Little Pink Stars

It’s always a treat to look down and find the little pink stars of Lady Bird’s Centaury, Centaurium texense. It always feels as if these are rare, but I don’t think they truly are. Just easily overlooked.

photo by Hugh D. Wilson

They’re diminutive plants, usually less than a hand-span high, with slender stems and narrow leaves. They disappear into the surrounding foliage, but when they bloom—wow! Hot pink stars with a tuft of bright yellow stamens and a yellow stigma. The ovary sits at the bottom of the long floral tube surrounded by a long calyx.

photo by A. Sergeev

The common name of this delightful wildflower honors Lady Bird Johnson, the former First Lady who passionately loved Texas’ wildflowers. She was the driving force behind the seeding of bluebonnets along the state’s highways, and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin is named for her.

There are other species of Centaurium in Texas, but this is the one that grows locally. I drew one plant, somewhat simplified since they tend to be a little bushy.

I charted it, then reversed it and rearranged the branches.

One uses darker shades for the shadowed petals and the undersides of the corollas on the folded flowers.

I like the second one better, both for color and for the shape of the plant. If I only put one in my large assemblage, it will be the one on the right.

I made quite a few changes to the shapes of the flowers from my original penciled chart. What looks fine in black and white doesn’t always “read” correctly once you see it in color. I thought for sure I had already used all the colors in my previous work, but no. Each chart so far has added at least one color to the developing palette of the whole. This design introduces some deeper shades in the DMC 600-605 color family, a series of cool pinks.

This is what it might look like stitched up, keeping in mind that the program tends to show skips in the stitching that wouldn’t be there in the finished product.

I’m reasonably happy with this. It certainly looks like what it’s supposed to, and it will be good to have a nice pop of pink in the big piece that will have all the plants together.