Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 22 comments

Click for greater clarity.

I was wandering near Lake Travis on July 19 and noticed a few scattered dayflowers, Commelina erecta. This view from somewhat below makes clear that in addition to the two conspicuous blue petals, each dayflower has a pale and smaller third petal. Centered beneath the blue petals, it often gets overlooked, but now you get to look it over.

For those of you who are interested in photography as a craft, points 1, 3 and especially 4 and 8 in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 15, 2012 at 6:15 AM

22 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Ah, my favorite color here… Such an interesting little flower!


    August 15, 2012 at 6:18 AM

    • I’m happy to offer you your favorite color this morning. Thanks for adding that this is a little flower, something I neglected to mention: from left to right, a dayflower typically measures no more than an inch.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 15, 2012 at 6:28 AM

  2. I knew if I waited long enough, the pretty flower that keeps evading lawn crews to peek through bushes and push through rock walls where I live would show up in your entries – and here it is! It was everywhere a month ago. Then, it was mown down within an inch of its life. A couple of days ago, I noticed more blooms. Persistent little thing!

    I learned another name for this dayflower is “widow’s tears”. That seemed a little strange, until I remembered a familiar verse from the Psalms: “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” – the span of a day.


    August 15, 2012 at 6:32 AM

    • I’m glad I could offer a take on your little friends, but not happy to hear about the within-an-inch-of-its-life mowing. Still, they’ve managed to rebound.

      When it comes to the quaint name widow’s tears, you anticipate me: the next two posts will be devoted to that.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 15, 2012 at 6:56 AM

  3. Donning her royal cape she ran to great the day!
    ~ Lynda

    (With stamens as crown the cape becomes obvious, and the pistils form the arms… I do have an overactive imagination!) 😉


    August 15, 2012 at 8:00 AM

  4. How lucky to wear such a magnificent color every day. 🙂


    August 15, 2012 at 8:07 AM

    • The color is rich, but the flowers last only one day before turning to mush. That turns out to be the reason why people originally called the plants in this genus dayflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 15, 2012 at 1:33 PM

  5. Was für eine schöne Blüte ♥


    August 15, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    • Mathilda comments on what a beautiful flower this is. It is, one more of so many wildflowers that grow natively in central Texas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 15, 2012 at 1:34 PM

  6. Definitely a very beautiful flower. I love the texture it has. It looks similar to the morning glory which is one of my favorites. I have a vine of them that pops up every year. They are kind of intrusive as they wrap around everything else but pretty to look at nonetheless!

    Michael Glover

    August 15, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    • The plants in the morning glory family here certainly are intrusive, but not so the dayflower, which occurs in small numbers. I’ve taken pictures of both over the years, always on the lookout for some new way(s) to portray them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 15, 2012 at 7:58 PM

  7. […] last post showed a dayflower, Commelina erecta. At the bottom center of that picture, taken near Lake Travis on July 19, was an […]

  8. I’m fascinated by the beautiful glistening blue. The wide spread of the petals–although the flower itself is very small–because of your magnificent photographic skill and capture and magnification, nudged me to visualize a fabulous gown that a fashion designer might be inspired to design for a star to wear at a high-profile event. Imagine an elegant gown with mid-size (not spaghetti) straps crisscrossing the back, the bodice that emphasizes the torso without having cleavage be the main feature, and the skirt flowing around and behind, medium-weigh train-like.


    August 16, 2012 at 6:56 AM

    • I, too, am fascinated by the glistening texture of these petals, but they’ve carried you to a place I would never have thought to go, the realm of female fashion. If you’re a dressmaker or are friends with one, perhaps you could follow through and take the gown out of your imagination and into the world of material things. If you do, please send a picture so we can compare the dress with the flower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 16, 2012 at 7:04 AM

  9. My goodness, that’s pretty!


    August 17, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    • There aren’t many blue flowers in central Texas, but this is one of them. Call it true blue.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 17, 2012 at 4:57 AM

  10. I’m just now looking at the original photo, and I’m not so certain that this is the same type of flower in the photo I posted here: http://bayouwoman.com/2013/04/12/come-along-on-an-april-wetland-tour/. Are they the same?

    Bayou Woman

    April 14, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    • I’ll repeat here what I wrote in answer to your other comment: “Spiderworts are relatives of the dayflowers, but as far as I know spiderworts don’t store up liquid in a spathe the way dayflowers do. The picture on your blog that’s captioned as a wild spiderwort is indeed a spiderwort, not a dayflower—at least not in the usual sense of dayflower that I’m used to. When it comes to vernacular names, though, as opposed to scientific ones, there’s lots of regional and personal variation. And of course there’s always the possibility that someone has made a mistake and misidentified a plant.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 14, 2013 at 8:31 PM

      • To clarify the sequence of events that led me to you, because I doubt you have neither time nor inclination to follow the comments yourself: I posted the pic in a series of those taken on a recent wetland tour, one of my readers (errantly) called the spiderwort “widow’s tears”, Shoreacres picked up on that and linked to your fabulous posts about widow’s tears, which is, as you point out, indeed a day flower. So, there you have it. I was most certain (as I’ve been a fan of local wildflowers for many year) that I had correctly identified the spiderwort in my field manuals years ago. As you said, regional and colloquial names vary from place to place! But it’s okay, I will obsess over it no longer!!! However, I still would like to see a dayflower and its liquid-producing spathe! BW

        Bayou Woman

        April 15, 2013 at 6:51 AM

        • Thanks for your explanation. It’s always fun to see a sequence of events that led to something unexpected. (Along those lines, I was a big fan of the science miniseries Connections in the 1970s.) Around Austin the dayflower is pretty common, and I suspect it is also common enough near the coast that you can find some this year and try to produce widow’s tears. That’s something worth obsessing over.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 15, 2013 at 8:19 AM

  11. […] false to say the flower is false, but people use that common name to distinguish this species from Commelina erecta, a relative that’s known simply as a […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: