Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Prairie fleabane daisy bud

with 55 comments

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on February 3rd I found some opening prairie fleabane daisy buds, Erigeron modestus. At the stage shown in this portrait, each bud is maybe a third of an inch (8 mm) across.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 5, 2020 at 4:45 AM

55 Responses

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  1. The bud is ready to spread its petals. Great macro, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    February 5, 2020 at 6:58 AM

    • In forthcoming posts you’ll see what a flower head of this species looks like when it’s fully open.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 5, 2020 at 7:23 AM

  2. just glows, nice


    February 5, 2020 at 7:40 AM

  3. Nice! I like the glow imparted by the tiny bristles.

    Robert Parker

    February 5, 2020 at 7:42 AM

  4. I’m ready for flower season! Glad to see a few poking their heads out!

    Misti Little

    February 5, 2020 at 8:15 AM

    • In south-central Texas February is already the beginning of the wildflower season. There were even some here in January.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 5, 2020 at 8:58 AM

  5. So pretty.

    Martha Goudey

    February 5, 2020 at 8:19 AM

  6. That just looks like spring to me, and very welcome it is!


    February 5, 2020 at 8:36 AM

    • After your comment I replied to someone else that in south-central Texas February is already the beginning of the wildflower season. There were even some wildflowers here in January, as three earlier posts showed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 5, 2020 at 10:33 AM

  7. Beautifully isolated and color!


    February 5, 2020 at 10:05 AM

    • You’re right that isolation is an important element in portraiture. The soft colors also certainly added to the effect.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 5, 2020 at 10:34 AM

  8. Your modest little fleabane is somewhat similar to my Mexican fleabane (Erigeron karvinskianus) which is entirely different to the larger E. glaucus. There seems to be an awful lot in this family! Your photo is a delight.


    February 5, 2020 at 10:56 AM

    • I hadn’t heard of that species, which I see is native in Central America as well as Mexico. You’re right that there are a lot of Erigeron species: 413 according to one source. I’m glad you find the portrait of our local one a delight.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 5, 2020 at 11:24 AM

  9. Beautiful 💕

  10. Erigeron are delightful, this single study is exquisite!

    Ms. Liz

    February 5, 2020 at 1:58 PM

    • Ah, so you, like Jude above, are familiar with this genus. Exquisite I can live with; thanks.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 5, 2020 at 2:15 PM

      • Yes. Erigeron glaucus is in the colour beds of Dunedin Botanic Garden. Before I’d seen them there though, I’d already grown one in a pot and then poked lots of cuttings in my herb garden to make an edging. They’re wonderfully easy to propagate and little bits will just grow so easy!

        Ms. Liz

        February 5, 2020 at 2:28 PM

        • I see that Erigeron glaucus comes from the Pacific coast of Oregon and California:


          Steve Schwartzman

          February 5, 2020 at 4:57 PM

          • Yes.. interesting isn’t it? I mentioned that myself in the comments on my post ‘Daisy Flowers’ from Jan 25 this year.

            Ms. Liz

            February 5, 2020 at 5:29 PM

            • I went back and saw your comment on that post. The next time I get to the Oregon coast (it’s been 42 years, so I’m overdue) I’ll keep my eyes open for that species if it’s in season.

              Steve Schwartzman

              February 5, 2020 at 6:42 PM

              • I hope you can make it there in the next flowering season Steve and get some photos of it growing wild. How I’d love to see those!

                Ms. Liz

                February 5, 2020 at 6:45 PM

  11. So nice to appreciate its beauty without needing to bend and squirm 👍😁thank you.
    Australia has its version of this plant also.


    February 5, 2020 at 2:26 PM

    • Yes, I did the ground hugging for you. I carry a mat around with me for that purpose.

      I wonder if the species you’re thinking of is Erigeron karvinskianus, which is native to Latin America but has gotten naturalized in Australia:


      Steve Schwartzman

      February 5, 2020 at 5:02 PM

      • Well, I guess so! Something new I’ve learned today. 🙂


        February 5, 2020 at 8:45 PM

        • Live and learn. The one time I was briefly in Australia I was surprised to come across some Texas lantana growing wild alongside a little path.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 5, 2020 at 10:05 PM

  12. Beautiful. Very nice complementary colors. And control of depth of field.

    Michael Scandling

    February 5, 2020 at 5:06 PM

    • With the wind blowing I had to use a fast shutter speed; even with a high ISO, f/4 was the best I could do, so depth of field was a problem. Some of the pictures I took of this specimen didn’t come out sharp enough, but this take seemed good enough to show.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 5, 2020 at 6:46 PM

  13. Such a lovely little harbinger of spring, Steve. It arrives much earlier in Texas than in Colorado.


    February 5, 2020 at 8:57 PM

    • Yes, much earlier this far south. The weather forecast predicts the temperature by morning will briefly drop down to 32°, so I hope that’s not cold enough to damage our early wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 5, 2020 at 10:03 PM

      • I hope so, too. The temperature here dropped into the single digits 2 nights ago, so our spring flowers are holding back!


        February 6, 2020 at 2:17 PM

        • For you that’s normal in early February. Surprisingly, down here we got a slight dusting of snow overnight, so I was out for two hours this morning taking advantage before it melted as the sun rose higher and higher. It’s 51° here now.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 6, 2020 at 3:11 PM

  14. I thought at first this was the so-called lazy daisy (Aphanostephus skirrhobasis), which has the same pretty pink blush on the underside of its ray flowers, and which is found in both of our areas. Then I saw ‘fleabane,’ and looked it up. This one isn’t shown down here on the coast, although we do have a half-dozen Erigeron species.

    It’s a lovely portrait. Despite its slightly different structure and the obviously different color, it brought to mind one of my favorites: your image of a four nerve daisy bud.


    February 5, 2020 at 10:08 PM

    • I’m glad you reminded me of that picture. At the Wildflower Center on Monday I saw a few four-nerve daisies but they’re so common for much of the year in my neighborhood 20 miles north that I felt no need to struggle anymore with the wind for pictures I could more easily get some other time.

      Half a dozen Erigeron species: you’ll have plenty of raw material for your own portraits of the genus in the weeks ahead.

      While we do have lazy daisy in central Texas, I rarely come across any in Austin; they’re more common outside of town, both west and east of here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 5, 2020 at 10:19 PM

  15. You are a master at these, Steve. I like the way you often photograph flowers precisely head-on, not looking down at them. Another thing I like here is that the petals have a slight glow to them, which contrasts with the nice, silky-haired texture of the sepals. Wonderful!


    February 6, 2020 at 10:58 AM

    • Thanks. I appreciate your analysis. You’re right that I’ve often taken a straight-on approach in my portraits. I’ll confess that I also took some pictures looking straight down at open flower heads of this species, and a few showing the underside of an open flower head. Variety, variety, variety, right?

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 6, 2020 at 2:28 PM

  16. The image is sweetly graceful.


    February 6, 2020 at 1:38 PM

  17. I like how your focus enables the flower to stand out against the background and allows inspection of the fine hairs and colorful small fleabane petals. The species I see here are often similar toned when buds but eventually become all white.

    Steve Gingold

    February 7, 2020 at 4:39 PM

    • I’m with you in considering this a successful limited-focus portrait, for the reasons you mentioned. The fully open flower heads of this species become mostly white, like the species you’re familiar with up there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 7, 2020 at 5:16 PM

  18. […] as I wanted in this portrait of a prairie fleabane daisy flower head (Erigeron modestus). You saw a bud of this species a couple of posts […]

  19. This is so good!! Wow …


    February 11, 2020 at 4:13 PM

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