Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Not an anomaly

with 47 comments

It’s not an anomaly for Tinantia anomala to grow wild in a semi-shaded portion of our yard, as I was happy to discover a colony doing this past spring. Today’s front and back portraits are from April 25th, though I noticed some of these wildflowers still blooming at our place well into June.

Also not an anomaly among common names for plants are some designed to keep people from confusing a species with a similar one. That’s the case here, where the vernacular name false dayflower alerts you that this isn’t the plain old dayflower, Commelina erecta, that you recently saw here and that’s in the same botanical family. The false may be helpful, but I still wish Tinantia anomala had a more positive name than that or the widow’s tears that people also call it. How about purple dayflower or noble dayflower?


What is an anomaly, at least during my lifetime in America, is the recent refusal by some media outlets to allow the discussion of certain subjects. Take the Covid-19 virus. In 2020, there were people, including reputable scientists, who conjectured that the virus had originated in a lab in Wuhan, China, where coronaviruses had been under study for years. Many media outlets labeled that conjecture a “conspiracy theory” and said it had been debunkedeven though no evidence had been brought forth to disprove the conjecture. People attempting to discuss the topic on Facebook had their posts taken down.

In 2021, some countries have authorized the drug ivermectin as a therapeutic in treating Covid-19. India, the second most populous country in the world, is one of them. Other countries offering ivermectin as a treatment for the disease are South Africa, Zimbabwe, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Mexico. Here’s an overview. On the other hand, some sites say ivermectin is not effective against Covid-19. You can search the Internet and find other sources that are against ivermectin as a therapeutic for Covid-19. I don’t know the truth of the matter. What I do know, though, is that institutions like Facebook and YouTube and Twitter should not be banning people from presenting legitimate evidence that a medicine is effective.

If you’ve been reading my posts for the last few months, you know I’ve been speaking out against censorship. Other have, too, like Bari Weiss: “How have we gotten here? How have we gotten to the point where having conversations about important scientific and medical subjects requires such a high level of personal risk? How have we accepted a reality in which Big Tech can carry out the digital equivalent of book burnings? And why is it that so few people are speaking up against the status quo?”

I hope you’ll join us by using your power of speech in the service of free speech.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 3, 2021 at 4:38 AM

47 Responses

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  1. I’d love to find that in my yard


    July 3, 2021 at 6:57 AM

  2. Noble dayflower would suit. Maybe even cheerleader or pompom dayflower.


    July 3, 2021 at 7:39 AM

  3. You’re right; there’s no mistaking the two flowers. I like your suggestions for alternate names, but my first thought was that this one has a fine, fuzzy face. Of course, that suggests a possibility for parody. (And what fun to see that darkroom!)


    July 3, 2021 at 8:37 AM

    • From fuzzy to funny’s not a long journey. I remember that sequence from the movie. For whatever reason, although Audrey Hepburn trained as a dancer, she rarely danced in any of her films.

      I remember working for hundreds and hundreds of hours in a room lit by red light. I never had the luxury of a proper darkroom, always making do with a bathroom.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 3, 2021 at 8:51 AM

      • My experience with darkrooms is limited, but I have worked in them, at school and at camp. What I most remember is the smell of the chemicals: funny how an odor can be evoked after so many years.


        July 3, 2021 at 8:54 AM

        • I certainly remember the odors, too, especially of the acetic acid stop-bath. I’ve often wondered whether breathing those chemicals for so many years did any long-term damage to my respiratory system. In my very early photographic days I used my hands to submerge the photographic paper in each chemical and transfer it from one to the next, but I soon thought better of that and from then on used tongs and rubber gloves.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 3, 2021 at 9:06 AM

        • I’ve spent a good few hours in darkrooms, starting with a temporary setup in my bedroom as a teenager. The smell of the chemicals does stay with you but I’m glad to have gone entirely digital…much healthier!

          Ann Mackay

          July 3, 2021 at 4:56 PM

          • Me too. I’d never want to go back. The digital world gives us so much more flexibility, and we don’t have to breathe chemicals while we’re being flexible.

            Steve Schwartzman

            July 3, 2021 at 8:30 PM

            • Absolutely! I’ve heard of a few photographers who have developed a really bad allergy after working with the chemicals for years. I also do a bit of printmaking and there are some nasty chemicals there too. I stick with the techniques that don’t need any of those.

              Ann Mackay

              July 4, 2021 at 5:06 AM

  4. These are lovely flowers and you captured them in such magnificent detail, Steve. It is not unusual for wildflowers to populate our yard, especially the hardy ones like the mullein plant.

    Peter Klopp

    July 3, 2021 at 8:53 AM

    • You’re right about the hardiness of mullein. You have it in the cold of Canada, and we have it in the heat of Texas. It’s not native in either place but it thrives in both.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 3, 2021 at 9:00 AM

  5. It’s a pretty flower. I’ve never seen one.

    Here, here to not censoring speech!! Those who want to censor and stop speech are those who fear the truth or want to suppress the truth. Neither are good for freedom-loving people.


