Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for December 21st, 2022

Maximilian sunflower seed heads

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The northeast quadrant at the intersection of Mopac and US 183 includes some wetland and is therefore presumably and thankfully immune to development. I wander over that terrain several times a year and always come away with pictures, often many of them. During my most recent foray there on December 14th I noticed typical ribbony fasciation in one “arm,” and only one, of a Maximilian sunflower plant (Helianthus maximiliani) whose seed heads had dried out. (Click the “fasciation” tag at the end of this post to scroll through other examples of fasciation and learn about the phenomenon if you’re not familiar with it.)

That was the second time recently that I’d photographed dried-out Maximilian sunflower seed heads.
The first had come five days earlier at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center:



And as a reminder of what one of these erect spikes would have looked like
not long before, here’s a picture from Liberty Hill on October 22nd:





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Parable in the form of a dialogue between an American and the American’s friend


The American: “A gust of wind blew the door to my house open. Now whenever the people on either side of me mow their lawn or use a leaf blower I have to put on noise-canceling headphones to keep the racket from distracting me. Some of the grass and leaves the neighbors stir up gets inside my house, so I do more sweeping and vacuuming than I used to. Every time it rains some of the rain gets in. I put down towels to absorb it and then mop up afterwards, but the water caused the wooden floor inside the doorway to warp and I had to get it replaced at great expense. Every few days a neighbor’s cat wanders inside. It’s a friendly cat but I do have to shoo it out. Once a bird flew in and was much harder to rescue. There’s a period in the spring when mosquitos are especially bad and we get a lot of bites. I’m spending so much more on electricity to heat my house in the winter and cool it in the summer that I had to take a second job to pay for it.” 

The American’s friend: “Why don’t you just close your door?”


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman







Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 21, 2022 at 4:31 AM

Posted in nature photography

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