Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Not Titania but Tinantia

with 52 comments

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

And yet men and women have called this the false dayflower to distinguish it from the “true” and related dayflower that blooms later in the season. And botanists, even on a midsummer night, call the genus not Titania but Tinantia. The species in this case is anomala, but what’s anomalous about it I don’t know: looks pretty nomalous to me (and just plain pretty, too).

I found at least a dozen of these “false” dayflowers at the edge of the same undeveloped property that played host on February 9 to the white anemone, the blue curls, and the agarita that you’ve seen in the past week. In the United States, Tinantia anomala grows only in central and southwest-central Texas; I often find it flowering in Austin in late March, April and May, but as was true for several species I’ve shown in these pages recently, this appearance in early February was another first for me.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 19, 2012 at 5:45 AM

52 Responses

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  1. very beautiful image, wonderful post

    dianne - life as i see it

    February 19, 2012 at 5:47 AM

  2. You always know how to capture the colors at their best. Very beautiful photo. 🙂


    February 19, 2012 at 7:35 AM

    • Thanks, Nandini. We’ve been having rain recently, so the colors, especially of these leaves, were bright.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 19, 2012 at 8:10 AM

  3. This is one flower I can relate to. I have them all over undeveloped spaces in my garden. I pull and pull but they reseed exponentially! I often want to leave them but I know I will regret it the following season!

    Bonnie Michelle

    February 19, 2012 at 7:47 AM

  4. One of the prettiest flower pics I’ve ever seen!!


    February 19, 2012 at 8:04 AM

  5. Yes, it looks pretty nomalous to me, too 🙂 Interesting that you’re seeing so many species coming out this early. I’ve been looking here, wondering if our mild winter might also be bringing out early blooms but so far haven’t seen anything of note. I’m eager as always to begin, so your lovely images cheer me! Thank you!


    February 19, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    • Sorry your warm weather hasn’t stirred the wildflowers the way ours has, but the ones that have been appearing here can tide you over till yours start coming up.

      So may these cheer
      Your winter drear.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 19, 2012 at 10:53 AM

  6. What a lovely flower!

    Peggy A Thompson

    February 19, 2012 at 10:50 AM

  7. Oooh, what a beaut. We’re heading into an early mud season up here, so it will be a while before I can return the favor, unless you want to cool off by looking at ice formations. =)


    February 19, 2012 at 12:16 PM

  8. Have you seen the odd sort of … almost like shadows, that form along these leaves? From when I was in Orange County, CA back in January – http://musingsfromdave.blogspot.com/2012/01/baby-gets-her-first-slr.html


    February 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    • Oh, wait, this isn’t obvious – I’m referring to the agave plant picture.


      February 19, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      • Yes, I have seen, been fascinated by, and therefore photographed those patterns on agaves that are like a shadow of a leaf’s contour. The first time I can remember doing that was 1999. We’re on the same wavelength there.

        Steve Schwartzman

        February 19, 2012 at 3:53 PM

  9. Your descriptive words are fitting. Lovely flower…lovely presentation.


    February 19, 2012 at 2:33 PM

  10. This is so lovely. It is hard to imagine it blooming in February. What a different world you live in.

    Cindy Kilpatrick

    February 19, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    • It’s different even from the normal one we experience this far south, in central Texas. 2011–2102 has given us a winter without a winter, and many of the plants know it. Just today I found two more native species flowering prematurely. They’ll make their appearance in these pages soon enough.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 19, 2012 at 7:25 PM

  11. Quite a presentation. It’s a beauty. Great work!

    Sheila T Illustrated

    February 19, 2012 at 10:28 PM

  12. Exquisite – both flower and photo! (Are you by any chance a perfectionist?)


    February 20, 2012 at 1:09 AM

  13. This is so BEAUTIFUL dear Steve, fascinated me. I haven’t known this before… Thank you, with my love, nia


    February 20, 2012 at 5:12 AM

    • You’re welcome, Nia. This species grows natively only in Texas and adjacent Mexico, and although it’s common here, it’s probably not well known in other places.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 20, 2012 at 5:48 AM

  14. Encore une découverte pour moi. Normale, pas normale, je ne saisis pas trop les subtilités, ce dont, je suis sûre, c’est que c’est une beauté et que sa feuille, la met en valeur.


