Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for August 7th, 2020

Nerve-ray and white heliotrope flowers

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From July 6th near Yaupon Drive, here’s a nerve-ray flower head (Tetragonotheca texana) with a colony of white heliotropes (Heliotropium tenellum) serving softly in the background as what could be puffs of cotton or little cumulus clouds. Because I’ve never shown that second species here before, I’ve added a picture from the same outing that looks straight down at a heliotrope colony so you can see those tiny flowers in their own right; each one is at most 3/16 of an inch, or about 5mm, across. It’s a month later now and the nerve-rays (which are also called squarebud daisies) have pretty much finished up; I still see scattered white heliotropes, and a local field guide says to expect them as late as October in central Texas.

Here’s a related quotation for today: “We mustn’t always rush on! We must sometimes stop to smell the flowers along the wayside.” According to The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs, this advice was given during a 1942 music rehearsal led by Dr. F. Melius Christiansen. The Mac Davis song of 1974 changed the generic flowers to roses. In any case, I recommend sniffing a nerve-ray flower head because it’s one of the rare DYCs (darn yellow composites) that’s fragrant.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 7, 2020 at 4:40 AM

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