Commelina communis L.

Day Flower, Asiatic Day Flower

Commelina communis plant

Family - Commelinaceae

Stems - Erect to variously ascending, internodes glabrous, somewhat pubescent and often rooting at nodes, herbaceous.

Leaves - Alternate, entire, typically glabrous to scabrous above, glaucous below, to +10cm long, +3cm wide, lanceolate. Base of blade forming a sheath(ocrea) around stem.

Commelina communis sheathLeaf sheath.

Inflorescence - Axillary flowers emerging from folded bract (spathe). Spathe to 3cm long, green, margins separate all the way to the base.

Commelina communis spatheSpathe.

Commelina communis spatheSpathe divided to the base.

Flowers - Corolla of 3 petals. Upper two petals blue-purple, to 15mm long. Lower petal white, small, to 5mm long. Fertile stamens 3. Staminodes 3, with false anthers. False anthers yellow with brownish center.

Commelina communis flower

Flowering - May - October.

Habitat - Moist ground in waste places, lawns, disturbed sites, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to Asia.

Other info. - This plant can be found scattered throughout Missouri. Although there are native species in the state, this introduced plant is the most common member of the genus in Missouri. The genus name is in commemoration of two Dutch botanists, Jan and Kaspar Commelin, who had a brother who died at an early age and contributed nothing to botany. The three petals of the flower represent these three brothers.

Photographs taken in Vale, NC., 8-23-03.