Friday, September 28, 2007

The Three Brothers

Asiatic dayflower is a persistent and pedestrian weed, but I have a soft spot for it; it asks for nothing, and tags along from garden to garden, where it creeps and seeds about in a fairly shy and unobtrusive way (unless it finds a really wet spot, where it explodes). It is one of the most distinctive weeds remembered from my childhood. Imported from Asia, it has naturalized to almost the whole country except for desert areas. Its flowers are a true, gentian blue and I suspect this little plant would be sought after if its flowers were only larger (they are the size of the tip of my little finger) and if they only lasted longer (calling them dayflowers is being generous). The Asiatic dayflower is classified as Commelina communis, and is in the same family as the spiderworts. Interestingly the genus Commelina was named for the Commelin brothers; Kaspar and Johan were famous Dutch botanists, but their brother died young and so the dayflowers have two beautiful, larger blue petals, and a third small, barely formed white petal.
If you don't have dayflowers in your garden, I don't know whether to pity you or envy you... they are that kind of weed.
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That is a beautiful flower -- so intricate, and the colour is so pretty. Nicely captured.
I understand the "appreciate/discourage" ("love/hate" are two inappropriate terms in this instance) relationship with this plant. I kind of miss it if I don't have it, but it really does need to learn to respect its boundaries... and the flower is very nice.
Thanks, Olivia.

shady... I wonder if anybody has ever attempted to breed it for larger flowers, because it's blue color is really lovely.

Some started growing on my balcony years ago. Not knowing what it was I left it - and it's come up every year since. I have a love hate relationship with it -as you say, it's that sort of plant. I'm glad I now know what it's called though!
When I was a kid, we called it wandering Jew, but the whole medieval myth of the wandering Jew is quite insulting to the Jewish faith, so dayflower it is.
Thanks for the ID on this one, Don. I've always just called it "that wild tradescantia with the pretty blue flowers." Nice to know that I wasn't too far off on it!

For years I too have had the love/hate with it, but as far as weeds go, I'm much more lenient to this than say, lambsquarters (which I totally loathe). At least it can boast a truly blue flower, if only for a brief time.
I'm going to visit with a friend that attempts to breed new varieties of flowers. Wonder if he'd give me a hint on what to do about this one? (The process of trying might be beyond my gardening "expertise," but it also might be something interesting about which to learn!)
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