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).


  1. I really like the way you see and the way you translate what you see. DH and I are planning to spend the winter in the Naples/Marco Island KOA, starting after Christmas. I can hardly wait to see your part of Florida over the extended period.

  2. Sue - thanks so much! I appreciate hearing that others enjoy what is my pleasure to see and write about. I love being able to explore the natural parts of Florida that others may overlook. I hope you get a chance to visit some of our beautiful parks and preserves - you'll be here when the weather is gorgeous but the traffic is not. :) We will be sketching in the Fakahatchee Preserve again this year, see the Event tab for information if you are interested!

  3. These soft greens in your sketch reminds me of the moss covered logs we saw in the forest this weekend. It was damp and cold here. Winter is working it's way into our area. Fun to see the gopher hole along with some beautiful flowers.

  4. Hi Lisa - your forest exploration sounds wonderful in spite of the cold and damp I love the colors and textures of moss-covered logs!

    I looked in vain for gopher tortoises, but they were all tucked away...The late afternoon sun really brought out the colors in everything; I just wish I could have caught it better -the yellows especially were blazing!

  5. This reminds me of some of my childhood haunts! Great job of balancing looseness and detail.

    A dip pen?! You're a brave woman!!

  6. Laure - I'm glad to spark memories of your childhood ramblings! Thank you...keeping it loose is especially challenging to me.

    The dip pen was not as scratchy as others I've used in the past. It is an old one that my sister gave me; maybe being "lightly used" helps.

    It was a joy to use on the Strathmore WC paper, which may also be a sturdier paper than some I've used in the past. I'll be trying it out again soon! :D

  7. Since I live in Florida, I'm especially interested in all your sketches and journals.. they are super. I would say Yellows are the hardest color to imitate.