Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Engelmann daisy in two stages

with 39 comments

The Engelmann daisy, Engelmannia peristenia, could as well be called a ribbon daisy, given the strong propensity of its ray flowers to curl under like ribbons. Notice also the way the little crown of ray flowers typically looks pinched as a bud opens. The curling and pinching took place on the flower mound in Flower Mound on June 9th.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 12, 2019 at 4:44 AM

39 Responses

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  1. It’s a great pairing. I always enjoy seeing different stages of growth alongside one another, and both of these are interesting.

    I don’t have many photos of this flower, but when I took a quick look at the ones I do have, I didn’t see the bud stage. It’s attractive, and worth looking for the next time I’m in a neighborhood where the flower’s blooming. There’s a good bit of curling going on around here now, but August heat’s responsible, and many plants don’t look quite as fresh and appealing.


    August 12, 2019 at 6:24 AM

    • I got some good pictures on the flower mound that day but came away with the most chigger bites in a long time. Oh, the price(s) we pay for our nature photographs.

      The pinched buds sometimes remind me of a nuclear reactor’s cooling tower, and I see I’m not alone:


      Speaking of August heat, I hope yesterday didn’t prove too much of a hot, sweaty mess.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 12, 2019 at 7:23 AM

      • It was ghastly, actually, but: with photos of three species of orchid, white gaillardia, and scarlet catchfly, who cares?


        August 12, 2019 at 7:27 AM

  2. The “ribbon daisy” would work, this flower reminds me of being taught in primary school, to make ribbons curl, by running the edge of the (plastic) scissors blade along them.

    Robert Parker

    August 12, 2019 at 8:01 AM

    • Now you’ve made me wonder whether plastic scissors have a different effect from metal scissors in making a ribbon curl. Science project, anyone?

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 12, 2019 at 8:12 AM

      • My grandmother always used metal scissors for doing curling ribbons, we just used plastic because that’s all we were allowed in primary school. Some folks probably still think I should be kept away from sharp objects, due to my lack of coordination!

        Robert Parker

        August 12, 2019 at 8:20 AM

  3. That curling really looks interesting. Makes for a nice pattern.


    August 12, 2019 at 8:12 AM

  4. What a lovely, cheery photo to start my week with. While I know this wasn’t *specifically* for me, thanks just the same. 🙂


    August 12, 2019 at 8:27 AM

    • You’re welcome. I’m happy to hear you took the cheer to heart.

      Seems like it hasn’t rained much here in the four weeks we were away.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 12, 2019 at 11:41 AM

  5. Wow so much geometry here! I’m digging the yellow and the perspective you chose from below. Really great.


    August 12, 2019 at 9:50 AM

    • Glad you like it. For years I’ve been photographing wildflowers from down low, even to the point of lying on the ground and looking up. Occasionally (though not for this picture) I’ve lain in a ditch to get an even steeper upward angle.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 12, 2019 at 1:59 PM

  6. Nice shot !!


    August 12, 2019 at 1:28 PM

  7. Your photo is very evocative, Steve. Even before I read your caption, I thought the petals looked like ribbons someone had pulled across a blade to curl-honestly!


    August 12, 2019 at 6:07 PM

  8. A beautiful flower indeed!!


    August 12, 2019 at 7:37 PM

  9. Nice pairing of the flowers’ stages. I’ve shot similar flowers, black-eyed susans in this manner but not together. It’s a good combination.

    Steve Gingold

    August 14, 2019 at 3:19 AM

    • Black-eyed susans are native here, too. Have you ever seen their rays curl like this? I can’t recall if I have.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 14, 2019 at 4:39 AM

      • I have not, although as the petals age they do funny things but not as coordinated as your daisy.

        Steve Gingold

        August 14, 2019 at 5:02 AM

        • I assume the Engelmann daisy’s coordination, as you cleverly put it, traces back to genetics, as do most traits in most living things.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 14, 2019 at 5:10 AM

  10. How beautiful, didn’t know about this one. The geometry really stands out, as you well say.


    August 15, 2019 at 10:59 PM

    • I just read that the curling of the rays is the plant’s way to keep from exposing itself to too much sunlight.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2019 at 5:41 AM

  11. Its natural range barely overlaps that of the Engelmann spruce in the northeastern corner of Arizona.


    August 18, 2019 at 6:24 PM

  12. […] On this date in 2006 I spent some time on the flower mound in Flower Mound, near Dallas. One species I photographed there was Grindelia papposa, apparently known in various places as Spanish gold, saw-leaf daisy, wax goldenweed, and clasping-leaved Haplopappus; to me it was another species of gumweed. If your eyes zoomed in on the upper flower heads, you’ll have noticed the curled ribbons effect (not to be confused with the Ken Burns effect) that I saw again on the flower mound 13 years later in a different member of the sunflower family. […]

  13. […] heads tend to curl like little ribbons. Ribbony wildflowers I’ve shown in these pages include Engelmann daisy and peonia. The most recent example I came across is this camphorweed (Heterotheca subaxillaris) in […]

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