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Flora of Taiwan | Family List | Commelinaceae

Commelina Linn., Sp. Pl. 1: 60. 1753; Brückner in Engler, Naturlich. Pflanzenfam., ed. 2, 15a: 177. 1930; Morton, J. Linn. Soc. Bot. 60: 171. 1967; Rao et al., J. Linn. Soc. Bot. 60: 359. 1968; D. Y. Hong, Acta Phytotax. Sin. 12 (4): 480, 1974; K. C. Hsu in Li et al. Fl. Taiwan 5: 161. 1978; Cook, Aqu. Wetl. Pl. Ind. 85. 1966; D. Y. Hong et al., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 13 (3): 125. 1997.


Commelina communis

Credit: Jenn-Che Wang

Annual or perennial herbs. Roots fibrous. Stems branched, prostrate at base, erect above, rooting at nodes. Leaves sessile to subpetiolate, lanceolate or ovate; sheath cylindrical, pilose at margins. Prophyll sheathing, membranous, apex acuminate. Inflorescences terminal and leaf-opposed, composed of 1-2 cincinni enclosed in a spathe-like bract; spathe infundibuliform, or cordate and folded; bracteoles lacking; pedicels erect in anthesis and bent in fruiting. Flowers zygomorphic, usually dimorphic, in functionally male flowers pistil abortive; sepals 3, greenish, persistent, elliptic, concave, unequal, the anticous 2, elliptic, the posticous one lanceolate; petals 3, free, unequal: the lateral petals 2, blue to indigo rarely white, equal, planar, clawed, the limb broadly rounded-ovate; the medial petal white or blue, small; fertile stamens 3, anticous, dimorphic, the lateral stamens antesepalous, the medial stamen antepetalous; anther yellow, brown or blue, filaments glabrous; staminodes 2-3, posticous, all alike, antherodes cruciate; ovary ellipsoid-globoid, glabrous; Capsules brown, bilocular or trilocular, valves subequal, locules 1-2 seeded, dorsal locule uaually indehiscent. Seeds brown to black, deltoid or elliptic in outline, dorsiventral, ventral surface planar, dorsal convex, with farinose granules, embryotega lateral, hilum linear.

Species ca. 170, distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical world, Africa and Asia are the main centres; five species in Taiwan.

1 Spathe infundibuliform, margins fused   (2)
+ Spathe leafy and folded, margins unfused   (4)
2 (1) Annual herbs; leaves ovate; plants with cleistogamous flowers; capsules 5 seeded; seeds dimorphic, reticulate   Commelina benghalensis
+ Perennial herbs; leaves lanceolate; plants without cleistogamous flowers; capsules 3 seeded; seeds monomorphic, smooth   (3)
3 (2) Leaves 9-19 cm long, 2.5-5 cm wide, scabrous; 1-7 inflorescences usually aggregated at the terminal of stems, spathe to 2.7 cm long   Commelina paludosa
+ Leaves 3-8 cm long, 0.9-1.8 cm wide, glabrous or pubescent; inflorescences not aggregated, spathe to 2 cm long   Commelina auriculata
4 (1) Annual herbs; spathe broadly cordate, veinlets conspicuous, puberulent; flowers larger, the lateral petals ca. 1 cm long; capsules bilocular, 4-seeded, seeds monomorphic   Commelina communis
+ Perennial herbs; spathe lanceolate, veinlets inconspicuous, glabrous; flowers smaller, the lateral petals ca. 0.5 cm long, capsules trilocular, 5-seeded, seeds dimorphic   Commelina diffusa

Lower Taxa


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