With the summer solstice behind us, a new season of flowers are coming into bloom. Gone are the days of crocus and daffodils. Tulips are but a memory. Even the German bearded irises are gone, either for the year or until they rebloom if they’re a variety that is so inclined.

I’ve noticed over the years that my garden has color seasons. At certain times, it seems that they’re rich in a prominent color, whether it be purple, pink, or yellow. Some colors are supporting players, but the others have starring roles.

Take yellow, for example. It’s not my favorite color in the garden, but there’s no denying that it commands attention. After a drab, dreary winter, those yellow crocuses bring a smile to my face. And the daffodils! I can’t imagine a spring garden without them.

Then there are the dandelions, the bane of many a lawn owner’s existence, but at the same time, many of us recognize their value. The non-native is an early food source for another non-native, the honey bee. While I don’t want a whole yard full of them, I’ll admit seeing the first dandelions of the year dotting the roadsides makes me smile.

Some gardeners, including notable ones like Ladybird Johnson, have given a large group of non-distinctive yellow flowers a distinctive moniker. Damned yellow composities (DYC). That makes me smile too, because I understand why the label exists.

I enjoy plant identification. I find it challenging, but there may be none more so than a large number of yellow flowers that belong to the Asteraceae family. Many species within this family (and others) are made up of ray florets and disc florets, with each of those being a flower in and of itself. Some have only multiple ray florets and some have only disc florets. The scientific name for these kinds of flowers is pseudanthium.

Once you start thinking about how many different ones there are and how similar they can look, DYC makes sense. They can be very difficult to identify, and when I’m given a photo of a group of plants with yellow daisy-like flowers and asked what they are, I have been known to answer, “DYC.”

Examples of yellow composites you might encounter in the field or in our Ohio gardens are cup plant, compass plant, false sunflower, dandelion, prairie dock, Coreopsis, Cosmos, black-eyed Susan, tarragon, Calendula, Zinnia, sneezeweed, hawkweed, yellow salsify, green-headed coneflower, yellow leafcup, wild lettuce, groundsel, ragwort, rosinweed, Jerusalem artichoke, Bidens, and marigold.

In all, there are 23,000 families of composite flowers, with 2,413 species in North America. They aren’t all yellow, but the ones that are can be notoriously difficult to identify. It’s helpful to note the foliage, the time of year that it’s in bloom, as well as size and location to narrow it down.

A field guide in your pocket can be a great aid. I don’t know that I would entirely trust a phone identification app, because the margin of error in such similar looking flowers could be great. In your own garden, if you’ve purchased the plant at a garden center, just hang on to the plant tag. That way, when I don’t recognize that pretty yellow flower and ask you what it is, you can blow my mind by actually knowing.

Read more at Kylee's blog, Our Little Acre, at www.ourlittleacre.com. Contact her on Facebook or by email at pauldingprogressgardener@gmail.com.