Commelina erecta L.
  • Sp. Pl.
  • Large Day Flower

Cite taxon page as 'WFO (2021): Commelina erecta L. Published on the Internet; Accessed on: 28 Sep 2021'

General Information

Herbs, perennial. Roots fleshy, stout, tufted. Stems cespitose, usually erect to ascending (rarely decumbent, rooting at nodes). Leaves: leaf sheath auriculate at apex; blade sessile or petiolate, linear to lanceolate (rarely lanceolate-ovate), 5--15 ´ 0.3--4 cm, apex acuminate (rarely acute). Inflorescences: distal cyme vestigial, included; spathes solitary or clustered, green, pedunculate, not at all to strongly falcate, 1--2.5(--4) ´ 0.7--1.5(--2.5) cm, margins longly connate, glabrous except along connate edge, apex acute to acuminate, sometimes purple, usually variously pubescent; peduncles 0.5--1(--2) cm. Flowers bisexual and staminate, 1.5--4 cm wide; proximal petal minute, white, distal petals blue (rarely lavender or white); staminodes 3, staminodes and medial stamen entirely yellow; antherodes cruciform. Capsules 3-locular, 2-valved (very rarely 3-valved), 3.5--4.5 ´ 3--5 mm; abaxial locule warty, indehiscent (very rarely smooth and dehiscent); adaxial locules smooth, dehiscent. Seeds 3, brown, with soft, whitish tissue at both ends or in a band, 2.4--3.5 ´ 2.3--2.8 mm, nearly smooth. 2n = 60.

  • Provided by: [J].Flora of North America @
    • Source: [
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    1. Commelina erecta L., Sp. Pl. 41 (1753). Lectotipo (designado por Clarke, 1881): Dillenius, Hort. Eltham. t. 77, f. 88 (1732).

    Por D.R. Hunt.

    Commelina elegans Kunth, C. virginica auct., non L.

    Tallos hasta 70 cm o más, erectos o decumbentes; raíces agregadas, delgadas, tuberosas. Hojas 7-10(-15) x 0.3-3 cm, lineares a lanceoladas a ovado-lanceoladas, agudas o acuminadas, redondeadas en la base, generalmente glabras, auriculadas en la unión de la lámina y la vaina; vainas con tricomas blancos. Inflorescencias solitarias o 2-4 agrupadas en el ápice del tallo; pedúnculos generalmente menos de 1 cm; espata 2-3.5 cm x 6-12 mm, subovada, cortamente acuminada, glabra o pelosa, los márgenes fusionados en el envés; cima inferior obsoleta; cima superior con 3-6 flores. Sépalos 4-5 mm; pétalos superiores 10-25 mm, azul pálido a azul intenso; pétalo inferior muy reducido, blanco. Cápsulas con 2-3 semillas; semillas 4 mm, pardo-grisáceas a negras, lisas, puberulentas. 2n=60. Matorrales y bosques húmedos, tierras cultivadas. T (Guadarrama et al. 291, MEXU); Ch (Hunt 7185, K); Y (Virgo 204, K); B (Gentle 7849, K); G (Contreras 1135, K); H (Trott et al. 197, K); ES (Renson 199, NY); N (Wil~liams y Molina R. 23771, NY); CR (Taylor 4399, NY); P (Woodson et al. 1218, NY). 0-1500 m. (S. Estados Unidos a Argentina.)

    Esta especie es polimorfa y tiene numerosas variantes nombradas. Las plantas con hojas angostas (3-10 mm de ancho) son tratadas a veces como var. angustifolia (Michaux) Fern. Commelina standleyi es similar superficialmente, con hojas escábridas no auriculadas al final de la vaina.

  • Provided by: [L].Flora Mesoamericana
    • Source: [
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    • 1
    • ]. 

    Commelina erecta L., Sp. Pl. 41. 1753; C. elegans Kunth.

    Perennes; tallos erectos o decumbentes, hasta 70 cm de alto o más, raíces delgadas y tuberosas, agrupadas. Hojas linear-lanceoladas a ovado-lanceoladas, 7–10 (–15) cm de largo y 0.3–3 cm de ancho, agudas a acuminadas en el ápice, redondeadas en la base, generalmente glabras, auriculadas en la unión de la lámina con la vaina, vaina con tricomas blancos. Inflorescencias cimas solitarias ó 2–4 agrupadas en el extremo de los tallos, pedúnculos generalmente menos de 1 cm de largo, espata semiovada, 2–3.5 cm de largo y 6–12 mm de ancho, cortamente acuminada, márgenes fusionados dorsalmente, glabra o pilosa, cima inferior obsoleta, la superior con 3–6 flores; sépalos 4–5 mm de largo; pétalos superiores 1–2.5 cm de largo, azul claros a obscuros, el inferior mucho más reducido, blanco. Cápsula seca y dehiscente; semillas 2–3, 4 mm de largo, café-grisáceas a negras, lisas, puberulentas.

