonym for Dodecatheon meadia, the name pops up here and there. There may have been a taxonomic change. The fellow who found it obscured the specific location, which probably was smart. In any event, it’s out there.


        May 9, 2019 at 2:02 PM

        • Thanks for the link to that iNaturalist sighting. I know a few of these plants are out there, I just haven’t managed to find any. Bill Carr’s mention of Wild Basin would be the most likely place for me to look. One of these days….

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 9, 2019 at 2:23 PM

  4. Pretty!


    May 8, 2019 at 8:25 PM

  5. I especially like the way the lavender stripe follows the curve of the stem and the bud. It looks as though it might do so on each side: very pretty.

    I don’t think I’ve seen this, but it very well could be around. It’s listed in Alfred Richardson’s Wildflowers and Other Plants of Texas Beaches and Islands as occurring at Goose Island and Matagorda Island. My copy of the book is second-hand, and the previous owner kept copious notes on its pages. She found Gilia at the Aransas Wildlife Refuge on April 3, 2003 — almost to the day that you found yours.


    May 9, 2019 at 2:09 PM

    • My copy of Richardson has gone almost totally unused, so seldom have I gotten to the Texas coast. Of course I could change that.

      The flowers are so small that you may have walked past some of these plants without noticing them, and I might have, too, until this recent encounter. I was walking a narrow path with a chain-link fence close on one side, so all my attention went to the plants on the other side.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 9, 2019 at 2:33 PM

  6. I see it is in the phlox family, which is a family I am unfamiliar with. A single flower seems odd though. I would expect them in groups.


    May 13, 2019 at 12:03 PM

    • Other members of the phlox family in Texas put out many more flowers that are bigger and brighter:


      Steve Schwartzman

      May 13, 2019 at 3:47 PM

      • And the stars at night are big and bright too. (I don’t know much about Texas, but I do remember that on Route 66 close to midnight.)


        May 15, 2019 at 3:23 PM

        • In west Texas the stars really are big and bright. That’s why the McDonald Observatory was built out there:


          Steve Schwartzman

          May 15, 2019 at 4:56 PM

          • That is why Lick Observatory should not have been built on top of Mount Hamilton, right above San Jose, which is now the tenth most populous city in America. Of course, San Jose was a relatively small town back then. I suppose that Los Angeles was not the second most populous city in America when Griffith Observatory was built right above it.


            May 15, 2019 at 11:38 PM

            • I looked it up: the groundbreaking for Griffith Observatory took place in 1933, and the 1930 population of Los Angeles was around 1,240,000, already a big city and growing fast.

              Your mention of San Jose comes close to home, in a manner of speaking: it’s the 10th most populous city and Austin is the 11th.

              Steve Schwartzman

              May 16, 2019 at 6:46 AM

              • Oh, I did not know that. I just got as far as San Jose, and ignored the rest. I can’t believe that there are more people in Phoenix and San Diego. that just seems weird.


                May 18, 2019 at 8:21 AM

                • All of the cities in the so-called Sunbelt have grown a lot in the past several decades. Of course listing cities according to city-limit populations is misleading in some ways. For example, Boston has fallen down to #21, but if you county its whole metropolitan area, it has many more people than the Austin metropolitan area.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  May 18, 2019 at 9:58 AM

                • I believe that is why San Jose ‘look’s to be more populous than San Diego. Heck, when I am in Los Angeles, I can not see the majority of the city like I can in San Jose.


                  May 19, 2019 at 12:34 AM

  7. The bud looks like it is sticking out its tongue. 🙂 This is a lovely shot of such a delicate flower.


    June 15, 2019 at 9:12 AM

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