Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘fasciation

A malformed four-nerve daisy bud

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Malformed Tetraneuris Bud 2921

Among the four-nerve daisies (Tetraneuris linearifolia) that I photographed on Bluegrass Dr. on January 29th, I noticed one bud that had folded in on itself in an unnatural way that I’d never seen in this species and that might have been an instance of fasciation. If you’d like, you can compare the way a four-nerve daisy bud normally opens. You can also click the fasciation tag below to scroll down through previous posts showing other afflicted species.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 6, 2016 at 5:01 AM

Fasciated saguaro

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Fasciated and Backlit Saguaro 3652

In a post last October that showed a fasciated spectacle pod plant in Albuquerque, I mentioned that it was one of four such specimens I saw on my Southwest trip. I promised you’d see more, so here’s one of two fasciated saguaros (Carnegiea gigantea) that I saw in Arizona. The photograph is from October 3, 2014, in the Rincon Mountain District of Saguaro National Park on the east side of Tucson.

If you’re new to fasciation, also known as cristation, or if you’d like a refresher, you can read an introductory article that coincidentally includes a picture from Saguaro National Park, although it’s the part of the park on the other side of Tucson from the one that provided today’s photograph.

This gigantic fasciation marks the conclusion of the saguaro miniseries that’s been fascinating you for several days.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 16, 2015 at 5:18 AM

A spectacle, but not your conventional spectacles

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Spectacle Pod Fasciated 0315A

Two-and-a-half hours after I learned about the existence of spectacle pod, Dimorphocarpa wislizeni, on September 23rd outside the visitor center at Petroglyph National Monument in northwest Albuquerque, I came across a fasciated specimen in the Piedras Marcadas section of the national monument. Long-time readers of this blog know the fascination of fasciation, but those of you who are unfamiliar with this type of weird growth are welcome to read a few articles about it:

What Is Fasciation?

Fasciation

Fasciated Plants (Crested Plants)

The spectacle pod in today’s photograph was the first of four fasciated plants I saw on my trip through the Southwest. One of the other specimens was on a smaller scale, but the other two were gigantic, the largest I’ve ever come across or even heard about, as you’ll see in a future post.

By the way, the flattened “ribbon” of this spectacle pod keeps reminding me of the similarly shaped bundle of wires inside the dot-matrix ImageWriter printer I got in 1985. I hadn’t thought of it in years, but the comparison strikes me as apt.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 17, 2014 at 4:37 AM

Fasciated horseweed

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Horseweed Fasciated 6673

Click for greater clarity and size.

When I went to Bastrop State Park on September 6th, another native plant I noticed was horseweed, Conyza canadensis, the third species in a row to make its debut in these pages. The common name tells you that many people consider this plant a weed, but it was doing its job of bringing abundant green to some of the land made bare by the conflagration of 2011. I even found one horseweed that was noticeably fasciated, and that’s the one you’re seeing here.

If fasciation is new to you or you’d like a refresher, you can find a discussion of the phenomenon in a post about a fasciated Liatris from a couple of years ago. Posts since then have shown examples of five other fasciated species:

firewheel;

poverty weed;

prairie verbena;

old plainsman;

Texas mountain laurel.

So, while fasciation isn’t common, it’s apparently not all that rare, either, given that four of the seven examples are from this year alone.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 15, 2013 at 6:02 AM

Another fasciated species

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Fasciated Texas Mountain Laurel Raceme Remains 4274A

Nan Hampton knows my fascination with fasciation, so when we both attended the August 13th meeting of a music group she told me about a fasciated Texas mountain laurel, Sophora secundiflora, that she’d seen in her neighborhood. The next morning I went to the location she’d indicated and photographed what you see here. The upper parts of these structures are normal, but the parts farther down that flatten and flare out are fasciated.

If fasciation is new to you or you’d like a refresher, you can find a discussion of the phenomenon in a post about a fasciated Liatris I ran across a couple of years ago. Other posts since then have shown a fasciated firewheel, poverty weed, prairie verbena, and old plainsman.

If you’re not familiar with Texas mountain laurel you can check out past posts about this fragrantly flowerful little tree.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 9, 2013 at 6:10 AM

The plight of one plainsman

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Old Plainsman Buds Fasciated 8398

Although the colony of old plainsman, Hymenopappus scabiosaeus, that I found on April 12 at the corner of Corral Ln. and I-35 in south Austin was remarkable for its size and density, one detail caught my attention: a single old plainsman plant that had become fasciated.