    Maleza común, áreas perturbadas, en todas las zonas del país; 20–1500 m; fl y fr todo el año; Moreno 9651, Robleto 1228; sur de los Estados Unidos a Argentina. Es una especie polimorfa a la que se ha dado varios nombres. Las plantas con hojas angostas (3–10 mm de ancho), han sido tratadas como C. erecta var. angustifolia (Michx.) Fernald. C. standleyi es de apariencia similar pero tiene las hojas escábridas no auriculadas. Ha sido erróneamente identificada como C. virginica L.

  • Provided by: [I].Flora de Nicaragua
    • Source: [
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    Tallos erectos o decumbentes, ca. 70 cm o más, a veces glaucos. Hojas 3–10(–15) × 0.3–3 cm, lineares alanceoladas u ovado-lanceoladas, oblicuas, por lo general cuneadas en la base, agudas a acuminadas en el ápice,auriculadas en la unión con la vaina, glabras o pubescentes, con frecuencia ásperas en el envés hacia el ápice;vaina con pubescencia incolora o glabra. Infls. solitarias ó 2–4, agrupadas cerca del ápice del tallo; pedúnculogeneralmente 1 cm, puberulento; espata 2–3.5 × 0.6–1.2 cm, subovada, truncada a redondeada en la base,corto-acuminada en el ápice, glabra o pubescente, los márgenes fusionados abajo. Fls. con sépalos 4–5 mm;pétalos superiores azul muy pálido (casi blancos) a intenso, el inferior blanco. Frs. capsulares, ca. 5 mm, am-pliamente bilobados, triloculares, bivalvados, 2 lóculos dehiscentes y lisos, el otro indehiscente y arrugado;semilla 1 por lóculo, lisa, escasamente farinosa, gris, café claro a negra.

  • Provided by: [H].Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica
    • Source: [
    • 8
    • ]. 

    "Perennial from a cluster of thickened fibrous roots; stems erect or ascending, to 1 m, usually branched; principal lvs linear to lanceolate, 4–15 × 0.5–4 cm, the sheaths white-ciliate, somewhat prolonged at the summit into rounded, often flaring auricles; spathes arising near the summit of the culm, solitary or in small clusters, short-peduncled, broadly semi-deltoid, often with conspicuous radiating cross-veins, the margins connate in the lower third, upper pet 10–25 mm, the lower one much smaller and white; 2n=56–120. Dry, usually sandy soil; s. N.Y. to Pa., O., Mich., se. Minn., Io., and Wyo., s. to S. Amer.; also Old World. Highly variable, but only with difficulty divisible into vars. Var. erecta (C. virginica, misapplied; C. elegans), with lanceolate or lance-ovate lvs 10–15 ×1.5–4 cm, and with the spathes glabrous or nearly so, is mainly Ozarkian (with us), but extends ±throughout the range of the sp. Var. angustifolia (Mich.) Fernald (incl. C. crispa), with linear lvs 4–10cm and small spathes 1–2 cm, centers in Tex., but extends irregularly into our range. Var. deamiana Fernald, with linear lvs 10–15 cm, the spathes 2.5–3.5 cm and often pilose at base, occurs mainly on sand dunes from Ind. and s. Mich. to Neb., occasionally s. and w. to Tex. and Ariz."

  • Provided by: [K].New York Botanical Garden
    • Source: [
    • 9
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    Perennial herb, erect or spreading, up to 500 mm tall. Capsule triangular, with dorsal locule indehiscent, tuberculate. Cymes 1 mm each spathe. Leaves narrowly ovate-attenuate, 60-120 mm long. Spathes single and shortly pedicelled. Flowers blue.

  • Provided by: [F].e-Flora of South Africa
    • Source: [
    • 11
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    Perennials (chamaephytes), erect or spreading and rooting at nodes; roots hard, when young covered with a velamen of root-hairs. Leaves narrowly ovate-attenuate, 60-120 mm long, pseudo-petiolate at junction of lamina with apex of auriculate, ciliate sheath, margins minutely white-pustulate, glabrous or puberulous. Spathe pedunculate and solitary or clustered apically, fused, broadly ovate-acute, 15-30 mm long, glabrous to puberulous. Lower cyme absent. Flowers with petals blue. Capsule with 3 one-seeded locules; dorsal locule indehiscent, tuberculate, seed fused to wall; ventral locules dehiscent, smooth; seeds globose smooth, farinose.

