Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A vivid horsemint

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Horsemint Flowering by Clasping-Leaf Coneflowers and Firewheels 4657

In the previous post the indistinct purple in the background came from horsemints (Monarda citriodora). Now here’s a focused look at one of them, again in the Balcones District Park on May 13th. Pretty rich, huh? The supporting yellow belonged to clasping-leaf coneflowers (Dracopis amplexicaulis) and the red to the usual Indian blankets (Gaillardia pulchella).

Note: I’m away from home and will be for a while. Please understand if I’m late replying to your comments.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 14, 2016 at 5:03 AM

Conjoined firewheels

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Conjoined Firewheel Flower Heads 4547

In the Balcones District Park on May 13th I found these two firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella) flower heads conjoined back to back on a single stem. The fact that the stem was somewhat flattened makes me think fasciation* was at work here. The purple in the background came from horsemints (Monarda citriodora).

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* You can pronounce the sc in fasciation as ss or sh.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 12, 2016 at 5:00 AM

Barbara’s buttons, focused and not

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Barbara's Buttons Flower Heads .4070

Barbara’s buttons: Marshallia caespitosa.
Place: Allen Park.
Date: May 11.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 10, 2016 at 5:05 AM

Firewheel fading

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Firewheel Going to Seed with Dangling Ray 7448

Every spring you’ve seen pictures here of Gaillardia pulchella, the colorful wildflower called firewheel, Indian blanket, and blanket flower. One flower head* of that species provided background color in the photograph you saw last time. A firewheel’s flower heads are also appealing when they fade, as this one was doing on June 8th, 2015, along the Smith Memorial Trail. Of particular interest to me was the withered ray flower* that had fallen, had gotten caught on a bract—I think with the help of some spider silk—and was slowly spinning even in the slight noontime breeze. Oh, just try and stop that swirling: it will send your mind a-whirling.

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* If you’d like to review the meanings of the related terms disk flower, ray flower, and flower head, you’re welcome to turn back to a post from 2014.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 9, 2016 at 5:12 AM

Harmostes bug

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Harmostes Bug on Horesmint Flowers by Firewheel 7371

From June 8th, 2015—a year ago today—along Old Spicewood Springs Road, here’s a mostly side view of a bug in the genus Harmostes, which crowned some horsemint flowers, Monarda citriodora. The imaginary sunset in the background, whose warm colors contrasted so pleasingly with the green of the bug and parts of the horsemint that it dominated, was a firewheel, Gaillardia pulchella.

Note: I’m away from home and will be for a while. Please understand if I’m late replying to your comments.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 8, 2016 at 5:28 AM

5

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5 is a pleasant number. It’s a prime in its own right and is also the sum of the first two primes, 2 and 3. In addition (can you anticipate the pun?), 5 is the sum of the squares of two consecutive integers, 1 and 2. Those lesser integers 1, 2, and 3 are Fibonacci numbers, as is 5 itself. The most common stylized star that people draw has 5 points. Some plants have compound leaves with 5 leaflets. Other plants produce flowers with 5 petals or rays or stamens or sepals or bracts.

If I’m dwelling on the number 5, it’s because today marks the fifth anniversary of daily posts in Portraits of Wildflowers. Who’d have expected such day-after-day fidelity? Not I, going into it, yet WordPress tells me today’s post is number 1986 (on some days I did more than one). Breathe and drink and eat we must, but five years is a long time for a voluntary daily activity to last. Now I think it’s time to ease the pace a bit and not feel honor-bound, or maybe more realistically obsession-bound, to post every single day. There’ll still be plenty to see and show, especially as this has been a good wildflower spring. Here are two examples of that.

The first photograph portrays a colony of Gaillardia pulchella (firewheels, blanket flowers, Indian blankets) with some Engelmannia peristenia (Engelmann daisies) in the background along TX 20 east of Lockhart on May 3. Note in the lower left the seed pods of some Lupinus texensis (bluebonnets). The dark, dry vertical plants scattered among the firewheels seem to have been the remains of Indian paintbrushes (Castilleja indivisa).

Firewheel Colony with Engelmann Daisies and Bluebonnet Pods 2682

The second example of this spring’s great wildflowers comes from a still-undeveloped property along Louis Henna Blvd. in southern Round Rock on May 17. You’re looking at basket-flowers (Centaurea americana), Indian blankets (Gaillardia pulchella), greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium), and prairie bishop’s weed (Bifora americana).

Basket-Flower Colony with Other Wildflowers 4744

Now you’ve seen them. If you want to know the moral:
Landscapes are good when they’re abundantly floral.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

 

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 6, 2016 at 5:01 AM

Far from Brazoria and the Brazos River

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Prairie Brazoria Flowering 1067

Far from the Brazos River and Brazoria*, even into my neighborhood’s Great Hills Park, strays prairie brazoria, Warnockia (or Brazoria) scutellarioides, a species I’d shown here only once until this view from April 14.


 

* According to the USDA map, the closest that prairie brazoria grows to Brazoria is several counties away.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 5, 2016 at 5:04 AM

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