Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A tendency to curl

with 21 comments

I’ve noticed that the ray florets in some of our sunflower-family flower heads tend to curl like little ribbons. Ribbony wildflowers I’ve shown in these pages include Engelmann daisy and peonia. The most recent example I came across is this camphorweed (Heterotheca subaxillaris) in the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183 on August 22nd.

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I don’t have to tell you that the Covid-19 pandemic quickly became and remains highly politicized. That high degree of politicization is all the more reason for researchers, including journalists, to do what’s known as due diligence. In other words, seek out all the evidence you can find, regardless of what position it ends up supporting, and report it accurately. Yesterday I learned about an article by David Zweig in which he reported on research of that kind that he had done. The article is “The Science of Masking Kids at School Remains Uncertain,” and it appeared in the August 20, 2021, issue of New York Magazine. I invite you to read it.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 10, 2021 at 4:28 AM

21 Responses

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  1. Those curls remind me of my curly hair…most going one way and a few that just do their own thing! 😀


    September 10, 2021 at 7:39 AM

  2. I’d forgotten peonia. When I took a look at it, I had to laugh. I was trying to remember some other ribbon-like flowers for one of my readers, and now I can point her to the peonia, too. What really amazed me was the date on that post: ten years ago. When I read my comment, I laughed at what I wrote: “If I’m not careful, I might begin learning things here.” How prescient was that?


    September 10, 2021 at 7:39 AM

    • I also noticed that the peonia post was from 10 years ago. I’ve been doing this stuff for a long time—and now so have you, too!

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 10, 2021 at 7:50 AM

  3. I look like it got a perm!


    September 10, 2021 at 7:51 AM

  4. You bring your photos like gifts with a beautiful bow!

    marina kanavaki

    September 10, 2021 at 8:31 AM

  5. Dear Steve,
    we noticed this curling of our sunflower petals as well, especially when we keep them quite dry.
    Actually, like the blond curls our dear Master has.
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


    September 10, 2021 at 9:28 AM

    • I, too, have sometimes noticed curling in the rays of the familiar sunflower, though the ribboning is less common in that widespread species than in some others that we have in central Texas. I assume DNA is responsible, just as it is in determining people’s hair.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 10, 2021 at 1:54 PM

  6. The curls of this pretty flower from the sunflower family in conjunction with the dark background give the picture a three-dimensional effect.

    Peter Klopp

    September 10, 2021 at 9:38 AM

    • Hey, I’m all for 3-D, a medium I worked with extensively from the latter 1970s through the mid-1980s, though mostly in black and white.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 10, 2021 at 1:58 PM

  7. Very pretty curling petals. I don’t think I have ever noticed it. The polarization of Covid-19 has certainly abused a lot of deaths as well as unnecessary disruption in our lives. Masking kids is extremely controversial and no controlled studies have been done to show that it works. The younger the child, the more complex the decision to mask becomes. Too sad we cannot use scientific thinking and evidence and unite around a public health problem toward common goals. Very sad.

    Alessandra Chaves

    September 10, 2021 at 6:24 PM

    • Yes, sad indeed that politicization has become the norm in so many parts of public life. I wish people would agree to stick to the facts, but many won’t. Even worse, so many “news” outlets refuse to report facts that go against their ideology.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 10, 2021 at 7:13 PM

  8. […] yesterday’s post you saw that the ray florets in a camphorweed (Heterotheca subaxillaris) flower head sometimes curl […]

  9. Thanks for the link to that article. This may be of interest to you as well…. a Danish study carried out last year: https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4586/rr-6
    Masks are mandatory for almost all school children here. It is very worrying.


    September 11, 2021 at 9:42 AM

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