Commelina communis

Asiatic Dayflower

Botanical description: Found along the margins of freshwater wetlands, ponds, in parks and gardens, asiatic dayflower is disturbance adapted and a first colonizer of bare ground. It is often spotted in relatively shady, damp places as opposed to many other species in the urban flora hot and dry microclimates. It is a striking specimen when it flowers - with two bright, clear blue petals on top and a smaller semi-translucent white petal which falls below the two “ears” with bright yellow and brown stamens protruding from the center. The dayflower, as its name suggests, expresses the most ephemeral of qualities in that each flower is only open for one day - although they are produced from summer until autumn. Its two to three foot long succulent-like stems can root at nodes as they touch the ground, allowing it to move laterally from parent plants but the stems quickly liquefy upon first frost. Commelina is also fast to generate from seed, especially with ample moisture. Commelina communis employs insect mimicry to entice prospective pollinators, attracting over twelve different species of bees, beetles, moths and bugs. Current research suggests that asiatic dayflower may bio-accumulate metals such as zinc, lead and cadmium, as the plant has been seen growing on copper mine spoils in China.