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Commelina erecta  L.
Russell County, Kansas
Height: 4-30 inches
Family: Commelinaceae - Spiderwort Family
Flowering Period:   July, August, September
Stems: Erect or decumbent, usually pubescent at nodes.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, linear-lanceolate to ovate-elliptic, 1 to 4 inches long, 1/2 to 1 inch wide, glabrous or lightly pubescent, waxy; margins entire; tips pointed; basal sheaths conspicuous; margins fringed with whitish hairs.
Inflorescences: Few-flowered clusters.
Flowers: 3-parted; enclosed by spathes, 1/2 to 1 inch long, open across top but fused along back margin; upper 2 petals larger and blue; lower petal smaller and white; stamens 6, 3 fertile, 3 sterile.
Fruits: Capsules, 3-celled; seeds smooth, brown, white-dotted.
Habitat: Moist, sandy or rocky soils.
Distribution: Throughout, but infrequent in northwest quarter of Kansas.
Comments: The flowers bloom for only one day, wilting into a moist, blue mass after a few hours. The flower can last longer on cloudy days or in shady settings. The genus Commelina was named by Linnaeus for members of the Dutch family Commelijn. The 2 showy petals refer to that family's 2 prominent botanists, Jan (1629--1692) and Caspar (1667--1731), while the third less conspicuous petal represents the family member who died before becoming a well known botanist.
 See commelina communis a closely related species.

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