Update to Nemacladus tenuis Hook Pattern Design

We aren’t botanists, but we strive for botanical accuracy in our flower designs. It’s a tricky business when you’re dealing with slightly obscure flowers. So imagine our delight/horror/gratitude when a customer DM’d us about an inaccuracy in one of our designs! [Gasp!] This lovely customer said she loved the Nemacladus tenuis Hook Pattern Design, but the flowers were oriented incorrectly. When I responded thanking her for her keen observation, she said her master’s thesis paper was on Nemacladus. On her committee was Nancy Morin, author of Flora of North America North of Mexico and THE expert on Nemacladus. Well, you don’t hear that every day!! Even Tom Chester’s page on Nemacladus features pictures taken by Nancy Morin.[1]Tom Chester: Nemacladus O…M…G…!

Anyway, the N. tenuis flowers in our design are oriented in the same way as our Nemacladus rubescens design[2]TLB Nemacladus rubescens design, i.e., with the “wing” petals pointing down. According to our customer, the flower is resupinate[3]Resupination (or, as Jepson describes it inverted[4]Nemacladus tenuis, Jepson). Essentially, the flower is upside down. She writes:

N. tenuis used to be considered a variant of N. rubescens, and is closely related.I n the past, determinations were made based on dried material… They didn’t know about the resupination, or inverted trait. This trait seems to have some phylogenetic importance, but has evolved numerous times in the genus.

I don’t understand what that all means, but it IS exciting. lol. Who knew botany could be so riveting? For all those non-botany fanatics out there, the Flora of North America is an on-going series of publications covering, uh, flowers north of Mexico. It started three decades ago and isn’t yet complete! I’m still waiting for Flora of North America, volume 18 because that’s the one with Nemacladus[5]Flora of North America website, volume guide

What this means for us is two things: 1) we now have a friend for life, and 2) we need to update the design to reflect the resupination of N. tenuis’s flowers. 🙃

You can find Nemacladus on apparel and decor in our Lazy Beetle Etsy shop!

By |2021-01-13T19:18:17-08:00January 13th, 2021|Categories: Botanical Identification, Flower Design, Stories|Comments Off on Update to Nemacladus tenuis Hook Pattern Design

“Floret & The Sepals” presented by Encelia farinosa Anatomy

If I asked you to describe Encelia farinosa anatomy, where would you start? [Waiting for a response…] Ah! Compound flowers you say? That’s indeed a good starting point. So, what is a compound flower and what is the opposite of a compound flower?

Compound / Composite Flower

A compound or composite flower (aka pseudanthium) looks like a simple flower, but is comprised of a cluster of flowers (known as florets). These florets group together to form a single flower-like structure. Think of sunflowers and daisies. Like Encelia farinosa, they belong to the family Asteraceae.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Asteraceae is the capitulum. The capitulum, or flower head, includes ray florets (outside) and disc florets (inside). Accordingly, the outer “petals” are actually individual flowers (ray flowers) containing their own stamens and/or pistils. Though, in the case of Encelia farinosa, the ray florets are…sterile. And the center of the compound flower is a cluster of disc flowers, each of which produce their own seeds. Depending on the compound flower, you could have hundreds or even thousands of individual flowers! (That’s from Wikipedia, I can’t think of a compound flower with thousands of individual flowers…maybe certain sunflowers?!)

Encelia farinosa Anatomy Blog for Pinterest

Phenology

But to accurately depict Encelia farinosa anatomy, you gotta look at its phenology. Part of phenology is looking at the different stages of the flowers. The nice thing about Encelia farinosa is that you can see most, if not all, the various stages of ray floret and disk floret development in a single plant. While I haven’t found a document differentiating the various stages of Encelia farinosa disk florets, I found a study on Senecio vulgaris. In the study, the authors break down the capitulum development into eight stages. Eight stages!

