Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Another native species flowering in Austin in January

with 34 comments

It’s not unusual to see the shrubby boneset plants (Ageratina havanensis) in northwest Austin flowering in January as a continuation of the bloom season that began in the fall. The bushes of that species along Floral Park Drive in my neighborhood were still putting out new buds and flowers on January 18th, as you see here.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 23, 2020 at 4:17 PM

34 Responses

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  1. It is wonderful the way you continue to make wildflowers interesting.


    January 23, 2020 at 4:46 PM

  2. I love how you isolated the flower blooms and got the background all black. It really shows off the blooms.

    I’ve been missing my camellia bush that was left behind when I moved. It bloomed all winter and was a cheery pink with a yellow center. Very cheerful on a gloomy January day.


    January 23, 2020 at 7:41 PM

    • If you look closely you can see faint traces of green from what’s farther away, most noticeably at the bottom of the first photo and in the upper left of the second. With a casual glance at either picture, though, you’re likely to see the background as solid black; that’s how I still tend to see it, even though I know what’s there. It certainly makes for drama and isolates the subjects.

      It’s good to hear these blushes of pink remind you of what you left behind and also cheer up your gloomy January day.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 23, 2020 at 9:03 PM

  3. Love the blush of pink. Mine didn’t bloom for long this year, a light freeze rendered them toasty. Still, nice.


    January 23, 2020 at 10:13 PM

    • Light freezes came to my neighborhood, too, back in November (I remember because it let me get some frostweed ice pictures). The mild winter we’ve been having allowed new flowers to come out. The mystery is why your plants didn’t do the same.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 24, 2020 at 5:47 AM

  4. Beautiful formal portraits. I believe the second one is wall worthy.

    Michael Scandling

    January 24, 2020 at 1:26 AM

    • Interesting that you singled out the second picture. My portraits of blooms in this species had always (I think) been like the first picture. The configuration of the plant let me get the lateral view that you like.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 24, 2020 at 5:52 AM

  5. Boneset is a favorite plant and glad to see it blooming in your neighborhood during the winter. Ours is the common Boneset or Thoroughwort (Eupatorium perfoliatum) which has similar although less colorful flowers. Two lovely portraits.

    Steve Gingold

    January 24, 2020 at 5:21 AM

    • This species used to be classified as Eupatorium havanense, so it’s no surprise the flowers look similar to those from your species, even if ours have that extra pink tinge.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 24, 2020 at 5:55 AM

  6. I like the clusters of blooms in the first picture best, with the complex and attractive details.


    January 24, 2020 at 7:23 AM

  7. Great photos of the shrubby boneset plant, Steve! The only flowers that are blooming here right now are the ice flowers on my car’s windshield and the azalea plant in my wife’s studio.

    Peter Klopp

    January 24, 2020 at 9:22 AM

    • I’m aware of half a dozen native species flowering here now. That’s the difference in our latitudes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 24, 2020 at 4:09 PM

  8. This is such a pretty plant. I’ve only seen it in the Kerrville/Medina area, of course, but two years ago it was thick in the limestone rocks along some of the roads in that area. I’ve either forgotten or never realized that it’s a Texas endemic.

    We have a different plant whose flowers remind me of this one: climbing hempvine, or Mikania scandens. I see it’s in your area as well. Like the boneset, it’s a butterfly magnet. I found a stand of it at the San Bernard refuge with monarchs visiting.

    I really like the second photo. “Svelte boneset” would be more fitting for that one; there’s nothing at all shrubby about it.


    January 25, 2020 at 9:37 PM

    • It depends how you define endemic. While it’s true that in the United States this species grows only in Texas, the species name havanensis reveals a broader range extending across the water to Cuba; the species also grows in Mexico.

      When I’ve seen Mikania scandens in the Austin area it’s been very close to a creek or pond. I’m not surprised, then, to hear you’ve found it in the San Bernard Refuge. It’s the only member of the sunflower family I’ve ever encountered in Texas that’s a climbing vine.

      I was fortunate that the cluster in the second photo was isolated enough, and the individual heads separate enough, that I could get an unobstructed view from the side. That separateness lets you see the heads as svelte.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 26, 2020 at 11:22 AM

      • Point taken. I know there are other species that show up only in one border state — like Texas or New Mexico — but which also can be found in Mexico. And, yes: the M. scandens at the refuge was at the edge of the water, and in some places actually growing so far into the water that I couldn’t get to it for photos even with boots.


        January 26, 2020 at 11:51 AM

  9. […] noticed them if I hadn’t stopped on January 18th to photograph the adjacent goldeneye and boneset that you’ve seen in recent posts. The profile above shows that even mature flower heads stay […]

  10. Just beautiful Steve …


    January 29, 2020 at 7:31 PM

    • I don’t know if anyone else stops to check out these flowers, which are growing right by a sidewalk, but I do.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 29, 2020 at 9:14 PM

  11. Very pretty, and similar to the flower I learned about called Boneset in the east – Eupatorium – I see Steve G. pointed that out. 🙂


    February 6, 2020 at 11:26 AM

    • As you noticed in my reply to Steve, when I got interested in native plants 20 years ago, the local field guide I used still had this species classified as a Eupatorium. That large genus has since been split up.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 6, 2020 at 2:57 PM

  12. Each little floret could be a bride’s bouquet. They are really beautiful up close like this. Too bad they went and split up the Eupatoria. Such a fun word to say aloud!


    February 12, 2020 at 2:14 PM

  13. It reminds me of blue mistflower. I wonder if they’re related.


    February 21, 2020 at 4:56 PM

    • Blue mistflower and this species both used to be classified in the genus Eupatorium, so yes, there is a relationship.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 21, 2020 at 4:58 PM

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