Tinantia anomala (Torr.) C.B. Clarke
False dayflower, Widows tears
Commelinaceae (Spiderwort Family)
Synonym(s): Commelina anomala, Commelinantia anomala, Tradescantia anomala
USDA Symbol: tian
Clearly related to the commelinas and spiderworts, Tinantia anomala is an erect annual native to central Texas in the United States and Durango in northern Mexico, with flowers made up of two large lavender-blue petals and one small white petal. Its semi-succulent, grass-like leaves emerge in late fall and remain green throughout the cold months. It grows rapidly in early spring and blooms mid-spring, attracting bumblebees. A few weeks later, its seeds draw squirrels and turkeys. This entire cycle is usually completed by summer, when the plant has usually turned yellow and limp and the fastidious gardener may want to cut it back. Great for naturalizing in a woodland garden, where it can colonize to form a bright green winter groundcover.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Annual
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Apex: Acuminate , Acute
Size Notes: 1-3
Leaf: Light yellowish green or yellowish blue-green
Fruit: Grayish brown
Size Class: 1-3 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Blooms normally a muted but somehow glowing lavender, normally appearing mid-spring.
Native Distribution: Central Texas and Durango, northern Mexico
Native Habitat: Limestone gravel, among boulders and in crevices in ravines and on open, wooded slopes and floodplains in dappled shade
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Soil Description: Loose, calcareous woodland soil rich in humus, often with limestone rocks.
Conditions Comments: Becomes stressed in continuous full sun, burning easily and turning yellow.
BenefitUse Ornamental: A good spring annual for shade, with subtle, purply-blue flowers and grass-like foliage.
Use Wildlife: Flowers attract bees. Seeds eaten by squirrels and turkeys.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Deer Resistant: No
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: Sow seed in fall in moist, well-drained soil. Plants will self-sow. Also transplants very easily.
Maintenance: For neatness, cut back when starts to turn yellow and limp in early summer.
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0504 Collected Apr. 7, 1992 in Bexar County by Lottie Millsaps
NPSOT 0824 Collected Mar 12, 1994 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-1014 Collected 2007-04-16 in Hays County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Tinantia anomala in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Tinantia anomala in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Tinantia anomala
MetadataRecord Modified: 2012-05-02
Research By: DEW, JSC, ADA, JMS, GDG