Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Gaillardia suavis

with 23 comments


I’ve never seen Gaillardia suavis var. suavis, known as pincushion daisy and perfume balls, in Travis County.
If I hop east to adjacent Bastrop County, as I did on March 19th, finding it isn’t unusual. Each solitary flower head grows atop a tall, erect stalk, making it relatively easy for me to get below it and aim toward the sky.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 24, 2023 at 4:32 AM

23 Responses

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  1. This is one of my favorites. I was going to say I’d never seen it outside of the hill country, but when I checked my archives on the basis of a vague memory, sure enough: I found it at the Attwater Prairie, too. The commonality between Bastrop and Attwater might be the sandy soil.

    And for an unrelated ‘spring’s here!’ note: yesterday, the cypress trees at my apartment complex leafed out in unison again. When I left for work in the morning, there wasn’t a leaf to be seen. By last night, there was a froth of green on every tree.


    March 24, 2023 at 6:45 AM

    • I think you’re probably right about the sandy soil, which I’ve seen so much of lately south and east and southeast of Austin. I’ve been to Attwater Prairie only once, a long time ago, so maybe it’s time for a return.

      I had no idea a bald cypress tree can leaf out so much in a single morning and afternoon. It shows spring really is here to stay.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 24, 2023 at 9:22 AM

      • But the pecans still are leafless. You know what they say: spring’s not really here until the pecans leaf out.


        March 24, 2023 at 8:00 PM

        • I think this is the first time I’ve heard that saying. My vague recollection is that pecans come out later in the season.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 24, 2023 at 10:04 PM

          • I’m surprised you haven’t heard that. It was one of the first bits of folk wisdom I learned after moving to Texas: even before ‘red and yellow kill a fellow.’ I’ll pass some river bottoms and pecan orchards today; I’ll have to see whether they’re leafing out.


            March 25, 2023 at 4:51 AM

            • It’s not impossible (double negative = positive) that I’ve heard it and forgotten. Such is the frailty of memory.

              Steve Schwartzman

              March 25, 2023 at 8:16 AM

  2. Thanks for sharing this floral pinwheel, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    March 24, 2023 at 10:09 AM

    • I can confirm that the floral pinwheel wasn’t spinning at the time I took the picture.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 24, 2023 at 10:49 AM

      • Try hand spinning such bloom with slow shutter speeds, ICM, gets interesting result.


        March 24, 2023 at 3:29 PM

  3. It’s like a beautiful firework against the blue sky.


    March 24, 2023 at 10:48 AM

  4. A suave Gaillardia. Must be a smooth talker when the bees are flying by.

    Steve Gingold

    March 24, 2023 at 1:47 PM

    • I’ll say a sweet talker, given that Latin suavis is a relative of native English sweet.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 24, 2023 at 2:39 PM

      • The English definitions describe suave as smooth so I went with that.

        Steve Gingold

        March 24, 2023 at 6:32 PM

        • Right. ‘Smooth’ is indeed the sense of suave. I just like to dig back into the etymology to unearth interesting connections that wouldn’t be obvious, like the connection to native English sweet.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 24, 2023 at 6:36 PM

  5. Its almost a shock seeing that cheerful lighthearted blue background after the black backgrounds. Like it.


    March 24, 2023 at 8:15 PM

    • A pleasant shock, then. Over the years, I’ve often used the sky, particularly a clear sky, as an isolating agent for my photographic subjects. Here the “wrinkle” is the pale, soft clouds.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 24, 2023 at 10:09 PM

  6. This is so much prettier than the more gaudy gaillardias that are bred for gardens here.

    Ann Mackay

    March 26, 2023 at 5:37 AM

    • I’ll take your word for it. All I know are the native Gaillardia species we have here, of which there are at least four.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 26, 2023 at 8:19 AM

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