“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


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

Design: Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa)

Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) is almost as ubiquitous as Creosote in the Colorado/Sonoran Desert. Their silvery leaves are instantly recognizable and, in the spring, fragrant golden yellow flowers emerge filling out the round, bushy plant.

Encelia farinosa was an interesting flower design to conceptualize. First, most people recognize Brittlebush by the shape of the plant and the color of its leaves. But it’s hard to depict on a, say, small logo. Plus, it was a great opportunity to illustrate a compound flower with ray and disc flowers!

By |2020-08-06T15:49:20-08:00May 18th, 2019|Categories: Flower Design|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Design: Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa)

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…?

The Big Fagonia

A botanical geometry, by a maniacal geoffrey. Fagonia laevis (California fagonbush) has this awesome branching method with two leaves on the outside, followed inwardly by two sub-stalks, and then a bud/inflorescence/infructescence. Some of the pictures I’ve taken show two anthers out of eight being smooth, and the others all bumpy (for lack of a more scientific term). I’m not sure if this is a maturity issue or an anatomy issue.

Speaking of anatomy, let’s get technical. The Jepson Herbarium lists some information for Fagonia laevis, such as leaflet size (3-9 mm), petiole size (1-4 mm), flower size (1 cm), and information about the fruit. However, if you view the descriptions of the Higher Taxonomy, i.e., for the Genus: Fagonia and Family: Zygophyllaceae, there are more descriptions. (Get your glossary ready!)


The stem is spreading and angled.




There seems to be some mention of Fagonia in Ayurvedic medicine, but probably not the same species. Oh where, oh where is my DIY chromatography kit? Oh where, oh where can it be?

By |2018-11-27T23:10:19-08:00February 25th, 2018|Categories: Botanical Identification, Stories|Tags: , , , , , , , |Comments Off on The Big Fagonia

Karla Karlarificibilitudinitatibus

…If I were to find a new plant species, that’s what I would name it! Of course, this little beauty (and I do mean little) already has a name: Nemacladus rubescens, more ‘commonly’ known as Desert Nemacladus or Desert Threadplant. The Nemacladus rubescens that we found in Box Canyon (Mecca, CA) was about 2.5″ tall and flowers were approximately 1/16″ wide! Such incredible detail for such a tiny, tiny flower. Notice the glass-like sticks (the pistils?). When you tilt the flower up to sunlight, these little “sticks” reflect the light, like facets of a diamond. Incredible!

These tiny flowers are affectionately called “belly flowers,” because you have to get on your belly to see them!

Around the same area (er, Box Canyon), we found two more flowers in the Nemacladus genus: Nemacladus glanduliferus and Nemacladus tenuis.

By |2019-03-09T12:48:09-08:00March 18th, 2017|Categories: A Perfumed Garden, Botanical Identification, Desert Gallery, Flowers of San Jacinto|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Karla Karlarificibilitudinitatibus

Nicotiana and Encelia

We think Nicotiana Obtusifolia, and Encelia Farinosa… Hmm. Notice the clasped leaf structure. An early flower-er.

Nicotiana obtusifolia M. Martens & Galeotti
Habit: Perennial herb 2–8 dm, glandular-hairy, base often +- woody. Leaf: 2–10 cm; lower short-petioled, (ob)ovate; upper +- narrowly ovate, clasping. Inflorescence: bracts < 20 mm, linear to lanceolate. Flower: calyx 10–15 mm, lobes +- = tube, +- equal, narrowly triangular; corolla +- funnel-shaped, green-white or dull white, tube + throat 15–26 mm, limb 8–10 mm wide; stamens unequal, attached near tube base. Fruit: 8–10 mm.
Ecology: Gravelly or rocky washes, slopes; Elevation: < 1600 m. Bioregional Distribution: s SNE, D; Distribution Outside California: to Utah, Texas, Mexico. Flowering Time: Mar–Jun
Synonyms: Nicotiana trigonophylla Dunal
eFlora Treatment Author: Michael H. Nee
and some definitions from wikipedia: petiole,
By |2018-08-20T16:49:46-08:00February 8th, 2017|Categories: Botanical Identification|Tags: , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Nicotiana and Encelia