  • Provided by: [F].e-Flora of South Africa
    • Source: [
    • 12
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    Commelina erecta grows as a creeping perennial herb along the ground or up on other vegetation to 50 in length, rooting at the nodes. The leaves are arranged alternately, to 10 cm in length and 3 cm wide, ovate to lanceolate to oblanceolate with parallel veins and an entire margin. The leaf base is clasping and may overlap with other leaves. Vegetation may or may not have slight pubescence. The complete, perfect and imperfect, appearing zygomorphic flowers are arranged with 1-3 flowers in cymes that are in a terminal spathe. The spathe is not open along the adaxial side. The peduncle is pubescent. The calyx has 3 unfused, green, sepals. The corolla has 3 blue petals. In the imperfect flowers there are 3 unfused, stamens, 2 staminodes and no ovary. In the perfect flowers there are 3 unfused, stamens, 2 staminodes and the ovary is superior and has 3 locules and 3 ovules. The fruit is a capsule

  • Provided by: [E].Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve
    • Source: [
    • 10
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    Commelina erecta grows in Human Altered environments (yards and gardens).

  • Provided by: [E].Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve
    • Source: [
    • 10
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    Riverbeds, rocky hillsides, disturbed woodland.

  • Provided by: [F].e-Flora of South Africa
    • Source: [
    • 11
    • ]. 

    It is common on dunes or sandy flats near the sea; also found in wet habitats, e.g. in spray of Ruacana Falls in South West Africa/Namibia. The spathes are single and shortly pedicelled in typical plants but, especially along the Natal coast, they become clustered and sessile.

  • Provided by: [F].e-Flora of South Africa
    • Source: [
    • 12
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    Commelina erecta is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago and is not found in natural areas but does occur throughout many of the island groupings. It is native to North, Central, and South America as well as central and southern Africa.

  • Provided by: [E].Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve
    • Source: [
    • 10
    • ]. 

    A species first described from N. America; common in Asia and Africa, coming as far south as Natal and the E. Cape.

  • Provided by: [F].e-Flora of South Africa
    • Source: [
    • 12
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    Commelina erecta is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago. It is used as an ornamental.

  • Provided by: [E].Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve
    • Source: [
    • 10
    • ]. 

    Distribution Map

    • Native distribution
    Found in
    • Southern America Brazil Amazonas
    • Parí
    • Rondônia
    • Tocantins
    • Alagoas
    • Bahia
    • Ceará
    • Maranh
    • Paraába
    • Pernambuco
    • Piauá
    • Rio Grande do Norte
    • Sergipe
    • Paraní
    • Rio Grande do Sul
    • Santa Catarina
    • Espirito Santo
    • Minas Gerais
    • Rio de Janeiro
    • São Paulo
    • Brazilia Distrito Federal
    • Goiás
    • Mato Grosso
    • Mato Grosso do Sul


    Nationally Preferred Names

    Large Day FlowerEnglishBS
    French GrassEnglishBS

    Other Local Names


     Information From

    World Flora Online Data. 2017.
    • A CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).
    MBG Floras Images
    Flora images. Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed on Jun. 2018.
    • B Missouri Botanical Garden
    • C Missouri Botanical Garden
    Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve
    Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve. 2020. Flora by Common Name and by Scientific Name. Bahamas National Trust. Available at Accessed on (2020/07/09).
    • D Ethan Freid All rights Preserved
    • E Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve. All rights Preserved
    e-Flora of South Africa
    e-Flora of South Africa. v1.21. 2018. South African National Biodiversity Institute.
    • F All Rights Reserved
    Brazilian Flora 2020 project - Projeto Flora do Brasil 2020
    Brazil Flora G (2014): Brazilian Flora 2020 project - Projeto Flora do Brasil 2020. v393.147. Instituto de Pesquisas Jardim Botanico do Rio de Janeiro. Dataset/Checklist. doi:10.15468/1mtkaw
    • G Group Brazil Flora, REFLORA Program
    Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica
    Hammel, B. E.; Grayum, M. H.; Herrera, C.; Zamora, N. Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, 2003-2014
    • H Missouri Botanical Garden
    Flora de Nicaragua
    WD Stevens, CU Ulloa, A Pool and OM Montiel. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, 2001
    • I Missouri Botanical Garden
    Flora of North America @
    'Flora of North America @ eFloras (2008). Published on the Internet [accessed August 2016]' Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
    • J Flora of North America Association
    New York Botanical Garden
    Descriptions of plants should be attributed to the full citation for each individual article, chapter or book that is the source for each record, which should include the authors of original publication.
    • K Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
    Flora Mesoamericana
    Gerrit Davidse, Mario Sousa Sánchez, A. O. Chater, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Instituto de Biología, Missouri Botanical Garden, Natural History Museum (London, England) UNAM, 1994
    • L Missouri Botanical Garden
    World Flora Online consortium
    World Flora Online Data. 2018.
    • M CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).
    International Union for Conservation of Nature v.3
    IUCN 2019. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2019-1.
    • N See IUCN Terms and conditions of use
    International Union for Conservation of Nature
    IUCN 2016. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-2
    • O All Rights Reserved