Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Time for rosinweed

with 12 comments


When I headed over to Bull Creek on June 24th I expected to find some tall rosinweed plants (Silphium radula) flowering. I did. It’s common for people to mistake these for sunflowers, which are out at the same time.



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Following up on yesterday’s commentary about education, here are similar thoughts from a June 22nd piece by Jeff Yass in The Wall Street Journal entitled “Money for Children’s Education, Not Schools,” with subtitle “It’s time to stop writing blank checks for a failing system.” The article begins:

As schools break for summer, it’s a good time to review the return America is getting on its investment in education. The Census Bureau reports inflation-adjusted spending in K-12 education has tripled since 1970 to a record $751.7 billion. Yet barely a third of all fourth-graders across U.S. urban communities can read or do math at grade level. The time has come to reimagine the way we pay for education. Let’s stop writing blank checks to failing school systems.

Consider a single mother of two. From kindergarten to high school graduation, the government will spend nearly $250,000 on each of her children. Yet she won’t have much of a say in how the dollars are spent. Without her consent, the bureaucrats who run the public schools will build facilities, hire teachers and plan curriculum that may leave her children far behind their peers, all at exorbitant prices.

The article goes on to propose that parents control how that large amount of money gets spent on their children’s education. Check it out.

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 1, 2022 at 4:28 AM

12 Responses

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  1. This year, I found my first Silphium on April 10, which seemed early to me. They were blooming alongside the same road where I found the pink bluebonnet during my little spring trek; in some of my photos the Silphium are combined with bluebonnets, phlox, and vetch in a delightful overlapping of seasons.


    July 1, 2022 at 6:03 AM

    • I’m with you in finding April 10 early for a Silphium. Eason says “summer” (or also fall) for the species it includes, so I’d never expect to be able to combine a Silphium flower head with bluebonnets and phlox the way you did. We know that boundaries between seasons are highly variable.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2022 at 10:53 AM

      • There were Engelmann daisies, too, and a single patch of soft greeneyes. I wasn’t sure about the Silphium ID, but looking at the hairy and squarish stem, the leaf arrangment, and especially the shape of the buds, my first assessment seems right. I can’t believe I never posted the photos — there were so many dramatic fields, I guess the smaller delights were neglected.


        July 2, 2022 at 11:50 AM

        • When I’ve “bypassed” a picture, typically because too many other things have been going on in nature, I’ve sometimes scheduled a post for the one-year (or some-other-year) anniversary of the date. Occasionally I’ve had to bump a picture more than once because so many other things were going on at the time the anniversary came around.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 2, 2022 at 12:18 PM

  2. Easy to see how they could be mistaken for sunflowers. Jerusalem Artichokes are also mistaken that way.

    Steve Gingold

    July 1, 2022 at 3:28 PM

    • Right. And the “Jerusalem” is said to be a mangling of girasole, the Italian word for sunflower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2022 at 10:54 AM

  3. I can see why people think they’re sunflowers – I would make that mistake too!

    Ann Mackay

    July 2, 2022 at 9:22 AM

  4. I might have mistaken Silphium radula for a sunflower!

    The linked test requires a subscription….

    Alessandra Chaves

    July 2, 2022 at 1:52 PM

    • Most people would think it’s a sunflower. Both flowers are in the Heliantheae tribe within the huge Asteraceae family.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2022 at 3:39 PM

  5. Beautiful flower. Wonder about education though as in India there was a mix of private and state and how patents can endure quality. In UK our private schools are called Public schools and have charitable status but most begin at 6000 a term and cost of state education is currently that for a year and with larger classes and less state of the art facilities.


    July 8, 2022 at 3:16 PM

    • Because schools here have demonstrably failed on such a broad scale, I’m all for giving parents control over where the money allocated for their children will be spent. That would foster competition, and if a school couldn’t show that its students were learning, then parents would be free to stop sending their children there and the school would justifiably go out of business.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 8, 2022 at 5:01 PM

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