Portraits of Wildflowers

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Blue stars again

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Blue Stars Flowering 5174

Here’s a delicate wildflower that’s native in Austin and even grows on my western side of town but that I rarely see: Amsonia ciliata, known as blue stars. I felt fortunate to find a little group of them on undeveloped land at the corner of Old Spicewood Springs Rd. and Spicewood Springs Rd. on March 24th. (This is the same parcel where I’ve found ladies’ tresses orchids each November for the past few years.)

To see the places in the mostly southeastern United States where blue stars grow, you can check the USDA’s state-clickable map.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 30, 2014 at 6:04 AM

Blue stars buds

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Click for greater clarity.

 

In the last picture you could make out a few buds of Amsonia ciliata, but the blue stars of the plant’s flowers stole the show. This follow-up photograph gives the buds their due. It also lets you see the little hairs, or cilia, that explain the species name ciliata. This photograph comes from the same trip to Kathy Comer’s property northwest of Austin as the previous one.

For more information, and to see a state-clickable map of the places in the southeastern United States where blue stars grow, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 9, 2012 at 1:48 PM

Blue stars

with 20 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Here’s a wildflower that you may never have seen before. It’s not considered rare, but for some reason I rarely encounter it in Austin. It’s Amsonia ciliata, and you can tell why people commonly call it blue stars. I photographed these stylized stars on a March 17 field trip by the Williamson County chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas to Kathy Comer’s property northwest of Austin. In one of her meadows we found a whole colony of these plants in bloom, more altogether than I’d seen in my previous 13 years of taking pictures. I was happy.

For more information, and to see a state-clickable map of the places in the southeastern United States where blue stars grow, you can visit the USDA website.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 9, 2012 at 5:37 AM

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