Commelina diffusa Burm. f.
subsp. diffusa

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Commelina diffusa subsp. diffusa

Picture: Doreen Bolnick
Monavale Vlei, Harare

Commelina diffusa subsp. diffusa

Picture: Doreen Bolnick
Monavale Vlei, Harare

Commelina diffusa subsp. diffusa

Picture: Doreen Bolnick
Monavale Vlei, Harare

Commelina diffusa subsp. diffusa

Picture: Doreen Bolnick
Monavale Vlei, Harare

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Commelina nudiflora L.
Common names:
Status: Native
Annual or perennial herb with creeping or straggling stems, often rooting at the nodes. Leaves alternate narrowly lanceolate to ovate, 1.5-8.5 cm long; basal sheaths up to 2.5 cm long, white ciliate at the apex. Spathes solitary on peduncles 0.7-3 cm long; spathes 1-4 cm long, not or only slightly falcate, cordate at the base and margins free, usually hairless but sometimes more or less ciliate hairy. Flowers male or bisexual, 10-15 mm wide, long exserted from the spathe; sepals hyaline white; all three petals blue, occasionally mauve to lilac.
Type location:
Notes: Zimbabwean records of Commelina diffusa have been named subsp. diffusa. The subspecies of the Zambian plants is not known but we have provisionally also placed them under subsp. diffusa.
Derivation of specific name: diffusa: diffuse, loosely spreading
Habitat: Usually in wet places but also in forest clearings, or along roadsides, often as a weed in cultivation.
Altitude range:
Flowering time:All year
Worldwide distribution: Pantropical and in warm temperate areas.
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): B,N,W,C,E,S
Zambian distribution (Provinces): N,Mc,Lk
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Faden, R. (2012). Commelinaceae Flora of Tropical East Africa Pages 140 - 142. (Includes a picture).

Heath, A. & Heath, R. (2009). Field Guide to the Plants of Northern Botswana including the Okavango Delta Kew Publishing Page 44. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 86.

Moriarty, A. (1975). Wild Flowers of Malawi Purnell & sons Cape Town. Pages 37 - 38. as Commelina diffusa (Includes a picture).

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 108.

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 117.

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 181.

Timberlake, J.R., Bayliss, J., Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Congdon, C., Branch, B., Collins, S., Curran, M., Dowsett, R,J., Fishpool, L., Francisco, J., Harris, Kopp, M. & de Sousa, C. (2012). Mt Mabu, Mozambique: Biodiversity and Conservation Report produced under the Darwin Initiative Award 15/036. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London Page 71.

Van Wyk, B. & Malan, S. (1988). Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of the Witwatersrand and Pretoria Region Struik, Cape Town Pages 248 - 249. as Commelina diffusa (Includes a picture).

Wursten, B., Timberlake, J. & Darbyshire, I. (2017). The Chimanimani Mountains: an updated checklist. Kirkia 19(1) Page 82.

Other sources of information about Commelina diffusa subsp. diffusa:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Commelina diffusa subsp. diffusa
Flora of Caprivi: Commelina diffusa subsp. diffusa
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Commelina diffusa subsp. diffusa
Flora of Malawi: Commelina diffusa subsp. diffusa
Flora of Mozambique: Commelina diffusa subsp. diffusa
Flora of Zimbabwe: Commelina diffusa subsp. diffusa

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Commelina diffusa
African Plant Database: Commelina diffusa
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Commelina diffusa
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Commelina diffusa
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Commelina diffusa
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Commelina diffusa
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Commelina diffusa
JSTOR Plant Science: Commelina diffusa
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Commelina diffusa
Plants of the World Online: Commelina diffusa
Tropicos: Commelina diffusa
Wikipedia: Commelina diffusa

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-24

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2024). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Commelina diffusa subsp. diffusa., retrieved 18 July 2024

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