Sunday, November 20, 2011

Coastal plain honeycomb head

I visited the Naples Preserve recently and saw these wonderful, lacy wildflowers glowing in the late afternoon sun. They were scattered along the boardwalk in different locations, and as I neared the end, I spotted an identification tag: coastal plain honeycomb head. This is the longest common name I’ve ever come across! Not only is it long, but it has a unique flavor as it rolls off the tongue. I gathered that it grows along the coastal plain, and that the flower or seed heads reminded someone of a honeycomb.

 That name (as well as its beauty) led me to take photos and do some sketching. Naples Preserve is a scrub habitat, and the ground you see in my journal entry is pure white sand. Living in soil that is dry, well-drained, nutrient-poor, and heat- and light-reflective takes some adaptation! Many plant species have deep tap roots to reach moister regions and to serve as anchor.

Coastal plain honeycomb head (Balduina angustifolia) is also known as yellow buttons, a more practical name if not quite as whimsical. This native wildflower is an annual, growing up to 3 feet high, and is commonly found in scrub and pinelands. A member of the huge Aster family, it has small linear leaves that lend the stems a feathery appearance.

 It’s found throughout Florida, and into the neighboring states of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. The genus name of Balduina honors William Baldwin, an American physician and botanist. The species name of angustifolia comes from the Latin for “narrow leaves.”

You can see that I've been experimenting with combinations of loose watercolor washes and tighter details.  For this page I also played with a dip pen, using watercolor instead of ink to create the delicate tracery of grasses and vines.  My new favorite toy!

You can click on the top image to see it larger on my Flickr photostream, then select the Actions down-arrow in the upper left, and click on view all sizes (6th choice down from the top).