Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

False dayflower, false face

with 22 comments

False Dayflower Flower 1321

Pareidolia, as I learned from a comment last month about the photograph of a rock formation that looked to me like an animal, is a phenomenon in which the mind creates an image of a certain thing from unrelated features of something else. When I was in McKinney Falls State Park on April 15th I struck up a conversation with a man who I saw taking nature pictures and who turned out to be visiting from Alabama. He asked me about a little flower he’d photographed that looked to him like a face. From the image he showed me on the back of his camera I saw that it was Tinantia anomala, known as false dayflower to distinguish it from a related genus whose members are known as dayflowers. The title of today’s post aside, you can decide for yourselves how false or true a face this flower has (and did you notice that those last nine words were in iambic pentameter?).

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 3, 2016 at 5:07 AM

22 Responses

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  1. Pretty little face.


    May 3, 2016 at 5:26 AM

  2. this one is cute !!!! and beautiful !


    May 3, 2016 at 6:33 AM

  3. Delightful! Lovely capture.


    May 3, 2016 at 7:15 AM

  4. Good spotting/imagination again!


    May 3, 2016 at 8:22 AM

    • I can’t take much credit for the spotting because these flowers are common in shady places at this time of year in Austin. Our pareidolia-prone brains do the rest.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 3, 2016 at 8:35 AM

  5. It’s the Cookie Monster!

    I did a double-take when I saw the photo. I think I was expecting the “other” dayflower, Commelina erecta. I’m not sure I’ve seen this one. At least, I haven’t noticed it. It’s the size of that third, white petal that seems to make the difference. I noticed in Enquist that the relationship of the flowers and leaves is just slightly different, too. When I spot some next time, I’ll take a closer look.


    May 3, 2016 at 9:04 AM

    • While the Cookie Monster’s not something I would have come up with, the resemblance has clearly made you happy.

      I’m afraid Tinantia anomala is an anomaly in your county and the surrounding counties, which is to say it doesn’t grow near you. You may, however, find it in the Hill Country if you make one of your periodic visits there in the next month or so. I see it’s also marked for Refugio County if you happen to head down the coast.

      When you do eventually see one of these plants, it’s different enough from Commelina erecta that I don’t think you’ll have any trouble telling the two apart.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 3, 2016 at 8:30 PM

  6. I didn’t notice the iambics but the face made me exclaim with delight as soon as I saw it in the Reader. It reminds me of an alien from Doctor Who (a friendly one).


    May 3, 2016 at 10:03 AM

    • Someone else mentioned Doctor Who to me a couple of years ago but I confess I’ve still never seen an episode. Be that as it may, happy face of delight to you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 3, 2016 at 8:37 PM

  7. Very pretty indeed and you are lucky to have them growing in your back yard!


    May 3, 2016 at 10:22 AM

    • One benefit of letting our back yard go wild is that a few native species have come back to what used to be their home.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 3, 2016 at 8:38 PM

  8. My first response was “Starry-eyed”. I have Commelina communis, the Asiatic Dayflower, growing pretty prolifically in my yard, but for some reason have never photographed it. I’ll have to remedy that this year. I don’t think it is quite as animated as your false species.

    Steve Gingold

    May 4, 2016 at 4:34 PM

    • This is another instance where the “false” is the “true,” in the sense of native. Interesting that you saw this as starry-eyed. That’s better than star-crossed (as with Romeo and Juliet).

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2016 at 9:37 PM

  9. Hmm don’t know about the false / true .. But it has a pretty little face


    May 5, 2016 at 1:57 AM

  10. The expression is surely intriguing, almost hinting of the awareness that it’s being captured by you.


    May 6, 2016 at 12:51 AM

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