Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Insects on goldenrod

with 33 comments


From the morning of November 9th on the shore of the Riata Trace Pond, here are two views of flowering goldenrod plants, probably Solidago altissima. In the top photograph you may strain your eyes to make out the Ailanthus webworm moth (which I didn’t even notice when I took the picture), but you sure can’t miss the umbrella paper wasp (Polistes carolina) shown below.



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UPDATE. Last month I reported on the way the public schools in Wellesley, Massachusetts, were purposely segregating students by race. Now I’ve learned about intentional racial segregation in a New York City junior high school. Needless to say—except that I find myself having to say it—racial segregation has been illegal in American schools ever since the Brown vs. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954.


© 2021 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 28, 2021 at 4:24 AM

33 Responses

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  1. I can look at Golden Rod in a different way. We had some growing tall in our London garden in all the wrong places! Not sure how it got there but very good at staying put. And beautiful against a wall or fence! The paper wasp must be similar to one that stung me badly here. Or I reacted badly!


    November 28, 2021 at 4:38 AM

    • The English who explored America were happy to carry goldenrod back to Europe. The one that appeared in your London garden could well have been a descendant of one of those early imports. I’m sorry about your bad association with the wasp.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 28, 2021 at 5:08 AM

  2. Nice catch, the Golden Rod and the school.

    Kelly MacKay

    November 28, 2021 at 5:07 AM

  3. His view is so different to ours.


    November 28, 2021 at 6:39 AM

    • That’s for sure—especially as even within the human realm people’s views already often differ so much from each other’s.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 28, 2021 at 6:48 AM

  4. Even though I know the webworm moth, it took me a while to find it on the lower right, at the end of a branch. That’s a lovely example of the plant, too.

    Every time I read about another example of resegregation, I remember the old line: “Divide and conquer.” There’s no question that’s what a segment of our society is up to.


    November 28, 2021 at 8:52 AM

    • Resegregation is a worrying step backwards! It does indeed sound like divide and conquer.

      Ann Mackay

      November 28, 2021 at 10:54 AM

      • Worrying indeed. The disdain that some institutions and branches of our government have for anti-segregation laws is appalling.

        Steve Schwartzman

        November 28, 2021 at 4:05 PM

    • Having not shown goldenrod yet this year, I felt the graceful inflorescence by the pond as a good way to do so.

      You’re not alone in conjecturing that ideologues have adopted “woke” positions—in this case resegregration—as a way to divide and conquer. I’ve heard that hypothesis, and it strikes me as plausible, certainly hard to deny in some cases. At the same time, in a world of multiple causation I wonder what other causes exist as well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 28, 2021 at 11:28 AM

  5. I have not seen a goldenrod flower in our area. It is great to see insects so late in the season. But Texas is not Canada, I keep reminding myself.

    Peter Klopp

    November 28, 2021 at 9:08 AM

    • Half an hour ago we saw some goldenrod that was still blooming. As you say, this is Texas, not Canada.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 28, 2021 at 4:06 PM

  6. Amazing picture of the paper wasp – so much clear detail. 🙂

    Ann Mackay

    November 28, 2021 at 10:55 AM

  7. GMTA, Steve. You posted the flower today, I posted the seed head! 🙂

    Eliza Waters

    November 28, 2021 at 2:45 PM

  8. I cannot see the moth.

    Alessandra Chaves

    November 28, 2021 at 7:45 PM

    • If you start at the tip of the rightmost sprig of goldenrod and come leftward about half-way to the central stalk, that’s where it is. It’s inconspicuous.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 28, 2021 at 8:12 PM

  9. From little things big things grow. Like weeds and evil segregation if not dealt with early enough. Sadly the ploy of segregation of another sort, is happening in Australia more and more.
    Love the Goldenrod, and the insects also, an example of community.


    November 29, 2021 at 12:29 AM

    • I like the way you phrased it: “the ploy of segregation of another sort.” I don’t understand the delusion that has taken over so many people’s brains so quickly. It’s hard to maintain human communities with such division.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 29, 2021 at 6:32 AM

      • I’ve been learning Steve about the technique of mass hypnosis and how it appears, to gain an understanding of what’s taking place. Seems a plausible explanation. I guess I’m lucky that during my life, television has never had a major role, and I’ve lived on the fringes anyway, so ‘group think’ didn’t apply. I’m trusting that in time enough of the thinkers and doers will form a community, a network of them. Humans, not cyborgs.


        November 29, 2021 at 2:53 PM

        • Thanks for suggesting the possibility of mass hypnosis, which I hadn’t considered and don’t know much about. Groupthink is definitely a problem.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 29, 2021 at 9:46 PM

  10. We have an ambivalent relationship with goldenrod in our yard. It grows and spreads like a weed, yet the fall flowers are welcome color. Our goldenrod flowers were spent the early weeks of October this year.


    November 29, 2021 at 5:56 AM

    • From other people’s comments over the years, you’re not alone in your ambivalent attitude toward goldenrod. Most of the goldenrod here has turned fuzzy by now, but yesterday we saw a few whose flowers weren’t just lingering but freshly blooming. We haven’t even had a frost yet.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 29, 2021 at 6:35 AM

  11. I think I see the insect in the top image and I love the macro of the wasp. Great details!


    November 29, 2021 at 10:00 AM

    • More power to you for making out the insect in the top picture. It’s a lot harder to spot here than in the full-size original photograph.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 29, 2021 at 9:39 PM

  12. Your title made me think of this show. I’ve only seen one or two on YT as we don’t do Netflix. The one with Obama seems to be the most popular.

    Steve Gingold

    November 30, 2021 at 3:42 AM

    • I wonder if scientists have studied the ways in which people associate one thing with another thing.
      It says something about me that I didn’t recognize many of the people in the video.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 30, 2021 at 5:19 AM

      • I didn’t either. I did know about a dozen or so. I don’t watch much TV, go to comedy clubs, or pay much attention to other comic venues. No wonder I’m a sourpuss.I did watch one or two. We do however prefer comedies when we watch a movie, but mostly old ones.

        Steve Gingold

        November 30, 2021 at 5:26 AM

        • Our cable bundle, in which we ever watch only a small fraction of the channels, includes Turner Classic Movies. It’s where I watch by far my largest share of films. Most of the movies there date from the 1930s through the 1960s.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 30, 2021 at 5:37 AM

  13. You sure can’t miss him! Fabulous shot Steve …


    December 5, 2021 at 12:28 PM

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