Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Commelina erecta

L., Sp. Pl. 41.1753

C. elegans H.B.K.

Cadillo

Trailing or suberect herb; stems branching, glabrous or sparsely pubescent with maroon lines. Leaves mostly widely spaced, sessile or nearly so, the sheaths 8-20 mm long, usually pubescent; blades ± elliptic to lanceolate, gradually acuminate at apex, cuneate to rounded at base, mostly 3-14 cm long, 2-3.5 cm wide, moderately pubes­cent with longer trichomes above, densely short-pubescent below. Inflorescences terminal or subterminal; spathes ovate, truncate and united on one side, usually puberulent and with longer trichomes at base, usually filled with a watery or gelatinous fluid; peduncles short, each with several short-pedicellate flowers; flowers usually emerg­ing one at a time, protruding above spathe at anthesis, later withdrawing, white to blue or very pale lavender; sepals 3, transparent, one much reduced, the others obo­vate; petals 3, the anterior one reduced, the posterior ones prominently clawed, the blade mostly 6 mm long and 10 mm wide, often overlapping; stamens 6, 3 reduced, the other 3 unequal in size, the shortest 1 medial with an enlarged anther, the lateral 2 ± equal; style curved, longer than lateral stamens, the stigma held just in front of the anthers of the lateral stamens. Capsules fleshy, dehiscent,     2-valved, to 4 mm long. Croat 11697.

The species is common in clearings, where it may form dense stands. Flowers and fruits throughout the year. Throughout the American tropics and subtropics.

In Panama, known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, San Blas, and Panama, from tropical dry forest in Coclé, and Panama, and from premontane moist forest in the Canal Zone.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Commelina erecta flower
  • Commelina erecta flower
  • Commelina erecta flower
  • Commelina erecta flower