As you can see, understanding flower anatomy is a huge part of flower design construction. Even if our design looks modern and somewhat abstract, we strive for botanical accuracy. The Encelia farinosa design saw many, many revisions. From defining the spiral of the disk florets to the number of stages depicted in the design. But that’s for another article…

By |2020-08-06T15:49:17-08:00April 23rd, 2020|Categories: A Perfumed Garden, Botanical Identification|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on “Floret & The Sepals” presented by Encelia farinosa Anatomy

Desert Five Spot (Eremalche rotundifolia)

The Desert Five Spot (Eremalche rotundifolia) is an interesting flower. Besides its distinctive markings, which lends it its common name, when it’s fully opened, it’s shaped like a globe. In that sense, it’s like the Desert Mallow.

Desert Five Spot (Eremalche rotundifolia) collage

Desert Five Spots (Eremalche rotundifolia)

By |2020-08-06T15:49:21-08:00April 5th, 2019|Categories: Botanical Identification, Desert Gallery, Galleries|Comments Off on Desert Five Spot (Eremalche rotundifolia)

Ditaxis lanceolata

Another little desert beauty: Ditaxis lanceolata. If you see a small plant with slender, lanceolate-shaped, hairy leaves, take a closer look. The flower is small and white and almost gets lost nestled in the fuzzy, white hairs. We usually find Ditaxis in the crevice of a rock or leaning next to a rock where it is slightly shaded. Just another beautiful and ephemeral desert flower…

We actually published a post of this picture of Ditaxis lanceolata back in 2016. But a few months ago, we printed this photograph through our fine art printer. Actually, we sent it to the printer a couple of times. The first print turned out way too yellow and dingy. So, we color corrected the image. The entire image is brighter and more accurately reflects the blueish light from the shadows. The second print was better, color-wise, but the paper wasn’t quite right. The third print on archival, cotton-based photography paper did the trick and now this image looks amazing!

By |2020-08-06T15:49:21-08:00March 19th, 2019|Categories: A Perfumed Garden, Botanical Identification, Desert Gallery|Comments Off on Ditaxis lanceolata

Two Brilliant Star-shaped Gilias

Gilias are some of my favorite flowers in the desert. They are so tiny and perfectly formed. I love looking at the blue anthers (what I called “pom-poms” for the longest time). I’m not sure what species of gilia this is, as there are many. I used to think it was the yellow-throated gilia, but I’m pretty sure that’s not correct (even though they do have yellow throats). To determine which gilia it is, one needs to look at the leaves. Unfortunately, I’d have to hunt down those old photos to see if I took an overview shot with leaves…

Star-shaped Gilia, portrait

For now, I’m going with either Desert Gilia (Gilia cana), Little Gilia (Gilia minor), or Star Gilia (Gilia stellata), though the color seems off for the last one…

This turned into a gorgeous fine art print!

By |2020-08-06T15:49:21-08:00February 22nd, 2019|Categories: Botanical Identification, Desert Gallery|Comments Off on Two Brilliant Star-shaped Gilias

Little Bee

This was originally published as The Princess and the Bee when we first photographed it. The Ghost Flower (Mohavea confertiflora) mimcs another flower, the Sand Blazing Star, to attract pollinators such as the Xeralictus bee, a native bee. Who needs to produce nectar when you can rely on floral mimicry?

The reason for re-publishing this image has everything to do with printing. The original print looks fine on screen, but was too yellow in print. The little bee was also lost… So Geoff made the decision to crop the image and zoom in on the bee.

By |2020-08-06T15:49:22-08:00February 20th, 2019|Categories: A Perfumed Garden, Botanical Identification, Desert Gallery|Comments Off on Little Bee

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum filipes)

This Snapdragon (Antirrhinum filipes) was a rare find! Found by our botanist friend, Colin, along the first loop of the Randall Henderson Trail at the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument (that is quite the mouthful…).

A beautiful and dainty flower that grows at the end of the tendril. How crazy is that. While using the macro lens, we bumped the tendril off the branch of White Ratnay, a few times; each time, re-wrapping the tendril oh-so carefully.

By |2020-08-06T15:49:22-08:00February 14th, 2019|Categories: A Perfumed Garden, Botanical Identification, Desert Gallery|Tags: , |Comments Off on Snapdragon (Antirrhinum filipes)

Desert Five-spot (Eremalche rotundifolia) Buds

Our local botanist friend took us to a location where Desert five-spot (Eremalche rotundifolia) grows. We found a number of plants, but none of them were open…yet. We’ve gone back twice only to discover that the flowers close at night and open later in the day (not at sunrise, which is when we prefer to go for the best light). What is that called, when a flower opens and closes?

