Carolina Dayflower
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Carolina Dayflower
A Native Photo: P.S. Sivaprasad
Common name: Carolina Dayflower
Botanical name: Commelina caroliniana    Family: Commelinaceae (Dayflower family)
Synonyms: Commelina hasskarlii

Carolina Dayflower is an annual prostrate herb, with stem much branched. Flowers are blue, 5-7 mm across, sepals 3, membranous, the 2 inner often fused at the base, petals 3, longer, 2 of them usually larger and long-clawed, the 3rd sometimes absent. Stamens are 3 perfect and 2-3 imperfect; filaments thread-like, often spirally coiled; anthers oblong, one usually larger than the rest, the imperfect often cross-shaped. Flowers are borne in cymes carried on flower-cluster-stalk 2.5-3 cm long. Spathe is 3-3.5 x 1.5-2 cm, ovate, with a tail at tip, united at the lower margins; upper branches of cymes up to 2 cm long, lower 0.5-1 cm long. Leaves are narrow-lanceshaped, 6-8 x 0.8-1 cm, tapering at tip, round to heart-shaped at base; sheath 2.5-3 cm long. Capsules are ovoid, 3-celled, 3-4 mm long; seeds cylindric, flat. Carolina Dayflower is endemic to Peninsular India. It was introduced in the United States a long time ago, but was then mistakenly believed to be a native there, hence the name Carolina. Flowering: January-February.

Identification credit: P.S. Sivaprasad Photographed in Palakkad, Kerala.

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