I am a philologist, a lover of words. As an English and Latin double major in college, I pursued my love of language (even through the trials of reading Beowulf in its original Old English). As you have seen in many of my previous posts on nature, I like to include the taxonomic name of the plants, not because I want to show off my knowledge of nature – it’s a notch above rudimentary, at best – but because I love the Latin names. A white oak is so much more august as a Quercus Alba, or the sweet-gum tree as Liquidambar Styraciflua, which literally means a tree flowing with amber liquid (referring to the gum that exudes from the tree when it is cut).
In this vein, I give you a (false) dent de lion, a lion’s-tooth flower, better known as a dandelion. Although the appellation refers to the coarsely toothed leaves, this photograph – one of my early macro lens experiments – focuses on the petals and the pseudanthium, or false flower head in the middle, which is actually a small cluster of tiny flowers grouped together. The pictured flower is actually a false dandelion, or a Carolina desert chicory flower (Pyrrhopappus Carolinianus).
The simplicity of the composition is appealing to me on the one hand, and on the other, I have always been troubled by the dead center focus on the flower. Unfortunately, when I was first taking my macro shots, I was more concerned with aperture and focus than I was with composition. I have sincerely amended my ways. Nevertheless, the clarity and the stark contrast of the petals and the void behind them have always been pleasing to me.
Click here for a larger version.