Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Key to families | Table of families and genera
Previous taxon Index to accepted names and synonyms:
| A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |
Next taxon
Commelina

Higher Taxonomy
Family: CommelinaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: SPIDERWORT FAMILY
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, generally glabrous. Stem: prostrate to erect or climbing; nodes often rooting. Leaf: alternate, entire, simple, linear to ovate, closed basal sheath or lower leaf clasping stem. Inflorescence: cyme, umbel-like or not, terminal or terminal and axillary, subtended by 1--2 bracts [not]. Flower: generally bisexual, bilateral or radial, generally insect-pollinated; sepals 3, generally green; petals 3, blue, white, rose, purple, or pale violet, generally ephemeral; stamens 6 (3 sterile or not), filaments generally slender, often hairy; ovary superior, chambers 3, style 1. Fruit: generally capsule. Seed: 1--few per chamber.
Genera In Family: 40 genera, +- 630 species: especially tropics, subtropics some cultivated as ornamental.
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Elizabeth McClintock
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.

Commelina
Habit: Annual [perennial herb]. Inflorescence: flowers 1 or in few-flowered clusters, subtended by 1 +- leaf-like bract. Flower: bilateral; 2 petals larger, [generally blue or] pale violet, 1 smaller, paler; filaments glabrous.
Species In Genus: +- 170 species: tropics, warm temperate. Etymology: (Jan, 1629--1692, and nephew Kaspar, 1667--1731, Commelijn, Holland)
Unabridged Note: According to Linnaeus (1737, Critica Botanica; pp. 62--63 in translation by A. Hort, 1938) and Tucker (1989, Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 70:97--130) the genus was named for 3 members of the Commelijn family, 2 of whom (Jan and Kaspar) became famous botanists and are represented by the 2 large, showy petals; the third member (Kaspar, Jr., 1700--1734, son of Kaspar) died without having accomplished anything in Botany and is represented by the third, small, not showy petal. According to Tucker, Wijnands (1983, The Botany of the Commelins. viii + 232 pp. 64 pls. Rotterdam) contends that the genus name actually was adopted by Plumier, who probably was not aware of Kaspar, Jr.
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Elizabeth McClintock
Jepson Online Interchange

Previous taxon: Commelinaceae
Next taxon: Commelina benghalensis

Name Search

Contact/Feedback

Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Elizabeth McClintock 2016. Commelina, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=11463, accessed on May 02, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on May 02, 2016.


Commelina sp.
click for enlargement
© 2002 California Academy of Sciences
Commelina petersii
click for enlargement
© 2004 California Academy of Sciences

More photos of Commelina in CalPhotos