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YELLOW DAISY Helianthus porteri

“The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and kind in all His deeds” Psalm 145:17.

Righteousness is defined by Webster as acts within divine law. When applied to God it denotes behavior that consistently and lovingly promotes the wellbeing of all creation, especially humans as the highest order of creation. Righteousness is characterized by love that seeks the very best for each of us. Therefore, for us, righteous behavior is reflected by traits such as humility, gentleness, courtesy, patience, self-control, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and peacefulness.

YELLOW DAISY Helianthus porteri

The yellow daisies is testimony to God’s righteous ways, especially expressed in the latter part of the scripture verse, He is “kind in all His deeds.” For some readers, the granite outcroppings of this area of Georgia are ugly eye-sores. To others they are a fascinating treasure that provides unique habitats for a great variety of plants that grow nowhere else.

To illustrate how granite outcroppings appear useless to some landowners, note the dead trees, shrubs, rusty barrels, old tires, and even broken down cars and trucks that are deposited on some across our countryside. Yet, even amid such desecration, God kindly nurtures beauty from early spring Tradescantias to late fall yellow daisies, elsewhere known as Viguiera.

Each year a very large fall festival is held at Stone Mountain Park, named after this rather unique wildflower. According to a front page caption in Sunday’s Citizen several years ago, this plant was discovered in 1846. That implies it may be one of those plants that resulted from cross pollination or that for centuries it was assumed to be a variety of Coreopsis. Coreopsis blooms (Coreopsis grandiflora) are abundant along our roadsides from May to August.

♦ The yellow daisies is in the Aster Family and grows in shallow soil bordering granite outcroppings or occasionally near exposed granite such as is made when cutting a hill for highway construction. In early literature it was assumed that this plant existed within a few miles of Stone Mountain, but it has been identified more widely in Georgia and in a few locations in Alabama. Botanists from North Carolina in 1959 successfully transplanted it to their state where it is surviving, especially around Rocky Face (Murdy and Carter).

This fall-flowering plant reaches 2 to 3 feet high and grows in tight clusters, edging the outcrop. The leaves are very narrow and grow as opposites. The bloom is a composite with overlapping bracts, that is, what we assume are yellow petals are bracts and the flower with stamens and pistol is very tiny and located in the center.

I stand amazed in the presence of the natural world. Even where the outcrop has become an unsightly dump, the yellow daisies calls out to all who see it, “The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and kind in all His deeds.”

Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. To purchase a two-volume set of books featuring his wildflower columns, visit The Sketching Pad in Olde Town Conyers, or call 770-929-3697 or text 404-824-3697. Email him at odmsketchingpad@yahoo.com.

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