Waiting for the Fog to Lift

On March 5, the fog enshrouding Goliad lifted slowly, allowing time to seek out and photograph flowers other than the white prickly poppies that first had claimed my attention. In the midst of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush, assorted yellow and pink blossoms added interest to the fields, and fog condensing into droplets added interest to the flowers.

Since cutleaf evening primrose usually blooms at night, this one probably was closing; the small yellow blooms often show a wash of pink or orange as they age. Here, the heart-shaped petals had begun to fold; the droplets on their surface suggested hobnail glass.

Cutleaf Evening Primrose ~ Oenothera laciniata

Once included with the gauras, various beeblossoms now are members of the Oenothera genus. One clue to their identity is the deeply divided four-part stigma visible here. In a bit of an understatement, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center notes that “the genus is easily recognized, but the species are sometimes difficult, due partly to a great deal of hybridization.” That said, the leaves and stems of this one suggest Lindheimer’s beeblossom.

Lindheimer’s Beeblossom ~ Oenothera lindheimeri

Huisache daisy was named for its tendency to grow among huisache trees: a species of acacia abundant in Texas scrublands. Several unique features contributed to this plant being assigned its own genus, such as semitransparent, papery, square-topped scales that form the pappus, rather than hairs or spines. When in bloom, its domed disc flowers are especially attractive; when covered in dew, the fine hairs along its stem become visible.

Huisache Daisy ~ Amblyolepis setigera

The graceful curve of velvet weed has led to another common name: lizard-tail gaura. As the plant develops, it can become four to six feet tall, making it easy to spot in the landscape.

Velvetweed ~ Oenothera curtiflora

Like Maximilian sunflower, bush sunflower, and Illinois bundleflower, Engelmann’s daisy is one of Texas’s most recognizable perennial forbs. Named for George Engelmann, the German-American physician and botanist who helped to found the Missouri Botanic Garden, it begins to flower in early spring, and sometimes re-blooms in the fall.

Also known as cutleaf daisy because of its deeply lobed leaves, it often appears along roadsides in the company of green milkweed, phlox, and coreopsis. On the other hand, livestock, antelope, and deer find it highly palatable; over the years, foraging animals can graze it out of a pasture. Gardeners in deer-rich urban settings should be mindful that this beautiful and tasty combination might be difficult to sustain.

Engelmann’s Daisy ~ Engelmannia peristenia


Comments always are welcome.

72 thoughts on “Waiting for the Fog to Lift

    1. And each one so different from the others; that’s part of their charm. Even the ones that are in the same botanical family are splendid in their way. I never can stop looking!

      1. I feel the same way; delightful blooms make me stare and wonder how beautiful they can be! I am amazed at how flowers from the same species have different colors and sometimes the similarities are not obvious to me. Maybe to the trained eye but to me, it takes time.

        1. It does take time — and being ‘out there’ in nature. Books are important, but books alone can’t provide the experience that helps us learn the ‘habits’ of the flowers.

    1. I did, and there are two others from that morning that probably — might be — in your garden, and certainly are in Tina’s. They’re among the ‘blues,’ though, and deserve their own entries.

    1. You’re wearing your Michigan glasses, Jean! Those aren’t ice crystals, but droplets of condensed dew. Out of curiosity, I looked up the temperature that day, and it was about 52F at sunrise — plenty of fog, but not a bit of ice. That said, the droplets do look crystalline, and they’re just as pretty as ice ever thought of being.

    1. And that morning, there wasn’t a breath of wind; there hadn’t been since the night before. Conditions were perfect for that sort of condensation. I do favor the huisache daisy myself, although the cutleaf primrose looks remarkably like one of my mother’s milk glass hobnail candy dishes.

      1. I have a hobnail glass bottle with stopper (the cork has disintegrated) from my mother that I use as a bud vase. It once held perfume from Avon, circa 1940s.

            1. I wondered if it might have been Fenton. They produced a lot of hobnail glassware: much of it in wonderful colors. My mother had a pink clear glass hobnail basket made by Fenton that always was part of her Easter decorations. Hobnail’s never been one of my favorites, but the vintage pieces have held their value well over the years; a lot of collectors seem to adore it.

    1. I took a quick look, and found that the cutleaf evening primrose does make it to Maine, but it’s shown only in a couple of coastal counties. I do enjoy looking at the way flowers adapt themselves to certain environments. We don’t have Siberian squill, for example, but it’s showing up all over the northeast just now. There’s something for everyone!

    1. I wondered if anyone would notice the spider silk, and you did. I’ve already seen a few young crab spiders, but they were so small I wasn’t able to get a decent photo. The boats are catching ‘ballooning’ baby spiders now; if the sun is right, you can see thousands of silk strands caught on the rigging.

    1. Even at the height of bluebonnet season, there are other bits of ‘eye candy’ in bloom. I was pleased to find such variety on this morning; the huisache daisy is one of my favorites.

