The Nature Devotional, Uncategorized

Get to Know Your Neighbor!

In this weeks Get to Know Your Neighbor…

Wildflower of the week goes to…Asiatic Dayflower!

Asiatic Dayflower (Commelina communis)

Dayflower Family (Commenlinaeae)

There are many common Dayflower you may encounter throughout your life and certainly your day. If you live in the more Mid-West to North Eastern part of the United States like I do, you are sure to run into Asiatic Dayflower in one of your bouts out into the world.

The first time I ran into this little delight and fully recognized it, I was in the woods of Bernheim Forest in Clarmont, Ky. I read recently that it can be found in varying terrains, from forest landscapes to curb-sides, in the niches between fences and on along banks of creeks where I found mine.

If you’re looking to spy an Asiatic Dayflower, try looking in more disturbed or human-interacted areas. They like that better than dense brush and deep forest.

Asiatic Dayflower
Bernheim Forest, Rock Run
September 23rd, 2019

When you do happen to see them, their blooms will be small. The flower only 1-3 centimeters long. This is a summer annual, though I most recently spotted it on the first day of Autumn! It grows best in partial sun, but can be quite tolerant and flexible with light shade and even full sun.

In some states, including my old Kentucky home, the Asiatic Dayflower is considered invasive. It was originally introduced from East Asia (as the name suggests). While it isn’t clear why the plant was brought in, its likely it had some horticultural value. Though it could have just been a simple mistake! They can crawl and sprawl like a vining plant or stand tall, wiry and erect.

True to the name, Dayflowers only bloom for a day and are considered ‘transient’. They bloom in turns on the plant so not all are likely to bloom at once. If you can catch a glimpse, it is a true honor and a kind gift for it to show you it’s display for it will only exist in that very day.

Another neat fact about the Asiatic Dayflower is that it ‘s pretty bright blue pigment is considered ‘True Blue’. Where most natural flowers which may be considered blue are truly more purple or violet, this one holds a true blue pigment and is a joy to view.

The next time you’re out, keep your eyes open for this daily vision. It only comes once a day and for a short spurt(s) within the season.

Painting of a Dayflower in my field journal
H.M. Carter 2019

Other Fun Facts:

  • Genus name taken from last name of 3 Dutch brothers, two brothers were described as quite pompous and well to-do botanists and the other brother passed away without merit. as you can see on the Dayflower, two of the petals are bright blue and shining and one is not very well seen or debuted.
  • Has a fibrous root system
  • You can find bees pollinating, six-spotted beetles on the foliage, and the occasional bird searching for seeds (often a Mourning Dove, Bobwhite or Redwinged Blackbird).
  • Each flower gets replaced by a see capsule with two cells, each cell with two seeds.
  • Considered invasive Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia, but are found all over the area.
  • U.S. National Parks where it is reported invasive: Antietam National Park in Maryland, Shenandoah National Park (Va) Colonial National Historic Park (Va)