“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

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)

Design: Fagonia laevis

The first flower design and the flower that started it all! Not only did we have a ton of pictures and videos of Fagonia laevis, but the more we (er, Geoff) looked at them, a pattern started to emerge. The way that the plant branched out, how flowers emerged from each branch, the number of stamens, the appearance of stipules, etc. And in creating the design, we learned about botany and the anatomy of flowers.

That was the beginning of the Flower Design series…

By |2020-08-06T15:49:20-08:00May 14th, 2019|Categories: Flower Design, Uncategorized|Tags: , |Comments Off on Design: Fagonia laevis

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)

Design: Nemacladus Rubescens

The second design in the botanical illustration series of desert flowers: Nemacladus rubescens. This tiny flower sure does pack a punch!

Nemacladus rubescens

Nemacladus rubescens

There is SO much going on with this little flower. Just check out the Jepson Herbarium’s description of Nemacladus Rubescens.

While they are not “rare,” due to their size, they are hard to find. A great resource for locating California native plants is Calflora, which shows the distribution of Nemacladus Rubescens based on observations.

For amazing macro shots of Nemacladus and illustrations of its anatomy, check out (the appropriately subtitled) Minute Beautiful Wildflowers That Are Difficult To Photograph. The same website provides a possible explanation of the “glistening cells” that are so distinctive to Nemcladus. Possibly to attract insects, as seen by these bees and wasps.

But wait, there’s more! More photographs from a different siting location, Henderson Canyon. And then there are watercolor botanical illustrations of three species of Nemacladus, including rubescens. And multiple species of Nemacladus on Tom Chester’s website.

Happy Nemacladus!

By |2019-07-19T09:41:54-08:00July 30th, 2018|Categories: Botanical Identification, Flower Design|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Design: Nemacladus Rubescens