Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Huisache daisy colony

with 19 comments

Botanist Bill Carr says that husiache daisies, Amblyolepis setigera, are a western species that reaches the eastern edge of its range in Travis County (which includes Austin), and that they’re uncommon here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any huisache daisies within an hour or two of home. On April 9th I came across a pretty colony of them flowering in what was either far eastern Burnet County or far western Travis County. The few violet-colored flowers mixed in were prairie verbenas, Glandularia bipinnatifida. Speaking of which, in my neighborhood the previous morning I’d found one of those with spittlebug froth on it.

Did you know that the United States Congress has designated April 2021 “National Native Plant Month”? Here’s a letter about that from the Native Plant Society of Texas.

April 14, 2021

Senator Rob Portman
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Mazie Hirono
109 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Re: April 2021 National Native Plant Month

Dear Senator Portman and Senator Hirono:

On behalf of the Native Plant Society of Texas and its 35 local chapters, I am writing to express our thanks for your joint resolution S. 109 designating April 2021 as National Native Plant Month. We are pleased to join all the other conservation organizations, including other state native plant societies, that supported your resolution that was approved unanimously by the Senate on March 26, 2021.

Your resolution stated that there are more than 17,000 native plant species in the United States which are beneficial and part of our natural heritage. Texas, which has over 5000 species of native plants and 11 different ecoregions, is one of the most biologically diverse states because of its size and geography. However, as your resolution clearly stated, there are challenges ahead due to habitat loss, degradation, and invasive species.

Our mission statement responds to the challenges with these words: “To promote research, conservation and utilization of native plants and plant habitats through education, outreach and example”. Through these efforts, we strive to protect the native plant heritage of Texas and preserve it for future generations. We are a non-profit organization, run by volunteers and funded by membership dues, individual and corporate contributions, and foundation grants.

Thank you for your authorship of the resolution designating April 2021 as “National Native Plant Month”. Our Executive Board will definitely inform all of our local chapters of your successful resolution and encourage them to incorporate your observations in their programs in April.

Respectfully submitted,

Clarence E. Reed
VP-Advocacy & Affiliations
Native Plant Society of Texas

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 19, 2021 at 4:43 AM

19 Responses

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  1. That’s an impressive colony of huisache daisies. They’ve become one of my favorite flowers: not only because of their pretty yellow bloom, but also because of the range of colors they exhibit when they begin to fold and fade. These blooms look relatively fresh. I can see a little droopiness in the ray flowers, but not much (if any) color change. I found a few prairie verbena around Schulenburg on April 6; I’d forgotten how pretty they are.


    April 19, 2021 at 8:31 AM

    • I’ve so seldom been around huisache daisies, and for so little time when I have been around them, that I have no sense of the colors you’ve observed when the flowers “fold and fade” (nice Anglo-Saxon alliteration). In contrast to huisache daisies, prairie verbenas are a mainstay in Austin and surrounding areas. It’s a rare month, even in winter, when I don’t see at least a few of them. Over the past several weeks some good-sized groups of them have been flowering around town.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 19, 2021 at 8:48 AM

  2. The spittle bug is a fascinating insect. I have seen them here in our Arrow Lakes area even in the driest parts of the summer. My question is: where do they get all the moisture from to build all this froth? Perhaps you have the answer, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    April 19, 2021 at 9:53 AM

  3. That’s a kind of daisy that we don’t have over here. They are awesome and with so many in one field.
    I read the letter about the “National Native Plant Month” – a very nice initiative.


    April 19, 2021 at 11:11 AM

    • Right; there are a zillion kinds of daisies out there in the world. As you’ve seen, dense colonies of wildflowers are common in Texas in the spring. And yes, the National Native Plant Month is a nice initiative.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 19, 2021 at 11:15 AM

  4. Let’s hope that they’ll follow up the legislation with real, impactful measures for native plant conservation. Our ecosystems are at stake!

    Eliza Waters

    April 19, 2021 at 3:39 PM

    • Like everywhere else, a lot of alien species have invaded Texas. In Austin I generally know which ones they are, but when I travel to another place I often have no idea which of the plants I’m seeing aren’t native there. While passing through Kansas some years ago I photographed five kinds of wildflowers; alas, only one turned out to be native.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 19, 2021 at 3:55 PM

  5. The daisies are cheerful, Steve, and the information about the native plant month interesting. I had not heard of that designation before, don’t think it has been in the news much.


    April 19, 2021 at 9:45 PM

    • I wouldn’t have known about National Native Plant Month, either, were I not a member of the Native Plant Society of Texas and a recipient of its e-mails. And yes, that dense colony of huisache daisies sure is cheerful.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 20, 2021 at 6:51 AM

  6. That’s a lot of daisies. Is there a prize for coming the closest to how many in the image?

    That’s a good step forward in the preservation effort.

    Steve Gingold

    April 21, 2021 at 3:54 AM

    • I’ll give myself the prize for taking the picture in the first place.
      As you know so well, I’m all for publicizing native plants.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 21, 2021 at 6:34 AM

  7. That is a beautiful field of gold! I like the composition of verbena and spittlebug froth, too. I don’t run into as much spittlebug froth out here, though some years there is more than others.

    Lavinia Ross

    April 22, 2021 at 9:28 AM

    • Here in central Texas spittlebugs are common, including right in my neighborhood, so I’ve been able to take lots of pictures of the froth in recent years. And yes, the huisache daisy colony was great.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 22, 2021 at 11:16 AM

  8. Loving the gold Steve .. but purple is my favourite colour! Good to see the spittlebug has been busy ..


    April 24, 2021 at 4:33 PM

  9. […] During our inaugural April 19th visit I got to see a few huisache daisies, Amblyolepis setigera, a species I don’t find in Austin. The last time I showed you some was last year, when you saw […]

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