Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Bluebonnet colony with Engelmann daisies

with 32 comments

Click to enlarge.

Here’s a colony of bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) along I-35 in far north Austin yesterday.
The few yellow flowers are Engelmann daisies (Engelmannia peristenia).
Below is a closer look at one of the Engelmann daisies.
Notice the buds’ pinched look as they open.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 18, 2020 at 4:33 PM

32 Responses

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  1. Pointillism and portrait in one post. Most alliterative of you.

    Michael Scandling

    March 18, 2020 at 5:44 PM

  2. What a lovely capture! The Engelmann daisy looks as though it’s preaching to the masses. Whatever the message, it appears cheerful and bright!


    March 18, 2020 at 8:57 PM

    • Someone has a vivid imagination. If I created an alternate version, the sermon would be addressed to mowers, telling them not to cut down all these wildflowers before their seeds have fully developed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 19, 2020 at 6:11 AM

      • That would be quite fitting! We have patches of yarrow and purple poppy mallow in our yard and the pasture beyond. My husband laughs that I mow around those plants, leaving them to go to seed. In the pasture I trim around the patches too so that FD can easily see them. I’m sure it’s a pain for him to avoid these areas while mowing the pasture with the tractor, but he realizes the importance of promoting spreading of our native wildflowers.


        March 19, 2020 at 6:57 AM

        • Good for you for leaving those wildflowers alone. Once in a while I see evidence that a mower has gone around flowers, but not often. Last spring all the wildflowers on the embankments of Mopac, an Austin expressway, got cut down in their prime. I went out taking pictures there yesterday, just in case.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 19, 2020 at 7:07 AM

  3. That’s the only kind of colonization I like.


    March 18, 2020 at 10:30 PM

  4. I rarely come across a colony anywhere near as massive as these. I wonder if they give off a scent. I’ve a bluebell plant but have not discerned a scent yet. I like that you found a blank space in the bluebonnets to place the daisy.

    Steve Gingold

    March 19, 2020 at 7:48 AM

    • This bluebonnet colony is par for the course here. Under good conditions, a bluebonnet colony can cover an acre. You can get an idea of that sort of density at:


      And yes, bluebonnets are pleasantly fragrant, especially en masse. I could smell the scent of the colony two days ago.

      In retrospect, I wish I’d moved a little further left when photographing the Engelmann daisy.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 19, 2020 at 7:58 AM

      • I can see where that would have created a touch more space but still looks great as you composed it.

        That 2014 shot is indeed quite a swath of blue.

        Steve Gingold

        March 19, 2020 at 8:02 AM

        • And that 2014 picture shows only one part of the colony, which was huge.
          I’ll also mention that bluebonnets are just one of the big-colony-forming wildflowers we have here.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 19, 2020 at 8:18 AM

  5. As it happened, the first time I saw (or at least recognized) Engelmann daisies, they were combined with a field of bluebonnets just outside Willow City. It’s interesting to look back and see how many plants tend to bloom at the same time. Our pink evening primrose suddenly are making a splash, and right on time, here come the Texas dandelions to mix with them.

    I do enjoy those buds. That pinched look reminds me of the gesture known as the chef’s kiss.


    March 19, 2020 at 8:10 AM

    • I’ve long wished a picture could convey the pleasantly fuzzy feel of Engelmann daisy leaves.

      A few pink evening primroses have begun coming up here, and I’ve seen exactly one Texas dandelion, so with respect to those two you’re ahead of Austin. I’ve also noticed a few stray Indian blankets, which I wouldn’t normally expect yet.

      As for the chef’s kiss, I wonder how many chefs pinch their fingers in far enough to be concave, the way the tips of opening Engelmann daisy buds are. (You’d expect a math teacher to think about things like convex versus concave.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 19, 2020 at 8:27 AM

  6. The blurry blue background created by the Bluebonnet colony makes the yellow of the single daisy look especially beautiful. Great capture, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    March 19, 2020 at 8:59 AM

    • I often play off an in-focus subject against an out of focus background, sometimes so out of focus that the background color is an amorphous blur. Here you can still tell that you have bluebonnets beyond the daisy.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 19, 2020 at 10:56 AM

  7. gorgeous, like being there


    March 19, 2020 at 12:12 PM

    • Judicious framing hides the fact that these flowers were growing on the embankment of an Interstate, with plenty of noise from all the passing cars and trucks. You’re fortunate to have so many peaceful places in nature in upstate New York.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 19, 2020 at 3:08 PM

      • Kudos to your dedication, stay safe. Working around moving cars can be dangerous. I am waiting for the weather to turn, looking forward to re-doing Hepatica with a new Canon dslr.


        March 22, 2020 at 9:49 AM

        • Other than crossing the access road to get to the embankment, there wasn’t anything I had to be concerned about. Happy new pictures to you as spring arrives.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 22, 2020 at 10:10 AM

  8. Wonderful complementary colors in the second, Steve.

    Jane Lurie

    March 19, 2020 at 4:40 PM

  9. Photos like this can’t help but bring a smile to one’s face, especially with the thought of them being right beside an Interstate. Beauty can be found all around us. Thanks for reminding me of that!

    Todd Henson

    March 19, 2020 at 5:30 PM

    • Sure thing. In part thanks to Lady Bird Johnson, many roadsides in Texas—including Interstates—are sown with wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 19, 2020 at 6:54 PM

  10. Beautiful!!! I love nature’s color combos don’t you?


    March 19, 2020 at 7:25 PM

    • Certainly, and we have many of them here in Texas. I’ll have more in the days and weeks ahead.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 19, 2020 at 7:39 PM

  11. Nice color combo and lovely capture of the masses! I like those pinched eyes, just waiting to burst open.

    Ellen Jennings

    March 19, 2020 at 9:16 PM

    • Thanks. Your conception of eyes waiting to open accords with the etymology of our word daisy, which began as the Old English poetic metaphor “day’s eye.” Gotta hand it to those Anglo-Saxons.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 19, 2020 at 9:28 PM

  12. That field of Bluebonnets is just gorgeous, Steve!


    March 20, 2020 at 8:07 PM

    • You can’t tell from this view, but the colony is on an embankment of Interstate 35. As Dolly Parton wrote: Wildflowers don’t care where they grow.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2020 at 5:00 AM

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