Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A good time for Nueces coreopsis

with 11 comments

After we visited both parts of Lake Somerville State Park on April 6th, we continued clockwise around the lake. On LBJ Dr. across from Overlook Park Rd. in Washington County we found this happy colony of Nueces coreopsis, Coreopsis nuecensis. (Click to enlarge.) The erect white-topped plants in the background were old plainsman, Hymenopappus scabiosaeus. Below is a closer view of one in Round Rock on April 2nd.


✥         ✥         ✥


There’s been a lot of hoopla since U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled on April 18 that a public mask mandate in mass transit (planes, trains, etc.) is unlawful.

Some critics of the ruling complained that a single judge had overturned all the medical science established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact the judge did no such thing. Nowhere in her 60-page decision did she rule “on the merits” of the issue. She did not decide—and never claimed to have the requisite expertise to decide—whether wearing masks in public transit vehicles is an effective way to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t, but that’s not what the ruling dealt with.

What the judge did rule on was the legality of the CDC issuing its mass transit mandate. “Judge Mizelle said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had exceeded its authority with the mandate, had not sought public comment and did not adequately explain its decisions.”

Another illogical reaction to the decision came from people who interpreted the end of a requirement to wear masks in mass transit as meaning that nobody would be allowed to wear masks in public transit. The judge’s ruling, of course, did not prevent anyone wanting to wear a mask from doing so—or even wearing double or triple masks, goggles, a face shield, and earphones if they want to.

Yet another unfounded accusation was of the ad hominem*—or in this case ad mulierem*—type. Some people complained that Judge Mizelle is only 35 years old. Age has nothing to do with the validity of a legal argument. Some people complained that Judge Mizelle had never tried a single case in court. True, but then neither had Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, whom the critics of Judge Mizelle presumably support and whom they no doubt did not criticize on those grounds. In any case, that’s irrelevant to the facts and legal principles adduced in the current decision.

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* The Latin phrase ad hominem means ‘against the man.’ We use that phrase when a person criticizes some personal trait of an opponent rather than dealing with the opponent’s arguments. The Latin word homo, of which hominem is one grammatical form, meant not only ‘man’ in a biological sense but also generically ‘human being.’ For anyone who objects to the use of a male form as a generic, I’ve turned to the Latin word mulier, ‘woman,’ to create the indisputably female phrase ad mulierem.

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 24, 2022 at 4:32 PM

11 Responses

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  1. More of Texas nature’s largess.

    Steve Gingold

    April 24, 2022 at 6:15 PM

    • I saw a lot of that in early April. Recently I’ve found less of it but plenty of individual plants. I’m hoping to come across at least a few more great colonies before summer heat sweeps them away.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 24, 2022 at 6:22 PM

  2. A wonderful spread of flowers – I think your fields must be absolutely buzzing with bees and other pollinators!

    Ann Mackay

    April 25, 2022 at 5:59 AM

  3. I visited with friends on the west end of Galveston Island on Sunday, and noticed on the way down the island that some great fields of gold were developing. I suspect some species of Coreopsis, since that’s one of the flowers that overtakes the Broadway cemeteries. Gaillardia’s another, and it’s beginning to bloom, too.

    Old Plainsman has become one of my new favorites. I’ve found it in east Texas at the Sandylands refuge; I suspect the sandy soil’s the reason it appears there but not in other spots I’ve visited in the Big Thicket.


    April 26, 2022 at 5:53 AM

    • Sounds like you’re in for a great time at the Galveston cemeteries in a couple of weeks. What funereal fun.

      Old plainsman may be like “the face that only a mother could love”—which is to say I don’t think many people appreciate it; they probably consider it a weed. In Austin we have Hymenopappus scabiosaeus. You’re fortunate in the east to also have Hymenopappus artemisiifolius, whose flower heads have a pleasant pink tinge that the other species lacks. I usually have to head over near Bastrop to begin finding that pink.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 26, 2022 at 6:26 AM

      • It took me a long while to figure out the reason Old Plainsman at Sandylands had that pretty pink tinge that was lacking around Gonzales/Monthalia: I like them both, but that blush of pink certainly is attractive.


        April 26, 2022 at 6:49 AM

        • I’m gonna keep my eye out for some of that pink. It’s been too long since I photographed it.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 26, 2022 at 6:56 AM

  4. Your glorious field of coreopsis reminds me of the work of Nigel Dunnett in Britain. I’m reading his book “Naturalistic Planting Design” right now as I prepare to shift the look of my garden. You might be intrigued by his work. https://www.irishnews.com/lifestyle/2019/05/11/news/the-casual-gardener-nigel-dunnett-does-it-naturally-1616326/


    May 1, 2022 at 9:55 PM

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