Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.
Search native plant database:
Marcus, Joseph A.
Commelina erecta L.
Whitemouth dayflower, Widow's tears, Day flower, White-mouth dayflower
USDA Symbol: COER
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
The soft, jointed stems of this perennial grow upright only if supported by other plants. Usually they lie on the ground and grow up to 3 ft. long. The ephemeral flowers, about 1 in. across, have two larger, showy, blue petals and one much smaller white petal. Flowers with 2 large, ear-like, blue petals and one smaller petal bloom in small clusters, in a bract, at the top of several erect branches. They only bloom for a day, but there are several buds on a plant that open 3-4 days apart. The principal leaves are linear to somewhat lance-shaped.
This is a highly variable species. The Spanish name means herb of the (cooked) chicken.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
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 , WY Native Distribution:
FL to NM, n. to NJ, OH, IL & s. SD Native Habitat:
Open pinelands; dry scrub & woods USDA Native Status: L48(N), PR(N), VI(N)
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Commelina erecta can be grown from seed or transplanted tubers. Its flower is a beautiful medium blue, most frequently seen in spring or fall but occasionally occuring in July and August. It is well suited to naturalized mass plantings in meadows or by wooded areas; beware that the plant can become invasive. This is a variable species, particularly in regards to the size and shape of the leaves. This variation has led to segregation as species or varieties by some authorities.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Deer Resistant: No
PropagationPropagation Material: Tubers
Description: Not Available
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0225
Collected May 27, 1992 in Comal County by Mary Beth WhiteNPSOT 0021
Collected July 10, 1990 in Bexar County by Judith C. BerryNPSOT 0020
Collected July 10, 1990 in Bexar County by Judith C. Berry
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-661
Collected 2008-07-02 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Recommended Species Lists
Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.
View Recommended Species page
Record Modified: 2009-02-15
Research By: NPC, GDB