This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, referring to the blue petals). Commelindceae. Probably 40 creeping, ascending or weak branching often woolly or hairy herbs, much like Tradescantia; they are native in warm countries about the globe. Leaves sheathing, small or medium in size, various: flowers in scirpioid cymes or variously disposed, mostly blue or rose-colored; sepals 3, lanceolate-cari-nate, nearly equal, usually combined at base into a short tube; petals 3, also nearly equal, often connate in a tube, the limb spreading and suborbicular; stamens 6, all perfect, nearly equal; ovary sessile, 3-celled and each cell 2-ovuled. Easy of cultivation; prop, by cuttings. There are few species in cultivation; perennial; grown in greenhouses or warm-houses. C. hirsuta, Fisch. & Mey., from Abyssinia, villous or glabrous, has erect stem, globose tubers, linear soft-hairy leaves, and rose-colored perianth and blue-bearded filaments. B.M. 7785. C. barbata, Don, of E. India, has elongated branching nearly glabrous stem, narrow-oblong or nearly linear leaves, and blue spatulate-oblong petals free to the base: ovary hirsute at apex and the style bearded.
C. kewensis, Clarke, of E. Indies, is procumbent, reddish-hairy, leafy, the branches fleshy: leaves a half or more longer than broad, sessile and amplexicaul: petals rose-purple, ovate, free; filaments bearded. B.M. 6150 (as Erythrotis Bed-domei). C. nodifldra, Kunth, of S. Africa, is cobwebby or woolly but becoming glabrous, the fibrous roots terminating in tubercles: leaves narrowly lance-linear: petals blue, lightly connate. B.M. 5471. L H. B.