  1. The dew did a good job delineating all those fine hairs on the opening huisache daisy. The dome of disc flowers you mentioned is the main way I recognize this species, which is uncommon in Travis County.

    The dew did an especially nice job on your cutleaf evening primrose closeup. Not familiar with the term “hobnail glass,” I looked it up and recognized that kind of glass. In the process I learned there’s an informative Glass Encyclopedia.

    I’ve always had trouble telling gaura species apart. Now you’ve provided justification: “the genus is easily recognized, but the species are sometimes difficult, due partly to a great deal of hybridization.”

    Some sources call velvetweed “weedy.” In contrast, I’ve always enjoyed those upside-down-U inflorescences, as your portrait shows you also did.

    1. I found several sites that agreed about the ‘weedy’ nature of velvetweed. Thinking back to the first times I found it at Brazoria in autumn, I can understand that: tall, lanky, mostly leafless, and brown could have led me to think ‘weed’ in former days. I did learn something interesting about its seed pods. As they form, they point upward and stay close to the stem. In time, they reverse and point downward, at a bit of an angle away from the stem.

      I really enjoy finding huisache daisy. It’s like the Texas star; as it declines, all of its stages are interesting, and some can be quite attractive. The ray flowers sometimes curl so tightly before they fall off, they look like little spindles.

  2. miracle of miracles! I clicked on the link to this post of my blog and it took me straight here…no warning page first! my niece and her husband live in Goliad. lovely photos as usual.

    1. I’ve never been so happy for someone else’s computer woes to be resolved! (Now, I’m doing a little superstitious knocking on my wooden desk, just in case.) Goliad’s a great place. I spent a few nights in the Presidio there — quite an experience. And they do have beautiful flowers!

  3. You’ve captured these blooms and such, with their decorative drops so beautifully. The only one I’m familiar with is the Engelmann’s daisy–I have scads of them. Who knew they would seed out so much! Fortunately, they transplant nicely.

    1. It surprises me that you don’t have gaura, as well — of one sort or another. Somehow I thought I remembered you mentioning it, but my memory isn’t always trustworthy. I do love the Engelmann’s daisy; it was one of the first plants I learned to know from its earliest stages, thanks to those fancy leaves. It combines so well with bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush, although it’s impressive enough on its own.

    1. I’ve always noticed dewy spider webs — they can be hard to miss — but I’d never paid much attention to dewy flowers until recent years. The great advantage of a windless fog is that it can decorate entire plants, and stay in place until sunlight and warmth does away with it.

    1. I didn’t realize what a great effect I’d captured until I saw the photo on the computer. I knew the flower was droplet-covered, but I didn’t realize how evenly distributed the drops were. As soon as I saw that, I thought, “Hobnail glass!” It was quite the thing back in the day. It seemed as though every woman in my mom’s circle had a milk glass cake plate with hobnail trim.

    1. Here’s an older post from Goliad that shows the daisy in various stages. When I first came across them, they were well into decline, and it took a while for me to figure out what I was seeing. Now, they’re one of my favorites. The USDA map shows them in nearly every county in your area. For some reason it amuses me that Bee County is the one where they don’t appear: or, more likely, haven’t been reported. Bees certainly do love the flower.

  4. I like the one with the hairy stem that looked bejeweled by the dew. Pictures are great, but nature is at its best when it’s “already in progress.”

    1. You’ve been living with some of that nature-in-progress yourself, in the form of your orchids. Wherever and however it’s experienced, it’s wonderful. I thought of you yesterday when I found the first of two species of native Texas orchids for the year; I’d never seen one of them, so even if I don’t get a chance for better photos, I have an image to share.

    1. All it took was the mention of ‘fuzzy’ for me to wonder: have you ever felted flowers? It might be a little tricky, but I certainly can imagine that daisy as a felted creation. The fuzz from the yarn would be a perfect representation of the fuzziness on the stem.

      1. Flat-ish flowers wouldn’t be too hard but ones with a standing stem could be tricky, as I’m not sure the “stem” could take the balance of a bloom on top. It would be fun to do a furry stem, though!

    1. For such a small and relatively common flower, that primrose became special with the addition of the dew drops. We tend to be windy here, even when things are damp, but on that morning there wasn’t a breath of wind until the afternoon. That meant I was free to take my time, prowl around, and look a variety of ‘jeweled’ flowers. The more I look at the primrose, the more amazed I am. How all those drops developed, so evenly spaced and not running into one another, is something to behold.

    1. Such kind words, Gretchen! As you’ve so often noted in the context of your own garden, beauty surrounds us; we only need pause now and then to notice it. I certainly noticed the effects of this dew, and I was pleased to be able to capture them to share.

  5. Love all the dewy accessories of these blooms. That was interesting about lindheimeri — I’ve only found bright pink and white varieties (and whites that revert to pink) in my area. Someone did isolate a variegated leaf version but I’m not sure it was an on-purpose hybrid.

