Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 25 comments

Ratany Flower 7280

This post marks the debut of a native wildflower that’s not uncommon in central Texas but, probably because of its diminutive size and stay-close-to-the-ground growth, is little known. The scientific name is Krameria lanceolata; members of the general public who are aware of it call it ratany (also spelled rhatany), from Spanish ratania, apparently taken from a Quechua word.

The five large structures that look like petals are actually sepals. Markedly smaller than those are the five true petals, two opposite each other at the flower’s center, and three others united at their bases into a sort of tiara. The entire inflorescence, including the sepals, has a diameter of no more than 3/4 of an inch (19mm).

As was true for the last photograph, the date was May 17, and I found myself photographing along the entrance road to the Mahomet Cemetery in eastern Burnet County.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 8, 2013 at 6:21 AM

25 Responses

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  1. Beautiful color


    June 8, 2013 at 6:59 AM

  2. Fascinating flower, Steve, and a new one to me – thanks for the background on it. It almost has an orchid-like quality.


    June 8, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    • You’re welcome, Lynn. Ratany flowers certainly are strange, and I can see why you liken them to orchids.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 8, 2013 at 9:13 AM

  3. The word that popped to mind when I saw your photo was “cerise”. I wasn’t sure that was the color, but when I did a search, I found it certainly is. I can’t remember ever using the word. I just remember it from the crayola box. Well, and the lipstick-and-nail-polish counter. It’s a beautiful color, and an interesting flower.


    June 8, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    • And, me being me, I’ll go over to the etymology counter and add that cerise is a French word that passed into Middle English, was perceived as a plural, and therefore gave rise to a new singular, the modern form of which is cherry.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 8, 2013 at 12:04 PM

  4. Remarkable colors. Wonderful macro.


    June 8, 2013 at 10:03 AM

  5. Gorgeous is how I would describe the image for today!


    June 8, 2013 at 12:55 PM

  6. The center also looks like a peacock. Are you an entomologist? My husband graduated from TX A&M with the degree.

    Mad Queen Linda

    June 8, 2013 at 7:08 PM

  7. Comme toujours je suis sans voix!


    June 9, 2013 at 5:16 AM

  8. Wonderful image, thanks for the flower, MJ


    June 9, 2013 at 6:46 AM

  9. Beautiful little flower. A new one for me, the first in quite a while. Would love to see a pic from farther back, showing scale. I’ve probably just overlooked it, as it seems to be a “belly flower” (one that you can only see while lying on your belly)


    June 9, 2013 at 8:28 AM

  10. Such drama!


    June 9, 2013 at 11:00 AM

  11. i tried to comment on this the other day, but the connection was too sluggish; what an amazing ‘design’ for a flower – it has simplicity yet a strong complicated structure as well. i found my eyes quickly deciphering how to draw it, starting with the ‘regal’ figure in the center and working out from there!

    i also found myself changing that center into a primitive warrior standing proud and strong!

    • It’s true that you have to start somewhere, but as a photographer I’ve never thought in those terms. It’s good to hear your drawing perspective, and in particular that the center is the place you chose to start. The primitive warrior is also something my imagination wouldn’t have conceived, so more power to you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 10, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      • i wish i had time to draw what i visualize there, but i hve a tight deadline, and the sun never waits for me – the 6:30 pm end of the day is oftentimes way too soon for me!


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