Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Sunflowers in mid-March

with 13 comments


Most of the plants we call sunflowers inhabit the genus Helianthus (which is Greek for ‘sunflower’). I say most, but not all. Here you’re looking at Simsia calva, known as the bush sunflower, a few clumps of which I found already flowering in Burnet County on March 17th. The second picture came from aiming somewhat downward to include several bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) near the ground.



Because bush sunflower stalks tend to grow tall, I could get on the ground beneath one and take a lofty look.



© 2023 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 27, 2023 at 4:22 PM

13 Responses

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  1. The “lofty look” is perfect, Steve. And you got the sky and clouds to cooperate.


    March 27, 2023 at 5:20 PM

    • I like to look aloft, even though getting a low enough vantage sometimes makes me struggle. The clouds that day were excellent, so I also photographed them in their own right.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 27, 2023 at 9:46 PM

  2. While I was poking around to see how close this sunflower comes to my area (not close at all), I noticed that the USDA site calls it ‘awnless bush sunflower.’ I suspect the absence of awns might have contributed to this one landing in Simsia rather than Helianthus. That’s pure speculation, of course.

    Their bushiness really shows up in that first photo, and I especially like the hairs on the stem and bracts in the last. Is that the same cliff as in your previous photo?


    March 27, 2023 at 10:14 PM

    • The reason you gave for the classification may be right, awnless it’s something else. But there’s no awncertainty about the cliff: it is the same one as in the previous photo. I didn’t want the cliff distracting from the plant but the layout was such that I could exclude the cliff only by also excluding all of the plant except the flower heads. One place I know in Austin was a reliable source of this species, however construction along Mopac may have eliminated it there. I need to go back and check.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 28, 2023 at 8:50 AM

  3. Muy bonitas, especialmente la tercera de ellas. Saludos

    • Desde hace mucho tiempo me han gustado fotos en las que el sujeto parece haber subido encima de las nubes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 28, 2023 at 8:36 AM

  4. They do look like tiny sunflowers! The other day two friends and I set out to look for flowers, we almost froze to death, were carried out by the wind and found none. Spring hasn’t sprung here yet.

    Alessandra Chaves

    March 28, 2023 at 7:48 AM

    • Glad you didn’t freeze; that would have put an end to your photographs. From the many you’ve been seeing here, it’s clear that spring is in full flower in central Texas. May it come quickly for you too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 28, 2023 at 8:54 AM

      • 42-49 F today and rain.

        Alessandra Chaves

        March 28, 2023 at 8:59 AM

        • Oy vey, as we say in New York. Actually that’s not unusual in many parts of the country. Some years ago we attended a wedding in Kansas City at the end of April and were hoping to travel further north from there. The weather forecasts were bad enough for all the places we looked at that we ended up driving back to Austin.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 28, 2023 at 9:05 AM

          • This is a very unusual year. Usually by now we are mostly in the 60s. A rain in April, somewhat rare. Rain in the forecast for next week.

            Alessandra Chaves

            March 28, 2023 at 9:07 AM

  5. They do look as if they’re stretching up to bathe in the sun.

    Ann Mackay

    March 28, 2023 at 11:06 AM

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