Greenthread on the Rolling Plains


This might be the second most dominant composit, or member of the sunflower family, that is flowering out here in the western part of north-central Texas.  We are experiencing a very dry spring so I feel lucky to have the few early spring wildflowers that are presently in bloom.  Greenthread, or Thelesperma filifolium, is an annual or short-lived perennial commonly found in prairies, roadsides and disturbed areas.

For those who are not familiar with the floral structure of flowers in the sunflower family the first thing to know is that the above image is actually an entire inflorescence, a collection of about 20-25 flowers.  The yellow “petals” you see along the outside of the flower head are called ray florets and the different-looking florets in the middle of the head are called disk florets.  I really like the reddish-brown color of the disk florets in Greenthread.


The above image shows the plant habit with the linear leaves.  Also notice that the grasses surrounding are colorless, a good confirmation of our state or dryness.  Greenthread occurs in the same habitat as Engelmann’s Daisy (previous post) and the two make a good spring duo.

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