Commelina erecta (widow’s tears, day flower, white-mouth dayflower, erect dayflower, narrow-leaved dayflower)


place of origin:
North and South America

urban habitat: commonly found in disturbed sites, along roadsides, and railroad tracks.

ecological function: pioneer species; food for wildlife especially white-tailed deer.

history: Variable in appearance, Commelina erecta is currently found in temperate and tropical regions on many continents but is considered endangered in a number of US states. The Seminole tribe of the southern US used the sap from its stem to soothe irritations. It also has been found to contain properties to treat fever, sterility, spasms, and urinary problems. The genus Commelina was named for members of the 18th century Dutch family Commelyn. The two upper petals are said to represent the two brothers who were famous botanists, while the lower petal represents a third brother who died young, before accomplishing anything in botany.