Commelina Plum. ex L.

This genus is accepted, and its native range is Cosmopolitan.


M. Thulin et al. Flora of Somalia, Vol. 1-4 [updated 2008]

Morphology General Habit
Annuals or perennials with thin or tuberous roots
Morphology Leaves
Leaves distichous or spirally arranged, blade sessile or petiolate, base usually oblique (sometimes symmetric)
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescences terminal and leaf-opposed, composed of 1–2 cymes enclosed in spathes, upper cyme lacking, vestigial or producing 1–several, usually male (occasionally some bisexual) flowers, lower cyme usually several-flowered; spathes with margins free or fused basally, often filled with a mucilaginous liquid
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers bisexual and male, zygomorphic; sepals sepaline, free or the anterior 2 connate; petals free, posterior 2 large, clawed, usually blue (sometimes lavender, yellow, peach, apricot or white), anterior petal usually much smaller, sometimes different in colour; filaments all glabrous; stamens 3, anterior, the medial different in form and size from the others; staminodes (2–)3, shorter than the stamens, antherodes commonly 4–6-lobed; ovary 2- to 3­-celled, dorsal cell 1-ovulate or obsolete; ventral cells 1-­2-ovulate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsules 2–3-celled (occasionally 1-celled), 1–5-seeded
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds with a linear hilum and lateral embryotega.
About 200 species, almost cosmopolitan, mainly tropical, most diverse in Africa.
Measurements of spathes in this account refer to the folded spathe.

Native to:

Alabama, Altay, Amur, Andaman Is., Angola, Argentina Northeast, Argentina Northwest, Arizona, Arkansas, Aruba, Assam, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bismarck Archipelago, Bolivia, Borneo, Botswana, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, Burkina, Burundi, Buryatiya, Cabinda, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Provinces, Cape Verde, Caprivi Strip, Cayman Is., Central African Repu, Central European Rus, Chad, China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, Chita, Colombia, Colorado, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Delaware, District of Columbia, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, East European Russia, East Himalaya, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Florida, Free State, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gulf of Guinea Is., Gulf States, Guyana, Hainan, Haiti, Honduras, Illinois, India, Indiana, Inner Mongolia, Iowa, Irkutsk, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jawa, Kamchatka, Kansas, Kazan-retto, Kentucky, Kenya, Khabarovsk, Korea, Kuril Is., KwaZulu-Natal, Laos, Lebanon-Syria, Leeward Is., Lesotho, Lesser Sunda Is., Liberia, Louisiana, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaya, Maldives, Mali, Maluku, Manchuria, Marquesas, Maryland, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Morocco, Mozambique, Mozambique Channel I, Myanmar, Namibia, Nansei-shoto, Nebraska, Nepal, Netherlands Antilles, New Guinea, New Jersey, New Mexico, New South Wales, New York, Nicaragua, Nicobar Is., Niger, Nigeria, Niue, Norfolk Is., North Carolina, North Caucasus, Northern Provinces, Northern Territory, Ogasawara-shoto, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oman, Pakistan, Panamá, Paraguay, Pennsylvania, Peru, Philippines, Pitcairn Is., Primorye, Puerto Rico, Queensland, Rhode I., Rwanda, Réunion, Sakhalin, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Socotra, Somalia, South Australia, South Carolina, South China Sea, South Dakota, Southwest Caribbean, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Suriname, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Tennessee, Texas, Thailand, Tibet, Togo, Tonga, Transcaucasus, Trinidad-Tobago, Tuamotu, Tubuai Is., Turks-Caicos Is., Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, Venezuelan Antilles, Vietnam, Virginia, Wallis-Futuna Is., West Himalaya, West Virginia, Western Australia, Windward Is., Wisconsin, Wyoming, Yemen, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

Introduced into:

Albania, Algeria, Ascension, Austria, Bulgaria, California, Canary Is., Caroline Is., Central American Pac, Chagos Archipelago, Chile Central, Christmas I., Connecticut, Cook Is., Czechoslovakia, Easter Is., Galápagos, Hawaii, Italy, Krym, Madeira, Maine, Marianas, Massachusetts, New Caledonia, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ontario, Oregon, Palestine, Portugal, Québec, Romania, Society Is., Spain, St.Helena, Tokelau-Manihiki, Vermont, Yugoslavia

Wandering Jew

Commelina Plum. ex L. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Jul 1, 2001 Ryan, P. [352], Cameroon K000108811 No
Tweedie [693A], Kenya 2226.000 No
Tweedie [468A], Kenya 2227.000 No
Bax, R.D. [P.], Tanzania 2228.000 No
Tweedie [580A], Kenya 2229.000 No
Tweedie [753], Kenya 2230.000 No
Uganda 2231.000 No
Bax, R.D. [E], Tanzania 2232.000 No
Bax, R.D. [0], Tanzania 2233.000 No
Scott, H., Ethiopia 2234.000 No
Hunt, D.R. [7165], Mexico 32925.000 No
Tweedie, E.M. [4083], Kenya 34086.000 No
Polhill, R. [1177], Tanzania 3717.000 No
Cribb, P. [10100], Tanzania 37197.000 No
Cribb, P. [10535], Tanzania 37244.000 No
Tweedie, E.M. [1350], Kenya 38440.000 No
Jones [6], Argentina 45484.000 No
Verdcourt, B. [235], Tanzania 4573.000 No
Dawkins, H.C. [374], Uganda 4575.000 No
Tweedie, E.M. [1350], Kenya 6049.079 No
Rico, L. [1609], Bolivia K000295250 No
Pollard, B.J. [1095], Cameroon 77353.000 No
Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 8985], Nepal K001132023 Yes
s.coll. [Cat. no. 8985] K001132025 Yes
Davis, A.P. [3116], Madagascar 76553.000 No
Rico, L. [1552], Bolivia K000295291 No
Gerard, P. [Cat. no. 8985], India K001132021 Yes
s.coll. [Cat. no. 8985] K001132026 Yes
s.coll. [Cat. no. 8982] K001132016 Yes
Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 8985], India K001132022 Yes
s.coll. [Cat. no. 8985], India K001132020 Yes
s.coll. [Cat. no. 8984], India K001132019 Yes
Gomez, W. [Cat. no. 8985] K001132024 Yes

First published in Sp. Pl.: 40 (1753)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne.


Flora of West Tropical Africa

  • F.T.A. 8: 33.
  • Sp. Pl. 40 (1753)

Flora of Somalia

  • Flora Somalia, Vol 4, (1995) Author: by R. B. Faden [updated by M. Thulin 2008]

  • Flora of Somalia

    Flora of Somalia

  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Science Photographs

    Copyright applied to individual images

  • Neotropikey

    Milliken, W., Klitgard, B. and Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics.

  • Plants and People Africa

    Common Names from Plants and People Africa
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