Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A new species for me and probably for thee

with 16 comments

Ammannia Flowering 1557

Near the Ludwigia octovalvis that appeared in the last post (and a flower of which you can make out in the background of today’s picture) I found some erect plants of a type I don’t believe I’d ever seen before. Joe Marcus of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center identified them for me as a species of Ammannia, probably Ammannia coccinea. He also commented:

Ammannia is a genus that I very rarely see anywhere around central Texas, though it is definitely native here.  Not sure why they’re not more common around these parts.  I found some plants growing near Kyle once and that is my only encounter with it in the area.  They’re much more common in north Texas.  My sense of it is that they’re happiest in waste places – wet, waste places, of course.

A question, then, for those of you in the Austin area: have you ever come across this native plant?

As was the case last time, this picture comes from August 6th at the edge of a pond on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman


I’m out of town for a while. Of course you’re welcome to leave comments, but please understand if it takes me longer than usual to respond.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 24, 2014 at 5:00 AM

16 Responses

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  1. It’s a pretty little thing!



    September 24, 2014 at 9:25 AM

  2. Wow, that is a very cool flower. Kind of the wildflower that Jack could have climbed all the way to giantville..

    Steve Gingold

    September 24, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    • From the plant’s point of view, I must have seemed a resident of Giantville, a Brodningnagian of the pondside prairie. I’ll have a closer view next time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 24, 2014 at 8:58 PM

  3. I found this plant during a biosurvey in the summer of 2012 at Rattlesnake Hill, NE Bastrop County, N. of Elgin and almost to Lee County. It was along the edge of a small pond (which was drying up in the drought). The coordinates of a nearby CoCoRah rain gauge are 30.394 473 N and -97.345072 W according to the landowner. A large bald cypress grows in the pond but otherwise not much around in the mud. The 2013 draft for the post-fire Bastrop State Park list (by Bill Carr) listed 3 collections of Ammania coccinea and noted that it was common in moist soil.

    Elizabeth Pullman

    September 24, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    • It’s good to hear that you’re among the relatively few who have seen this species. A week after my sighting I went back to the site but couldn’t find the plant any more.

      While putting this post together I read bill Carr’s 2014 Travis County notes about the species, so I knew it had been found in my county.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 24, 2014 at 9:16 PM

      • Your note about finding it at the edge of a pond, and Elizabeth’s experience, reminded me that a friend in South Carolina has mentioned the plant. I went looking, and found this photo from North Carolina. The plants are in mudflats there, too. What an amazement it would be to see an entire colony.

        A common name, scarlet toothcup, makes sense, too, particularly when I look at the buds.


        September 24, 2014 at 10:02 PM

        • Wow: acres of these plants. Based on my paltry few individuals, I’d never have suspected that such numbers are possible. Thanks for opening my eyes.

          Those buds do look like molars, don’t they?

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 24, 2014 at 10:13 PM

  4. Skyscraper of a different kind, delightful little plant!


    September 24, 2014 at 4:46 PM

  5. What an interesting plant, I am going to go out to the net to research this further. You have piqued my curiosity.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    September 25, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    • It certainly piqued my interest, Charlie. If you find out anything noteworthy about it, please tell us.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 25, 2014 at 5:07 AM

  6. Exceedingly dainty!


    September 28, 2014 at 9:15 PM

    • Did you know that dainty is a doublet of dignity?

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2014 at 11:17 PM

      • Well, no, but she does ascend at a very regulated, dignified pace, doesn’t she.


        September 29, 2014 at 11:54 PM

        • Your use of the word regulated reminded me of Robert Louis Stevenson’s essay “Aes Triplex.” Decades have passed since I read it, so I had to go to the Internet to find the passage:

          “We do not
          go to cowards for tender dealing;
          there is nothing so cruel as panic ;
          the man who has least fear for
          his own carcass, has most time
          to consider others. That eminent
          chemist who took .his walks abroad
          in tin shoes, and subsisted wholly
          upon tepid milk, had all his work
          cut out for him in considerate
          dealings with his own digestion.
          So soon as prudence has begun to
          grow up in the brain, like a dismal
          fungus, it finds its first expression
          in a paralysis of generous acts.
          The victim begins to shrink spirit-
          ually; he develops a fancy for
          parlours with a regulated tempera-
          ture, and takes his morality on the
          principle of tin shoes and tepid

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 30, 2014 at 7:36 AM

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