Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Commelina erecta, Whitemouth Dayflower

Commelina erecta, Whitemouth Dayflower, Southwest Desert Flora Commelina erecta, Whitemouth Dayflower, Southwest Desert Flora Commelina erecta, Whitemouth Dayflower, Southwest Desert Flora

Scientific Name: Commelina erecta
Common Name: Whitemouth Dayflower
Also Called: Day Flower, Dayflower, Erect Dayflower, Slender Dayflower, Slender Day-flower, White-mouth Dayflower, Widow's Tears (Spanish: Hierba del Pollo)
Family: Commelinaceae, Dayflower or Spiderwort Family
Synonyms: (Commelina crispa)
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: Not much height, 10 or 12 inches; may spread out several feet.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; procumbent, slender stems, jointed, grows upright in helper plants, may spread on ground up to 3 feet.
Leaves: Green; alternate, lance shaped or linear, simple.
Flower Color: Blue; irregular perianth, two upright showy blue petals, lower petal is smaller, white, flowers bloom on erect branches extending from a spathlike inflorescence.
Flowering Season: May to September, later in Texas (May to October).
Elevation: 3,500 to 5,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Sandy well drained soil.

Recorded Range: In the United States Whitemouth Dayflower is found in the mid-west and eastern states as well as Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming; AL, AR, AZ, CO, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NM, NY, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, WI, WV and WY. It also occurs in Baja California, Mexico Africa and western Asia.
In Arizona Whitemouth Dayflower in found in the southeast and southern parts of the state.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Commelina erecta.

U.S. Weed Information: No data available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.

Wetland Indicator: In North America Commelina erecta is included on the USDA 2012 National Wetland Plant List as a: (FACU) Facultative Upland, usually occur in non-wetlands; (FAC) Facultative, occur in wetlands and non-wetlands and (UPL) Obligate Upland, almost never occur in wetlands species.

Threatened/Endangered Information: 4 states list Commelina erecta as: Threatened; Iowa, Endangered; New Jersey, Probably Extirpated; Michigan, and Extirpated; Pennsylvania.

Genus Information: 13 species in Commelina in the United States, 2 species in Arizona. 3 varieties in Commelina erecta, all 3 varieties found in Arizona;
Commelina erecta var. angustifolia, Whitemouth Dayflower,
Commelina erecta var. deamiana, Whitemouth Dayflower and
Commelina erecta var. erecta, also Whitemouth Dayflower.

Comments: Whitemouth Dayflower is variable across North America. Photos above taken in November at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

Whitemouth Dayflower is similar in appearance to Prairie Spiderwort, Tradescantia occidentalis.

Date Profile Completed: 3/29/2015, rev. 07/22/2015, updated format 10/11/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database – ITIS search
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
Robert B. Faden, FNA Vol. 22, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 22 | Commelinaceae | Commelina, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford. (accessed 3/29/2015).
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 3/29/2015]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Commelina erecta', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 20 August 2014, 15:08 UTC, [accessed 29 March 2015]
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,