A small family of herbs containing, in our range, about a dozen species under two genera.
Day-Flower (Commelina Communis)is one of a very few of our native plants having pure blue flowers. Its common name is very appropriate because each blossom lasts but a single day, opening in the morning, and before night, shrinking away to a little mass of jelly. Its generic name was given by Linnaeus in honor of a Dutch family of botanists by the name of Commelin. It flowers all summer and spreads rapidly by striking out new roots from the leaf joints on the reclining stem.
The stem is rather weak, much jointed and attains heights of one to two feet. The leaves are lance-shaped clasping the stem at its joints. The flowers have three irregular sepals and three petals; two petals are large, rounded and blue, while the third is tiny and colorless; three stamens are sterile and have no anthers, while three others are fertile, with orange anthers; the whole flower peeps out from a clasping, cordate, heart-shaped leaf or spathe. Found from Southern Mass. to Mich, and southwards, blooming in rich woods or dooryards from June to Sept.
A. Day-flower. Commelina communis.
B. Spiderwort. Tradescantia virginiana.
Spiderwort; Job's Tears (Tradescantia Virg-Inana) , like the Day Flower, remains open but for part of a day, after which the petals contract into glutinous drops, thus giving it one of its common names. The generic name was given in honor of John Tradescant, who was gardener for King Charles the First.
The stem is hairy and sticky; from one to two feet high. The leaves are linear, hairy and clasping at their bases. Three purple petals, three brown, hairy sepals and six orange tipped stamens compose the flowers. They may be found in rich soil from Me. to Mich, and southwards, flowering from June to August.