Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘sunflowers

Yellow to the max

with 29 comments

How could I go through the fall and not let you feast your eyes on some more Maximilian sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani)? I took the first two pictures along McKinney Falls Parkway in southeast Austin on October 10th. The light-gray band across the upper part of the photograph above was morning fog, which I rarely get to see in my part of the world (maybe ’cause I don’t go out early enough or to the right places).

And how could I not include at least one picture of Maximilian sunflowers with a clear blue sky? The one below is from October 6th on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin.

As an unrelated quotation for today, here’s a “decalogue of canons for observation in practical life” that Thomas Jefferson put forth in 1825, the year before his death.

      1. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do to-day.
      2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
      3. Never spend your money before you have it.
      4. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
      5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.
      6. We never repent of having eaten too little.
      7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
      8. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened!
      9. Take things always by their smooth handle.
      10. When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 18, 2020 at 4:36 AM

What will fall call forth?

with 22 comments

One of central Texas’s answers to the title question is Maximilian sunflowers, Helianthus maximiliani.
All these pictures are from the morning of September 25th along Orleans Dr.*

Like people, individual Maximilian sunflower flower heads can vary a lot,
so here’s another one in the same colony for comparison:

* Orleans Dr. is a neighborhood street without a neighborhood. That southeast Austin street and adjacent ones were once lined with houses, but nearby Onion Creek has flooded often enough to make living there untenable. A few years ago the city government bought out the homeowners and had the houses torn down. Google has only partly caught up to that reality. Here’s a correctly houseless view showing where I photographed the Maximilian sunflowers. At the same time, here’s a view that incorrectly shows houses that are now ghosts.

And let that be a lead-in to a quotation for today: “Are we not Spirits, that are shaped into a body, into an Appearance; and that fade away again into air and Invisibility? Oh, Heaven, it is mysterious, it is awful to consider that we not only carry a future Ghost within us; but are, in very deed, Ghosts! These Limbs, whence had we them; this stormy Force; this life-blood with its burning Passion? They are dust and shadow; a Shadow-system gathered round our Me; wherein, through some moments or years, the Divine Essence is to be revealed in the Flesh.” — Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 2, 2020 at 4:22 AM

Above and beyond the call

with 8 comments

Above and beyond the call of yellow put forth in the lower foreground by camphorweed (Heterotheca subaxillaris), you’ll find leanings and standings of Maximilian sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani). Reaching in from the bottom left are some branches of paloverde (Parkinsonia aculeata).

This fall prairie display graced an undeveloped property along Joe Barbee Dr. in far north Austin on October 12th. I occasionally saw other Maximilian sunflowers around Austin through November. Just two days ago I found a few in the northern suburb of Cedar Park; while the bit of snow we’d had left their ray flowers bedraggled, the plants still stood erect.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 11, 2017 at 5:28 PM

And here’s a look at those Maximilian sunflowers in their own right

with 40 comments


Behold some Helianthus maximiliani along the North Walnut Creek Trail on July 24th. A couple of nearby Maximilian sunflower flower heads played the role of the golden glow behind the bluebell in yesterday’s portrait. I’ll repeat what I mentioned in a comment: I’d already found some Maximilian sunflowers blossoming along this trail on June 21st, a good two months before even the earliest part of their traditional bloom period. Let me add that last year in my neighborhood I found one of these plants flowering on May 5th. Regardless of the season, Maximilian sunflowers always strike me as cheerful.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 26, 2017 at 4:53 AM

Sunflowers started coming out early this year

with 11 comments

Sunflower Flower Head in Colony 6062

Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) started coming out in April this year, but I didn’t spend any time with a group of them till May 29th. The colony shown here on that date was in the same place on the west side of Capital of Texas Highway that I’d found it the year before, adjacent to a seasonal stand selling peaches from Fredericksburg.

Sunflowers are always so cheery.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 25, 2016 at 5:00 AM

First Maximilian sunflowers of the season

with 24 comments

Maximilian Sunflower Flower Heads 4940

Since July I’d been seeing occasional Maximilian sunflower plants, Helianthus maximiliani, but September 5th was the first time this year that I noticed any flowering. The location of this floral epiphany was the land around one of the ponds near the Costco in Cedar Park.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 9, 2015 at 5:37 AM

%d bloggers like this: