Whitemouth Dayflower:  Commelina erecta


This week’s wildflower is the Whitemouth Day Flower (Commelina erecta), a member of the Spiderwort family. This flower has two lateral lobes that are light blue in color. A third lobe below and between the two larger lobes is white in color. This smaller lobe is what gives it the name Whitemouth. Its flower is about an inch wide that blooms at sunrise and then wilts by late morning. Honeybees seeking nectar are attracted to the Whitemouth’s anthers. Its leaves are narrow and linear from 1″ to 6″ in length. The plant is either erect reaching a height of 24″ or it lies closely to the ground . It is a perennial plant.

Whitemouth likes dry sandy soil and accordingly is widely distributed throughout Florida.  On the island it is found in the Preserve, Bowditch Point Park, the beach and in the lawns of many beach residents include my front yard. There is a closely related cousin of the Whitemouth, the Common Dayflower (Commelina diffusa). The diffusa has been found in the Preserve. It is, however, not native. There is a total of eight species of Commelina in Florida. This particular specimen was photographed alongside a rural road in Hendry County.


Dorothy Rodwell