The leaves also move during the day with the sun. What is that called when plants do that?

Also, it may still be a little early in the season for the flowers to fully open. Even if they keep teasing us with their slightly open buds. When will they open?

So many questions…

 

 

By |2019-02-09T10:19:33-08:00February 1st, 2019|Categories: A Perfumed Garden, Botanical Identification, Desert Gallery, Galleries|Comments Off on Desert Five-spot (Eremalche rotundifolia) Buds

Plantago Ovata

Plantago ovata is probably most famous as a common source of psyllium, a dietary fiber. But you can find the native variety throughout the desert. It’s a beautiful little plant with velvety leaves and slender stalks with a cluster of inflorescence at the tip. The individual flowers have four pointy petals with a translucent quality. Very dainty and lovely indeed…

 

By |2019-02-07T21:20:15-08:00January 31st, 2019|Categories: A Perfumed Garden, Botanical Identification, Desert Gallery|Comments Off on Plantago Ovata

Erodium texanum, aka Texas Filaree

We went to Coachella Valley Preserve looking for Loeseliastrum schottii and Desert Five Spot when we spotted this little guy: Erodium texanum. While the leaves have beautiful detail, it was the “inside” of the flower that caught our eye. A super sexy stigma surrounded by anthers that were just beginning to open…

Erodium texanum, overview, taken with the Sony alpha

Erodium texanum, overview, taken with the Sony alpha

An overview of the plant and flower. I love the petals on the ground—like breadcrumbs leading your eyes to the flower…

The flower and bud underneath. The petals look almost crinkled.

Close-up of Erodium texanum, taken with the Sony alpha

Close-up of Erodium texanum, taken with the Sony alpha

Ooh, and the sexy stigma surrounded by anthers/stamens.

The pictures above were all taken with the Sony alpha mirrorless camera. The pictures below are from the iPhone 6 with Ollo clip macro lens.

A close-up of the sepals.

A side shot of the flower and plant.

By |2019-01-30T21:45:03-08:00January 30th, 2019|Categories: Botanical Identification, Desert Gallery|Tags: , |Comments Off on Erodium texanum, aka Texas Filaree

Loeseliastrum schottii – or – low ceiling drums shot my eye…?

Low lighting conditions are always fun… and today was no exception! All clouds all the time made this little Loeseliastrum schottii as vivid as could be! Focus stacking does a pretty good job. However, I wonder if there’s any way to fine tune the focus/monitoring from the iPad?

Loeseliastrum schottii, side shot, with the Sony alpha

Loeseliastrum schottii, side shot, with the Sony alpha

 

The pictures taken above are from the Sony alpha mirrorless camera. The pictures below are from an iPhone 6 with Ollo clip macro lens. The iPhone is great for scouting out photo ops, especially for tiny flowers! It saves time and energy from having to set up the tripod, macro rail, camera, iPad monitor, etc only to discover that the subject matter may not be the best…

Loeseliastrum schottii, taken with iPhone 6 and Ollo clip macro lens

Loeseliastrum schottii, taken with iPhone 6 and Ollo clip macro lens

 

By |2019-01-30T21:45:13-08:00January 30th, 2019|Categories: Botanical Identification, Desert Gallery|Tags: , |Comments Off on Loeseliastrum schottii – or – low ceiling drums shot my eye…?

Design: Indigo Bush (Psorothamnus schottii)

The third botanical illustration features Indigo Bush, Psorothamnus schottii. This design was tricky in terms of color. It’s difficult to capture the blue-purple of the Indigo Bush flower. It’s even more difficult to print the color in CMYK! And depending on the paper, the colors appear either too dark or muddied.

Representing the androecium was also challenging (see our article on Indigo Bush details for a list of botanical terms). The artist was inspired by the lines of Erté in drawing the filaments.

By |2020-08-06T15:49:22-08:00November 27th, 2018|Categories: Botanical Identification, Flower Design|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Design: Indigo Bush (Psorothamnus schottii)