General: Erect dayflower (Commelina erecta) is a native, perennial, warm-season forb. A member of the spiderwort (Commelinaceae) family, erect dayflower is said to be named for the three Commelin brothers who were all Dutch botanists, although only two were productive in their field. Erect dayflower’s two larger petals are said to represent the two Commelins who were published, while the third inconspicuous petal represents the unpublished brother (Ajilvsgi 1991).
Erect dayflower has a showy blue flower that is attractive, but ephemeral. Erect dayflower starts out erect, becoming decumbent as it matures (Correll & Johnston 1996). There are three varieties: erecta, deamiana, and angustifolia. Plants are highly variable and the individual varieties are difficult to distinguish (Gleason & Cronquist 1991). Erect dayflower is often considered a weed (Correll & Johnston 1996), especially in rice fields.
Distribution: For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.
Habitat: Erect dayflower can grow in both sandy and clayey soils in almost all habitats (Ajilvsgi 1991). It is found along streambanks, in gardens, on prairies, along roadsides, and in waste places (Jones 1982).
Derivation of specific name
Range and Habitat in Illinois
Regularity: Regularly occurring
India, Africa and Australia
State - Kerala, District/s: Palakkad, Idukki, Pathanamthitta, Kozhikkode, Thrissur"
Erect dayflower can be found from New York and Wisconsin south to Arizona and Florida, west to Wyoming, and throughout most of the eastern United States. Variety erecta extends throughout most of the range of the species, while angustifolia is primarily found in Texas, and deamiana grows on sand dunes from Indiana and southern Michigan to Nebraska and is sometimes found as far south and west as Texas and Arizona (Gleason & Cronquist 1991).
In terminal clusters; blue. Flowering throughout the year.
A 3-celled capsule, 2-valved; seeds 3, ashy, adnate to the capsule wall. Fruiting throughout the year.
Leaves and spathes ciliate along margin. Flowers relatively large for the genus.
Catalog Number: US 1408024
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): P. C. Standley
Year Collected: 1927
Locality: Quebrada Seca., Yoro, Honduras, Central America
- Isotype: Standley, P. C. 1930. Publ. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Bot. Ser. 8: 136.
Habitat and Ecology
Commonly grows in muddy soil, marshes and in between rocks (Khanna and Ram Saran 2001). However, Cook (1996) has excluded this species stating that it is not a wetland species.
Range and Habitat in Illinois
Habitat & Distribution
Erect dayflower can be grown from cuttings or seed. An informal germination test conducted in the greenhouse at the Kika de la Garza PMC yielded a germination average of 87% with approximately twelve hours of daylight at 75 to 85ºF and twelve hours of darkness at 50 to 60ºF. Cuttings of dayflower had about an 80% survival rate with one node and three node stem cuttings. It is recommended that a rooting hormone be used to encourage rapid rooting. Cuttings and seedlings can be transplanted in 6 to 8 weeks. Irrigation is recommended, although not critical, at drier sites to help the young plants get established. It is recommended that young plants be at least 6 inches in height before transplanting.
The use of plastic plant shelters is beneficial to protect young plants from heavy grazing, reduce plant competition, and create a more beneficial microclimate until young plants can get established.
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Commelina erecta
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).
Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)
Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service) office for more information. Look in the phone book under ”United States Government.” The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be listed under the subheading “Department of Agriculture.”
The seed of erect dayflower is easy to process once harvested. However, the prostrate and indeterminate growth form of erect dayflower results in harvests of very small quantities of seed. This makes commercial production of large quantities of seed uneconomical, and limits its use for large-scale seedings and plantings.
Weed control is a problem in a dayflower plot as the leggy plants make it difficult to remove the weeds without removing the plants. A weed mat is recommended for situations, such as seed or plant production plantings, where weed control is a necessity. In other situations, such as deer food plots, weed control may not be an issue. Irrigation is recommended during drier periods for seed and plant production plantings.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Whole plant: Emollient, vulnerary; treatment of wounds; decoction as an external wash for mycoses; macerated in rum and rubbed on spider bites.
Erect dayflower is said to be a preferred food source for white-tailed deer (Chamrad & Box 1968; Drawe 1968), so it is a good plant to consider when establishing deer food plots. Erect dayflower is also grazed by cattle (Everitt, Drawe, & Lonard 1999). In addition, its seeds are eaten by bobwhite quail, white-winged doves, and mourning doves (Everitt, Drawe, & Lonard 1999). Erect dayflower can also be a good plant for native area restoration projects.
Commelina erecta, commonly known as the white mouth dayflower or slender dayflower, is a perennial herb native throughout the Americas, Africa and western Asia. It is considered to be the most variable species of Commelina in North America. Fernald recognized three varieties, but Robert B. Faden has questioned their significance.
Distribution and habitat
Commelina erecta is native to much of the world, including the Americas, Africa and western Asia. In the Americas it is present in the United States, the West Indies, every country of Central America and south through the tropics into Argentina. In the United States it can be found from New York and Nebraska in the north, south to Florida and Texas. In the West Indies it is present throughout Puerto Rico and on several of the Virgin Islands such as Saint Croix, Saint Thomas, Saint John, George Dog Island, Anegada, Great Camanoe, Guana Island, Tortola and Water Island.
In tropical Africa the plant is also widespread. In west Africa it is present in Senegal, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin, Nigeria, and Bioko.
In the West Indies it is common in disturbed sites as well as in dry to moist woods from sea level up to 1300 meters.
- "Commelina erecta". NatureServe Explorer. NatureServe. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
- De Egea, J.; Pena-Chocarro, M.; Espada, C.; Knapp, S. (2012). "Checklist of vascular plants of the Department of Ñeembucú, Paraguay". PhytoKeys 9 (9): 15–179. doi:10.3897/phytokeys.9.2279. PMC 3281576. PMID 22371688.
- Faden, Robert (2006), "Commelina erecta", in Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+, Flora of North America online 22, New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, retrieved 2007-12-12
- Acevedo-Rodriguez, Pedro; Strong, Mark T. (2005), "Monocotyledons and Gymnosperms of Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands", Contributions of the United States National Herbarium 52: 158
- Brenan, J.P.M. (1968), "Commelinaceae", in Hutchinson, J.; Dalziel, J.M., Flora of West Tropical Africa 3, pp. 49–50
FG Creole: radie crapaud, zogra.
The Ketchwa people of Ecuador ingest the sap as an oral contraceptive.
This is by far the most variable species of Commelina in the flora. Three freely intergrading varieties may be recognized, although they are of questionable significance: C. erecta var. erecta, with larger leaves lanceolate to lanceolate-ovate, (1.5--)2--4 cm wide, and spathes (2.2--)2.5--3.6 cm, occurs throughout our region; C. erecta var. angustifolia (Michaux) Fernald, with leaves linear to narrowly lanceolate, 0.3--1.5 cm wide, and spathes 1--2 cm, is mainly southern but extends as far north as Virginia; and C. erecta var. deamiana Fernald, with leaves linear to narrowly lanceolate, 0.5--1.7 cm wide, and spathes 2--3.5 cm, occurs in midwestern United States south to Texas.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Three wide-ranging varieties recognized by Kartesz (5/98 review draft) but not by Faden (5/98 FNA review draft).
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