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Commelina erecta (Dayflower)
Fannon, Carolyn

Commelina erecta

Commelina erecta L.

Dayflower, Widow's Tears, White-mouth Dayflower

Commelinaceae (Spiderwort Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), PR (N), VI (N)

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."


From the Image Gallery

43 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

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 , AR , AZ , CO , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NJ , NM , NY , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , WI , WV , WY
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


Propagation Material: Tubers
Description: Not Available
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Patsy Glenn Refuge - Wimberley, TX
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0225 Collected May 27, 1992 in Comal County by Mary Beth White
NPSOT 0021 Collected July 10, 1990 in Bexar County by Judith C. Berry
NPSOT 0020 Collected July 10, 1990 in Bexar County by Judith C. Berry

3 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-661 Collected 2008-07-02 in Travis 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 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Research Literature

Reslit 606 - Ecology, production and use of mangrove, Conocarpus erectus L., in Barra de Tecoanapa (Guerrero, Mexico) (1999) C. T. Hernandez and G. D. Espino
Reslit 985 - Ten new microsatellite markers for the buttonwood mangrove (Conocarpus erectus L., Combretaceae) (2008) A. Nettel, R. S. Dodd, J. A. Cid-Becerra and J. de...
Reslit 1317 - Stomatal conductance and gas exchange in four species of Caribbean mangroves exposed to ambient and increased CO2 (1998) S. C. Snedaker and R. J. Araujo
Reslit 1331 - Intense disturbance enhances plant susceptibility to herbivory: Natural and experimental evidence (2003) D. A. Spiller and A. A. Agrawal
Reslit 1995 - Egg distribution and sampling of Diaprepes abbreviatus (Coleoptera : Curculionidae) on silver buttonwood (2007) J. E. Pena, D. Amalin, A. Hunsberger and C. Mannio...
Reslit 2021 - Studies on Propagation and Implantation Characteristics of Conocarpus erectus L. (1978) D. Mizrachi and F. R. Pannier
Reslit 2034 - Survival of Diaprepes abbreviatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) Larvae on Green Buttonwood Trees in Flooded Marl Soil and Potting Medium (2010) C. G. Martin, C. M. Mannion and B. Schaffer
Reslit 2110 - Effect of root feeding by Diaprepes abbreviatus (Coleoptera : Curculionidae) larvae on leaf gas exchange and growth of three ornamental tree species (2006) A. P. Diaz, C. Mannion and B. Schaffer
Reslit 2381 - Leaf damage in island buttonwood, Conocarpus erectus: correlations with pubescence, island area, isolation and the distribution of major carnivores (1988) T. W. Schoener
Reslit 2471 - Polymorphic buttonwood: Effects of disturbance on resistance to herbivores in green and silver morphs of a Bahamian shrub (2004) A. A. Agrawal and D. A. Spiller

This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2017-09-06
Research By: NPC, GDB

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