asiatic dayflower (Commelina communis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMON NAMES:
Asiatic dayflower
wandering jew
common dayflower

 

SCIENTIFIC SYNONYMS:
Commelina communis L. var. communis
Commelina communis
L. var. ludens (Miq.) C.B. Clarke
Commelina debilis Ledeb.
Commelina willdenowii Kunth

 

CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.

 

TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name for Asiatic day-
flower is Commelina communis L.

 

NATIVE STATUS: Introduced, United States and Canada.

 

GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

 

Habit: This introduced annual plant is 1-3' long. It can be erect or sprawl

across the ground like a vine. The round stems are smooth and hairless.

 

Leaves: The hairless alternate leaves are up to 5" long and 2" across. They

are ovate, lanceolate-ovate, or slightly cordate. Their margins are smooth

and their veins run parallel to each other. The base of each leaf is sessile

or clasping, and it has a membranous sheath that wraps around the stem.

This sheath is about 1" long and has green longitudinal veins, otherwise it

is white or greenish white. The upper edge of the sheath is usually hairless, although it has fine upright
hairs for an uncommon variety of this species.

 

Flowers: Occasionally, a single flower on a stalk about 1-2" long is pro-

duced from the leaf axils. This flower is about ½–1" across, consisting of

2 large blue petals, 1 small white petal, 3 sepals, 5-6 stamens, and a long

white style. The sepals are usually pale white and translucent. The upper

stamens have showy yellow anthers; they are sterile, but help to attract

insects to the flower. The lower stamens are longer than the upper stamens

and fertile, although their anthers are less showy. An upturned spathe that

lies underneath the flower is green and about 1-2" long. The upper margins

of this spathe are free all the way to the base. Each flower blooms during

the morning for a single day, hence the common name. There is no notice-

able floral scent.

 

Fruit/Seeds: Each flower is replaced by a seed capsule that has 2 cells,

each cell containing 2 seeds. These seeds are dark brown or black and

have a surface that is bumpy and rough (rugose).

 

Roots: The root system is fibrous. This plant can root at the leaf nodes on

moist ground, forming new plants vegetatively. At favorable sites, the

Asiatic dayflower forms colonies that can exclude other species of plants.

 

REGENERATION PROCESS: Asiatic dayflower propogates itself
by reseeding and by have vegetaive spread through rooting at the leaf
nodes.

 

HABITAT TYPES: Habitats include edges of floodplain forests, thickets,
edges of gardens and yards, areas along buildings, fence rows, vacant lots,
and waste areas. This plant prefers disturbed areas, although it occasionally
invades natural areas. As the common name implies, it was introduced into
the United States from East Asia, probably for horticultural purposes.
Weedy and waste places; edges of fields, woods, and marshes, often in thick
herbaceous vegetation; occasionally in woods.

 

SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Partial sun, moist to mesic conditions,
and a fertile soil that is loamy or slightly sandy are preferred. This plant
also tolerates full sun and light shade. Occasionally, it can spread aggres-
sively and become a pest.

 

SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: The blooming period occurs from mid-
summer to early fall, and lasts about 1-2 months.

 

GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Asiatic dayflower is a plant of the
eastern and mid-western parts of the United States and Canada. It occurs
in Florida north to Maine (but not most of the Canadian maritime provinces),
and west to Texas and then north to the Dakotas and Ontario. It does not
naturally occur in the southwest, Rocky Mountain states, or the western
parts of the United States. It does occur, however, in the Pacific northwest
(Oregon and Washington); it does not extend west of Ontario in Canada.

 

SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.

 

IMPORTANCE AND USES: The foliage is eaten by Neolema sex-

punctata (six-spotted beetle). Occasionally, the seeds are eaten by upland

gamebirds and songbirds, including the mourning dove, bobwhite, and

redwing blackbird. The foliage of dayflowers is a preferred food source

of the white-tailed deer.

 

 

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