Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Higher Taxonomy
Family: CommelinaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

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.
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.
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert E. Preston & Elizabeth McClintock
Unabridged Reference: Faden 2000 FNANM 22:192--197; Maheshwari & Maheshwari 1955 Phytomorphology 5:413--422
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Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Elizabeth McClintock 2012, Commelina, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 05, 2019.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2019, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 05, 2019.