Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Texas thistle bud with disk florets emerging parallel

with 26 comments

I don’t remember ever seeing an opening Cirsium texanum bud whose disc florets* had emerged so far while keeping together in a bundle of parallel elements.  If any of you who are familiar with this wildflower have seen instances of the emerging florets staying so neatly packed for such a distance, please let me know; maybe it’s not as unusual as I think. I found this roughly cylindrical thistle on June 10th in the town of Manor.

*The Texas thistle, though in the composite botanical family, lacks ray florets. So does its local tribe-mate in that family, the basket-flower.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 1, 2020 at 4:38 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , ,

26 Responses

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  1. At first glance, I thought it was a basket-flower. It looks as though the thistle was following its own ‘rule of thirds,’ with that elongated middle portion of the bud probably being one reason the ray florets are being held together. To my eye, it’s an unusual image. I certainly don’t remember seeing anything like it before.


    July 1, 2020 at 6:24 AM

    • Good, I’m glad for your confirmation that you, too, haven’t seen the ray florets in a Texas thistle held together for so long. If the middle third in the “rule of thirds” is responsible, that moves the question back one degree and we have to ask why the middle part was tighter than usual.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 1, 2020 at 6:49 AM

  2. Sorry, I can’t help there, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    July 1, 2020 at 8:15 AM

    • I grant you, a resident of British Columbia, a floral dispensation. As people said in the 1930s: that, along with a nickel, will get you a cup of coffee.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 1, 2020 at 8:18 AM

  3. Outstanding shot, Steve.


    July 1, 2020 at 8:45 AM

  4. Never seen a thistle so gorgeous as you’ve achieved here .. wow!

    Ms. Liz

    July 1, 2020 at 4:09 PM

    • Texas thistles are a favorite of mine (what isn’t, right?). The open flower heads are fragrant, and I make sure to sniff at least one each time I come across a bunch. This narrowly opening one was special because of its shape.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 1, 2020 at 6:10 PM

      • The fragrance is a surprise from a thistle .. how lovely!

        Ms. Liz

        July 1, 2020 at 6:16 PM

        • The little I know about plants in the world is extrapolated from what I’ve learned about the native plants in central Texas. Because the Texas thistle has fragrant flowers, I’m surprised to hear that that may not be true of thistles in general.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 1, 2020 at 6:33 PM

  5. Gorgeous image, Steve!

    Ellen Jennings

    July 1, 2020 at 7:43 PM

    • Thanks. This thistle captivated me and I took pictures the best I could, given that it was hard to get a camera in there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 1, 2020 at 9:03 PM

  6. This looks more like what I see with daisies sometimes.. It’s a lovely image.

    Steve Gingold

    July 2, 2020 at 3:01 AM

  7. We have many beautiful thistles in northern MN, but most are, unfortunately, the invasive variety. I still enjoy them!


    July 2, 2020 at 4:49 AM

  8. This photo is really wonderful. Just look at all that texture and color. Now I’ll have to start taking a closer look at thistle buds to see if this is a common thing or not. It looks like something an aster would do.


    July 2, 2020 at 9:24 AM

    • Hooray for texture and color. Let me know if you find anything like this one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2020 at 4:56 PM

      • I will. I plan to be out in the field in a week or two for orchid monitoring, and I expect to see a bunch of Cirsiums while out there. 🙂


        July 3, 2020 at 7:13 AM

  9. Beautiful! Of course, I have no experience with this one.


    July 2, 2020 at 7:43 PM

    • Nor did I with this particular kind of development, as familiar as I am with Texas thistles in general.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2020 at 8:45 PM

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