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Commelina communis L.

Asiatic dayflower

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassCommelinidaeDayflowers and spiderworts, and several others
OrderCommelinalesIncludes dayflowers (spiderworts), bloodworts, water hyacinths, others
FamilyCommelinaceaeDayflower or spiderwort family
GenusCommelinaAfter Dutch botanists Jan (1629-1692) and his nephew Caspar (1667-1731) Commelijn, known to Linnaeus and Charles Plumier, a French Franciscan monk, botanist and traveler who apparently named this flower. Jan, or Johan, Commelijn was a doctor and the director of botany at the Hortus Medicus (Medical Garden) in Amsterdam, who worked with many Asian tropical plants sent back to Holland. Linnaeus allegedly decided to commemorate the Commelins because the dayflower has two large petals (for Jan and Caspar) and a third small petal (for another Commelijn who died young before he could accomplish anything in botany), but this may well be an apocryphal though convenient explanation
SpeciescommunisIn Latin “common, general” and means growing in communities

About plant names...

Asiatic dayflower is so named because it is native to much of East Asia and northern Southeast Asia, and because it blooms only once, during the morning, for a single day. It was introduced to central and southeastern Europe and eastern North America. It is considered a noxious weed in Europe and North America, as well as in parts of its native range. Asiatic dayflower is able to absorb some metals from contaminated sites, so it may prove useful as a means of cleaning and restoring soils at old copper mines. It prefers moist soils and disturbed sites.

Plants: 12-36" (30-91 cm) long, either erect (especially if there are surrounding plants) or sprawling along the ground, with a reddish stem.

Leaves: Alternate, hairless, up to 5" (12 cm) × 2" (5 cm). They are ovate or lanceolate-ovate, with smooth edges, parallel veins. Leaves are sessile or clasping.

Flowers: Sometimes produces a single predominantly blue flower, ½-¾" (1.5-2 cm) wide, with two large blue petals arranged like Mickey Mouse ears, and a third much smaller white petal centered below. The flower has 3 sepals, 5-6 stamens, and a long white style. The flower has bilateral symmetry: cut down the center, the two sides are mirror images.

Fruits: A seed capsule ⅛-¼" (4.5-8 mm) long has two sections, each containing two bumpy dark brown-yellow or black seeds.

Edibility: Leaves, flowers, and young shoots are edible, raw or cooked, in salads or soups. They are said to taste sweet, with a mucilaginous texture.

Medical: Asiatic dayflower has been used as a diuretic, for sore throats, for treating bleeding, diarrhea, fever; and is a possible candidate for an antibacterial. None of these uses are confirmed.

Online References:



Fall Wildflowers of New England



Plants for a Future

Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower)

10/2/2011 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 3½ × 3" (8.6 × 8.1 cm)

Commelina communis L. var. communis

Commelina communis L. var. ludens (Miq.) C.B. Clarke

Commelina debilis Ledeb.

Commelina willdenowii Kunth


Commelina communis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 1 Jan 2021.

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Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower)

10/2/2011 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 4 × 4" (10 × 10 cm)

Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower)

7/17/2014 · Amos Kendall Conservation Land, Dunstable, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 4½ × 4½" (11 × 11 cm)

Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower)

9/4/2013 · Amos Kendall Conservation Area, Dunstable, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 3½ × 4" (9.7 × 10 cm)

Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower)

7/21/2001 · Memphis, Ten­nes­see · By Tim Chandler

Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower)

8/14/2009 · Nashua River Rail Trail, East Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 6 × 9" (14 × 22 cm)


About this map...