Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Interpenetrating wildflower colonies

with 23 comments

From April 27th along Park Road 4 in Burnet County here are three pleasantly interwoven wildflower colonies. The yellow flower heads with brown centers are brown bitterweed, Helenium amarum var. badium. The red ones are firewheels, Gaillardia pulchella, even if they have more red and less yellow than this species does on average. The white flowers are wild onions, Allium canadense, though I’m not sure which subspecies.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 5, 2020 at 4:49 AM

23 Responses

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  1. The Gaillardia are blooming here! They are such a beautiful wildflower. I haven’t seen any brown bitterweed, though I still haven’t managed to get out and discover every plant in bloom in my neck of the woods. The wild onions are up but not quite blooming yet. I was hoping for a good rainfall to aid in the digging of wild onions, but so far it’s been too dry. They are very difficult to extract in dry soil. They’re so small that they are painstaking to clean, but the taste is phenomenal and worth the effort. I’m waiting patiently for the rain!


    May 5, 2020 at 7:16 AM

    • Happy Gaillardia to you. Beautiful indeed they are. When I was out photographing the other day along a local street two women walked by who didn’t know what any of the native wildflowers were. One of the ones I gave her a name for was that; I said they’re called firewheels and Indian blankets.

      And happy wild onions, even if they’re a nuisance to gather for eating. May the rains come…

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 5, 2020 at 7:57 AM

  2. A flower-bow on land can be fully as attractive as a rainbow in the sky. The arc of the flowers is delightful; there’s just enough separation among the bands to reinforce the bow-like impression.


    May 5, 2020 at 7:34 AM

    • Banding in photographs is a technical defect. Floral banding, on the other hand, can work well, as you noted in imagining these arcs as flower-bows. As I recall, the most prominent separation, the one below the biggest amount of red, corresponded to a small ditch roughly parallel to the road.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 5, 2020 at 8:02 AM

    • A flower-bow. What a great concept, Linda!


      May 5, 2020 at 5:09 PM

  3. How wonderful to come across a beautiful field of color! Things are starting to bloom here. I saw Mule’s Ear up in the forest yesterday.


    May 5, 2020 at 8:02 AM

    • Texas is famous for its fields of wildflowers, as you’ve been seeing here (and pictures of more colonies are forthcoming). I’m not familiar with mule’s ears: is that in the genus Wyethia?

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 5, 2020 at 8:29 AM

      • Yes, it is! Wyethia amplexicaulis. I’m rubbish at plant proper names! I had to look it up.

        I’m looking forward to seeing more of your Texas wildflower colonies.


        May 5, 2020 at 9:05 AM

  4. That is a beautiful flower community, Steve! Nice composition.

    Lavinia Ross

    May 5, 2020 at 8:25 AM

    • “Community” is a good way to put it. I was happy to commune with that community and to offer a visual report of my communion.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 5, 2020 at 8:31 AM

  5. “Pleasantly interwoven.” It is a beauty of carpet of wildflowers, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    May 5, 2020 at 8:27 AM

    • We have many such magic flower carpets in central Texas. Some species are at their spring peak now.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 5, 2020 at 8:33 AM

  6. What an abundance! 🙂


    May 5, 2020 at 8:48 AM

    • I hope you’ve found some equally good displays. Fredericksburg is only about 60 miles from the Inks Lake area where I took tis picture.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 5, 2020 at 9:18 AM

  7. More envy from me. Lovely meadow.

    Steve Gingold

    May 7, 2020 at 6:03 PM

    • Your envy may increase: this week I found and of course photographed mixed wildflower colonies on an even bigger scale.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 7, 2020 at 6:59 PM

  8. Beautiful! A floral carpet … I wonder if your wild onions are what we call onion weed


    May 10, 2020 at 2:18 PM

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