    1. From what I’ve seen online, bee blossoms have a lot of cultivars: bushy and short, or tall and lanky, and all with those wonderful flowers. There’s a pretty white cultivar called ‘whirling butterflies.’ It’s a fanciful but perfect description of the movement of the flowers on their branch.

    1. You’re right about the ability of dew to form and cling in an especially attractive way. It does seem magical at times: perhaps it’s a form of voo-dew.

  6. I continue to be impressed with the plethora of species in your meadows and fields. I do get to see some locations here with a somewhat wide variety of flowers but nothing like what Texas offers. And, as you might guess, I am also thrilled to see flowers and other plants covered with dew drops.

    1. My one foggy morning certainly provided some great photographic opportunities. There were two other flowers budding and blooming on this day, and they’ll have their turn to shine, too. Both were the loveliest blues imaginable — a color captured in their names: blue curls, and blue stars.

      You comment about the variety of flowers in the state sent me looking. It seems we have about 5,000 species of wildflowers. I’d better get busy!

        1. No way. I’ve watched friends turn from people who enjoy birds to people who obsess over their lists. It’s not something that has to happen, but it often does. I don’t want to tick flowers off a list; I want to make friends with them, and remember them that way.

          1. I was kidding, of course. I never would take you for a “lister” and your description of how you wish your relationship to be with them is what I imagined. I’ve experienced what it can be like when a rare bird is sighted and the hoards of life listers descend upon the location. It ain’t pretty.

            1. I’ve seen the same thing. When the crowds show up, I go in the other direction. On the other hand, I went on a wildflower walk yesterday with seven other people, and it was a terrific experience. Of course, the leader was the same fellow who wrote the book I use as my primary orchid reference, so there’s that.

            2. A “No way” for me would be to take part in one of those landscape shots you see with about a hundred of your newest friends shooting a desert arch sunrise elbow to elbow with you. I have little interest in chasing iconic landscape shots. Even when I go to Acadia I rarely see more than a couple other photographers and avoid the popular spots.

            3. Given our preferences, it occurs to me that we could photograph together, but I’ve also noticed that the presence of even one other person can get me a little ‘off target.’ That’s why yesterday I did no photography during the wildflower walk, and went back after it was over to try for a few images.

          2. I am sure that we could. I am the same about having someone around when shooting. The only person I have successfully, or rather comfortably, shot with was my buddy Mark, the moose photographer, who like me was all business when photographing. We did our talking while walking, although occasionally shooting moose antics would cause a few guffaws.

  7. Other blooms may grab the headlines, but these examples prove there is an incredible diversity of beauty to savor when one truly observes.

    I really love a foggy morning. It can offer such a different perspective on the landscape. We see a flower decorated in droplets and the hairy stems are highlighted and we wonder if we ever realized those stems were hairy.

    Our local Beeblossom variety, Oenothera simulans, Southern Beeblossom is pushing up along every path we’ve taken in the past couple of weeks.

    Thank you, Linda, for sharing some fabulous foggy photographs!

    1. I’ve come to really appreciate the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s pages for your flowers. When I looked up your Southern Beeblossom, I found that the description included a bit about the unusual pollen strings that are produced by plants in the Oenothera genus: “The pollen grains are held together by a threadlike substance and can only be collected by pollinators that are morphologically specialized.” While I’ve found mention of those strings in descriptions of our Pink Evening Primrose and Beach Primrose, I’ve never before found a mention of them vis-a-vis Beeblossoms. Cool!

      I felt incredibly lucky to find such an assortment of flowers on that single, foggy morning. It was as though Nature said, “As long as you were willing to white-knuckle it up the road, I’ll give you an extra treat.”

    1. We’re spoiled, for sure. It amazes me that so many people don’t have a clue about the riches that surround them; it takes so little time to just look around.

    1. They certainly are. Condensed fog probably is more common here than I realize, but our fog so often comes with wind this sort of effect doesn’t develop. It was pure pleasure to have this morning to play with it.

    1. Since it was early March, everything was especially fresh. Even without dew, most flowers I saw hadn’t yet been munched on — but their time was coming!

  8. I’m not sure I’ve thought about fog and how it creates some of those wonderful droplets on flowers, but of course that makes perfect sense. Guess that shows how infrequently I get out in the fog. Beautiful collection here.

    1. I see plenty of fog-bejeweled rigging and spiderwebs on my boats, and of course I’ve seen other photographers who work magic with it in the natural world, but I’m just not one who’s going to hit the road in fog just to see what I can see. But… in this instance, given the schedule I was one, if I’d hung around drinking coffee and waiting for it to lift, I could have lost a half-day’s exploration. So, off I went, white-knuckling it down the road. It certainly was worth it! I’ll trade white knuckles for white flowers any day.

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