A post from August 2011 explained “what botanists call fasciation, a word based, with some imagination, on the Latin fascia that meant ‘a strip of material, ribbon, band, bandage, swathe.’ As Dr. T. Ombrello wrote: ‘One interesting type of mistake that is occasionally found in plants is known as a fasciated or crested growth form. It is usually the result of a growing point changing from a round dome of cells into a crescent shape. Subsequent growth produces a flat stem. In some cases fasciation is the result of several embryonic growing points fusing together, with the same flat-stem appearance.'”

In this close photograph of old plainsman, the lower group of buds looks pretty normal, but the upper group is clearly fasciated, with its buds flattening out into a row rather than forming a round cluster.

If you have a fascination with fasciation, you can look back at a firewheel and a poverty weed plant that suffered from that condition.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 21, 2013 at 6:18 AM

Fiddlehead fasciation

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On February 21st, for the first time in maybe half a year, I went out to the sumpy place on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin where I found so many things to photograph in the late spring of 2011.* Even in this winter-turned-spring of 2012, February 21st proved too early for me to find any native wildflowers there, but hardly had I started walking when I came across the formation that you see in today’s photograph. It was a young poverty weed, Baccharis neglecta, a species that has figured several times in these pages. What was unusual, though, was the deformation, in this case a spiral, that had beset it and that botanists call fasciation. (You can read more about the phenomenon in a post from last year, where the afflicted plant was a Liatris mucronata. You can also see an afflicted firewheel, the type of flower that appeared most recently in this blog a couple of weeks ago.) From the way certain ferns look when they unfurl, I borrowed the term fiddlehead for today’s alliterative title (and of course that name for the ferns had been inspired by the scrolls in which the necks of violins end, so this is a double borrowing).

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* If you’d like a reminder of some of those things, or if you weren’t visiting this blog last spring, here are a few of them:

a pennant dragonfly

a sunflower colony

a bluebell bud

a lady beetle

a tiny snail

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 6, 2012 at 5:40 AM

Fasciated flowers

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Click for greater clarity.

After yesterday’s post about the fasciated stalk of a Liatris mucronata plant, John Mac Carpenter asked whether flowers are ever subject to that deformity too. I said that they are, and here’s an example to prove it. You’re looking at a fasciated flower head of Gaillardia pulchella, commonly called Indian blanket and firewheel. The darker disk that you see in the middle would normally be at the center of a “wheel” of colorful rays, but in this case the disk makes an upside-down U perpendicular to the plane of the U made by the visible rays, continuing over the top of the center and down the back of the flower head; in other words, the view from the opposite side is about the same as the view shown here. If all that is hard to visualize, here’s a picture of the same flower head from a position 90° to the side:

Click for greater clarity.

I found this deformed flower head on the ranch of our friends in Marble Falls, a town in the Texas Hill Country about an hour west of Austin, on May 8, 2010. That was one of the best seasons in recent years for wildflowers, thanks to lots of rain in the winter and spring.

You can visit the USDA website for more information about Gaillardia pulchella, including a clickable map showing the many places that the species grows.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 25, 2011 at 6:00 AM

It was fasciation, I know*

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Liatris mucronata Fasciated 1226

If the seed head of eastern gamagrass shown in a recent post was deformed, so was the stalk of the Liatris mucronata plant shown here, which I found growing on the prairie in far north Austin on August 2. In contrast to the eastern gamagrass, this plant was suffering from what botanists call fasciation, a word based, with some imagination, on the Latin fascia that meant ‘a strip of material, ribbon, band, bandage, swathe.’ As Dr. T. Ombrello wrote: “One interesting type of mistake that is occasionally found in plants is known as a fasciated or crested growth form. It is usually the result of a growing point changing from a round dome of cells into a crescent shape. Subsequent growth produces a flat stem. In some cases fasciation is the result of several embryonic growing points fusing together, with the same flat-stem appearance.”

The deformed flower stalk of eastern gamagrass shown in the recent post was one of a kind: the other nearby plants of that species were normal. In contrast, the Liatris mucronata in today’s photograph was one of several fasciated plants of that species growing in close proximity.

Update: see the following post to compare a few normal spikes from this species.

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* The title of today’s post is an allusion to the classic song that begins with the line “It was fascination, I know.”

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 24, 2011 at 5:56 AM

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