Sunday, June 30, 2013
Erect Dayflower - Commelina erecta
This is a perennial species, a close relative of the spiderworts and roselings, and shares the typical 3-petal flower shape. Dayflowers, as the common name suggests, have blooms that open for only one day, but produce a succession of flowers that keep plants in bloom for many weeks in the summer. Another common name for this species is "white mouth dayflower", so named because the lower petal is white instead of blue. It also is greatly reduced in size.
Dayflowers have a somewhat complex pollination strategy, but the blooms attract many kinds of bees and other pollinators. The seeds are produced in large numbers by late summer. The larger upper petals are a bright sky blue in color. This color is typical for this genus.
This is only 1 of 2 native dayflower species, but a great many nonnative species are common lawn weeds and residents of disturbed habitats. All possess foliage that is somewhat elliptical, with the sessile leaves clasping the main stem. This species is the only one likely to be encountered in xeric conditions, full sun, and upright in nature. Mature specimens bloom in mid to late summer. They typically reach a height of 18- 24 inches.