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Erect Dayflower (Commelina erecta)

Erect Dayflower

Commelina erecta L.

(Order Commelinales, family Commelinaceae)

Erect Dayflower (Minden Dice, 2012)

Diagnosis

Stems: Erect or decumbent, usually pubescent at nodes

Leaves: Alternate, simple, linear-lanceolate to ovate-eliptic, 1 to 4 inches long, ½ to 1 inch wide, glabrous or lightly pubescent, waxy; margins entire; tips pointed; basal sheaths conspicuous; margins fringed with whitish hairs

Inflorescences: Few-flowered clusters

Flowers: Three-parted; enclosed by spathes, ½ to 1 inch long, open across top but fused along back margin; upper 2 petals larger and blue; lower p etal smaller and white; six stamens-three fertile, three sterile

Fruits: Capsules, three-celled, smooth, brown seeds with white dots

Habitat: Moist, sandy or rocky soils, or soils containing clay. Found along streambanks, in gardens, on prairies, along roadsides, and in waste places

Distribution: Throughout but infrequent in northwest quarter of Kansas

Comments: Flowers bloom for only one day, wilting into a moist, blue mass after only a few hours, but will last longer on cloudy days or in shady settings. Comellina communis is a closely related species.

Erect Dayflower (Minden Dice, 2012)

Uses

Overall, the Erect Dayflower is a good plant for native area restoration projects. As a preferred food source for white-tailed deer, it should be considered when establishing deer food plots. Cattle often graze on Erect Dayflower, and its seed are eaten by the bobwhite quail, white-winged doves, and mourning doves.

Name

The scientific name is said to come from Commelin, the name of three brothers who were all Dutch botanists.  The two larger petals of the Erect Dayflower are said to be representative of the two Commelins who were published, while the third, inconspicuous petal represents the unpublished brother.

Erect Dayflower (Minden Dice, 2012)

Adaptation

Found from New York and Wisconsin to Arizona and Florida and throughout most of the eastern United States.

Establishment

Erect dayflower can be grown from cuttings or seed. Rapid rooting is encouraged by using a rooting hormone. Irrigation is recommended at drier sites.

Management

The leggy Erect Dayflower plant makes weed control a problem. A weed mat is recommended where weed control is a necessity, in deer food plots weed control is not an issue.

Seeds and Plant Production

Because of the prostrated and indeterminate growth form of the erect dayflower, quantities of harvested seed are small. This makes commercial production of seed uneconomical.

Conservation Status

Commelina erecta is listed as threatened in Iowa, probably extirpated in Michiga, endangered in New Jersey, and extirpated in Pennsylvania.

Links

USDA Plants Profile: http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=COER

References

Lloyd-Reilley, et al. "Erect Dayflower; Plant Fact Sheet." USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.US Department of Agriculture. 13 Nov 2003.

"Erect Dayflower." Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses. K-State Libraries. 7 September 2007. http://kswildflower.org/flower_details.php?flowerID=74

"Commelina erecta PLANTS Profile." USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.US Departmenet of Agriculture. 01 Feb 2012. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=COER

BONAP North America Plant Atlas. 2011. Photograph. Floristic Synthesis of NAWeb.

Submitted By: Minden Dice, July 2012

Wichita State University
Generated on 2011. This website is continuously updated.
Comments can be sent to Mary Liz Jameson.
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