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Tinantia anomala (False dayflower)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Tinantia anomala

Tinantia anomala (Torr.) C.B. Clarke

False Dayflower, Widows Tears

Commelinaceae (Spiderwort Family)

Synonym(s): Commelina anomala, Commelinantia anomala, Tradescantia anomala


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

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

22 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Apex: Acuminate , Acute
Inflorescence: Raceme
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 32 inches tall.
Leaf: Light yellowish green or yellowish blue-green
Fruit: Grayish brown

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Blooms normally a muted but somehow glowing lavender, normally appearing mid-spring to early summer.


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 Conditions

Water 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.


Use 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
Attracts: Birds
Deer Resistant: No


Propagation 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 Directory

According 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

2 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-1014 Collected 2007-04-16 in Hays County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Tinantia anomala in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Tinantia anomala in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Tinantia anomala


Record Modified: 2023-03-21
Research By: DEW, JSC, ADA, JMS, GDG

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