Scientific Name: Commelina diffusa

Common Name: climbing dayflower

Other Common Names: spreading dayflower

Habit: Spreading dayflower is a creeping annual herb that can be found in forest, floodplain, mesics, wetland, marsh, and culturally developed land. Plants are more common in turfgrass that is sandy. Seeds germinate in spring and plants grow and bloom until frost. Blooms typically last one day, hence the name dayflower. Plants reproduce by seed and vegetative stolons, which root at the nodes.

Leaves: Leaves are bright green, alternately arranged, hairless except on the sheath, and have parallel veins. Leaves are lance shaped 2.5 to 8 cm long and 0.4 to 1.5 cm wide with margins that curve upward giving the leaf somewhat of a cupped shape. Leaves and stems are shiny and typically lack hairs.

Identifying Characteristics: Creeping herb produces short erect branches with shiny lanced-shaped leaves. Flowers are blue, showy, and have two larger petals and one smaller petal. All three petals are typically blue in spreading dayflower but the smaller flower is typically white in Asiatic dayflower, a related species. Nodes are swollen and will often root when in contact with the soil.

Flower Seed Head: Flowers are blue or rarely white born in a leaf-like enclosure that opens along the margins. They are about the size of a dime. Flowers have three blue petals. Plants are called dayflower because the flowers typically last only one day after opening.

Seed Fruit: Fruit is a green to yellow-green capsule with 2 to 3 compartments that split along a seam. Brown to black seeds are pitted with numerous depressions and 2 to 4 mm long.

Where Found: Spreading dayflower originated from Asia. Today, it can commonly be found in the southeast and south central US and in tropical Asia extending eastward into Polynesia, including Hawaii.

  • Life cycle: summer annual

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Commelinaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: alternate

  • Leaf shape: lance

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Leaf margin: entire

  • Stem hairs: no hairs

  • Flower color: blue

  • Growth habit: prostrate and nonwoody

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: simple

  • Leaf hairs: has hairs; no hairs

  • Flower symmetry: not symmetrical

  • Flower diameter: pencil; dime

  • Root structure: fibrous

  • Leaf stalk: none