Can you name this flower?

– Posted in: Garden Photography

I got this e-mail from Margaretta Mitchell, photographer extaordinaire, who need an ID for a book she is completing and the homeowner could not remember the flower.

She had consulted books and websites and everything suggested a Scaevola but Scaevola are all blue except for a few new white cultivars  What rare new thing was this?  The color is so sumptuous I wanted to know and find it for myself.

The petal arrangement is so distinctive I began to realize that a Scaevola is what it must be, and there could be a color shift in her photo.  I have had a color shift problem when photographing certain blue flowers and have always called this the Ageratum effect where all my Ageratum photos end up as pink flowers.

This color shift might be considered a classic case where the camera always lies, but in fact, it is not the camera that lies but the human eye.  Many blue flowers have pigments in them that reflect infrared color that the human eye can not see.  Haven’t we all seen those PBS specials where flowers are photographed under special light to reveal markings and patterns that attract birds and butterflys?

I tested my theory by bringing Gretta’s photo into PhotoShop where I changed the hue channel of red and took out the color we can’t see and then played with magenta and blue saturation.  Voila !  Scaevola the way we humans know it.

Scaevola color corrected

Scaevola color corrected

Darn it though.  I want the rustic orange one.  Oh to be a butterfly and see all the colors of nature.

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Saxon Holt

Saxon Holt is the owner of, a garden picture resource for photographs, on-line workshops, and garden photography stories. An award winning photojournalist and Fellow of The Garden Writers Association with more than 25 garden books, he lives and gardens in Northern California. PhotoBotanic - Garden Photography online at
Saxon Holt

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