    July 3, 2021 at 10:38 AM

    • If only your not having seen this species of wildflower were true about your relationship to suppression of the truth. To our dismay, we’re seeing rapidly increasing censorship from the media.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 3, 2021 at 11:37 AM

  6. Looks like a cheerleader with pom-poms.

    Steve Gingold

    July 3, 2021 at 3:41 PM

  7. Censorship is enjoying a resurgence thanks to the presence of Big Tech. Like you say, valid questions are not being discussed. Luckily, it hasn’t gotten so bad that all forms of communications are being banned, but one wonders what the final picture of the world will look like if Tech gets its way ….

    — Catxman


    July 3, 2021 at 6:39 PM

    • What troubles me so much is that the big tech companies are getting their way. Their censorship has become a proxy for government censorship. Alternative platforms do exist, but the forces of illiberalism are working to shut some of those down, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 3, 2021 at 8:59 PM

  8. Facebook, Twitter, Google CEOs had to Testify Before Congress about their perceived responsibility in the spread of misinformation about a number of issues. I don’t think that we should necessarily mistake them for people who care about what we discuss or how we discuss it. I know people who are very upset with one or another platform but who’s really to blame for this state of affairs is a more complex issue. I have been more active on Facebook and any mention to the virus that shall not be named will trigger a number of warnings and links to information centers. Although I agree with you that it is very weird that we can’t discuss certain issues related to, for example, public health, I am not so quick to blame the tech companies I use. I think they don’t want to have to testify again and again and lose their space and business. But I could be wrong.

    Alessandra Chaves

    July 4, 2021 at 7:56 AM

    • My take is that the testimony of those CEOs was perfunctory performance art. They had to do it and yet they know they’re unlikely to be held accountable for the censorship on their platforms. If anything, the suppression has increased since those hearings, and it always seems to penalize one side’s views but not the other’s (assuming, for simplicity, just two sides exist).

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 4, 2021 at 8:21 AM

      • I actually thought that increased censorship was the result of having had to testify and the increased responsibilities put on those platforms. It all started around the election and the accusations of Russian interference, during Trump’s first campaign? Now, I think that there are two factors here. One is you and I and the next person expressing our opinions. The other is, there seems to be concerted efforts coming from other countries, to spread certain kinds of “information” to manipulate the population. I haven’t done any thorough research on any of it and don’t feel very competent to discuss the issue, but those are my impressions.

        Alessandra Chaves

        July 4, 2021 at 11:15 AM

        • Can you give any examples of what you mean by “concerted efforts coming from other countries, to spread certain kinds of ‘information’ to manipulate the population”?

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 4, 2021 at 11:23 AM

          • Not really. I don’t believe that there were or that there weren’t, but that’s the explanation I have read, on the news, for increased censorship on platforms. I don’t support censorship on platforms, but I believe that it is possible that the owners of these platforms are being pressured to censor more than they would be interested in. They want to make money, I don’t think they care about how the money flows to their pockets.

            Alessandra Chaves

            July 4, 2021 at 11:27 AM

            • You may well be right. It’s a plausible reason why companies in the past year have gone along with canceling campaigns. Whether those companies ultimately keep selling as many products remains to be seen, as there’s increasing pushback to cancel the cancelers. For example, after Coca-Cola came out against the new election law in Georgia, some people started boycotting Coca-Cola products.

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 4, 2021 at 11:37 AM

              • As for the so-called preventive treatment for the disease that shall not be named, it became extremely politicized in my other country, to the point that a friend living in the Amazon, where there is Malaria, was put in facebook jail (account suspended) for mentioning his anti-malarian medication; and one dares not to mention, on social platforms, the antiparasitic drug that is used to treat several tropical diseases associated with helminths. 😉

                Alessandra Chaves

                July 4, 2021 at 12:53 PM

                • Alas, you make the good point that the problem isn’t just in the United States, “thanks” to the global reach of companies like Facebook and Google. Some claims about the effectiveness of certain drugs turn out to be false, but that’s no reason to suppress discussion of them.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 4, 2021 at 2:42 PM

  9. I actually like the name widow’s tears, almost poetic. Just as I enjoy the name mother-in-law’s tongue for snake plants. 🙂

    Todd Henson

    July 4, 2021 at 8:32 AM

    • The “tears” refer to a physical phenomenon in some of these related plants:

      Widow’s tears

      I guess anthropomorphizing people felt obligated to attribute the tears to someone and found widows a likely source. That at least isn’t slanderous the way mother-in-law’s tongue is.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 4, 2021 at 8:47 AM

  10. I don’t like these “False” monikers being put on plants either. False Solomon’s seal? There must be something better! Thank you for speaking out about censorship. Strange times!


    July 7, 2021 at 2:48 PM

    • Speaking out against censorship and other ills plaguing us has apparently alienated some of the people who used to frequent these pages. I feel I have no choice anymore. As I’ve said a few times recently: I’m doing my little part to head off a future in which people look back at our descent into authoritarianism and ask why so few spoke up against it.

      In addition to false dayflower and false Solomon’s seal, there’s increasingly now false America.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 7, 2021 at 3:05 PM

  11. I do enjoy this bright blue flower with its teddy bear face!

    Lavinia Ross

    July 18, 2021 at 10:45 AM

    • Interesting that you see this as a teddy bear’s face. I don’t remember anyone else ever saying that.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 18, 2021 at 2:48 PM

  12. […] post also dealt with the early and continuing politicization of the Covid-19 pandemic. On July 3rd I mentioned that some countries were using the drug ivermectin as a therapeutic in treating Covid-19, while at […]

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