Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Commelina erecta

Whitemouth dayflower, Widow's tears, Day flower, White-mouth dayflower

Commelinaceae (Spiderwort Family)

Commelina erecta (Whitemouth dayflower)
Fannon, Carolyn
The soft, jointed stems of this perennial grow upright only if supported by other plants. Usually they lie on the ground and grow up to 3 ft. long. The ephemeral flowers, about 1 in. across, have two larger, showy, blue petals and one much smaller white petal. Flowers with 2 large, ear-like, blue petals and one smaller petal bloom in small clusters, in a bract, at the top of several erect branches. They only bloom for a day, but there are several buds on a plant that open 3-4 days apart. The principal leaves are linear to somewhat lance-shaped.

This is a highly variable species. The Spanish name means herb of the (cooked) chicken.

Image Gallery:

38 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Leaf Margin: Entire
Size Notes: 6-18
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: AL , AZ , AR , CO , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , LA , MD , MI , MN , MS , MO , NE , NJ , NM , NY , NC , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , WV , WI , WY , DC
Native Distribution: FL to NM, n. to NJ, OH, IL & s. SD
Native Habitat: Open pinelands; dry scrub & woods

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Commelina erecta can be grown from seed or transplanted tubers. Its flower is a beautiful medium blue, most frequently seen in spring or fall but occasionally occuring in July and August. It is well suited to naturalized mass plantings in meadows or by wooded areas; beware that the plant can become invasive. This is a variable species, particularly in regards to the size and shape of the leaves. This variation has led to segregation as species or varieties by some authorities.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds
Deer Resistant: No

Last Update: 2013-10-24