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Commelina erecta (Dayflower)
Fannon, Carolyn

Commelina erecta

Commelina erecta L.

Dayflower, Widow's Tears, White-mouth Dayflower, Whitemouth Dayflower

Commelinaceae (Spiderwort Family)


USDA Symbol: coer

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

37 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
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Stems weakly erect to ascending to decumbent, up to about 3 feet long.

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
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, c/o Wimberley Birding Society - 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 0020 Collected July 10, 1990 in Bexar County by Judith C. Berry
NPSOT 0021 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

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 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: 2023-02-01
Research By: NPC, GDB

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