    February 20, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    • L’ancolie bleue (the blue columbine) writes: “Another discovery for me. Normal, not normal, I don’t grasp these subtleties too well, but what I’m sure of is that it’s a beauty and that its foliage makes it stand out.”

      D’accord. La distinction normal ~ anormal, c’est une considération purement humaine. La plante s’en fiche et fleurit quand même.
      And I’ll agree that the normal versus not normal distinction is a strictly human one; the plant pays no attention and goes right on flowering.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 20, 2012 at 10:13 AM

  15. What a beautiful little flower!


    February 20, 2012 at 10:23 PM

  16. This is stunning!!!!


    February 22, 2012 at 7:52 AM

    • Although I’d photographed this species before, I hadn’t recently, so I was pleased to get such an appealing portrait of it—and so very early in the season.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 22, 2012 at 7:57 AM

  17. wow, this is so beautiful!!! i had to comment. i love your blog–all your pictures are beautiful. but this picture is magnificent! love the difference in colors, especially the dark monochromatic background. 🙂


    February 26, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying these pictures, Violeta. This one seems to have struck a chord with many people. The dark background came from some Ashe juniper trees, which have played their dark-background role quite a few times for me. Maybe I should give them an award for best supporting species.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 26, 2012 at 11:00 PM

      • hahaha!!! that was funny! maybe you should.

        thanks for explaining the background. i thought you had imported it. either way, i’m in love!!! 🙂


        February 26, 2012 at 11:15 PM

      • Happy love. As for backgrounds, I often look for something natural to line up my subject with, but I never use artificial backgrounds at the site of a photograph or on the computer afterwards.

        Steve Schwartzman

        February 27, 2012 at 9:24 AM

  18. What an unusual flower! I can’t recall having seen anything similar. So beautiful.


    February 27, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    • I’m glad to have introduced you to something new, especially when you haven’t seen even a similar relative. Perhaps there’s something in the related genus Commelina that grows in Germany.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 27, 2012 at 9:21 AM

  19. Beautiful flower and image, Steve, it reminded me of spiderwort and sure enough, it is related.


    March 27, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    • This relative of spiderworts is still flowering in various places around Austin, as are spiderworts.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 27, 2012 at 3:48 PM

  20. I have hundreds of these little blue guys every year and I love them. They remind me of little puppy dog mugs . . . =D Of course this year, my “puppy~pies” bloomed early along with my bluebonnets (the blues), followed by engelmann’s daisy and coreopsis (the yellows), then the gaillardias (the reds, yellows) and now the Mexican hats (black, red and yellow) with wine mallow cups thrown in with the pups through to the mexican blankets . . . the sunflowers have not yet opened and are tightly closed everyone else is closed, closing or seeding. Lovely spring 2012!!! An ocean tide of changing color across the land =D ❤

    Dezi~Ray Hoover

    April 28, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    • Yes, a tide of color, and beginning even in January this year. I’m still seeing these “false” dayflowers around Austin, including quite a few this past week. And for two weeks now I’ve seen open sunflowers here and there, including along Mopac and 183. In previous years I don’t think I’ve ever found sunflowers blooming before May.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 28, 2012 at 8:58 PM

  21. Allow me to clarify =) . . . everyone else has finished blooming, are in the process of finishing their blooming cycle . . . or are preparing to seed or are actively seeding ❤

    Dezi~Ray Hoover

    April 28, 2012 at 7:04 PM

  22. AND . . . your photograph of one of them is . . . “SPOT” ON! =D

    Absolutely stunningly perfect picture of my little puppy~pies!!! Thank you ❤

    Dezi~Ray Hoover

    April 28, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    • Thanks. I’ll admit this was an effective portrait of this plant. Many viewers were impressed because they’d never seen the species before.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 28, 2012 at 8:59 PM

  23. […] may remember a picture from February of the “false” dayflower, Tinantia anomala. Now here’s a picture of the “true” dayflower, Commelina […]

  24. […] milkweed, the Goya of goldeneye, the Rembrandt of rosinweed, the Miró of Mirabilis, the Titian of Tinantia, the Gauguin of Gaillardia, the Dalí of Datura, and the Monet of Monarda. You, too, can play the […]

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