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Commelina diffusa (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Commelina diffusa Burm.f.

Protologue: Fl. indica: 18, t. 7, f. 2 (1768).


Commelina nudiflora auct. non L.

Vernacular names

  • Spreading dayflower, creeping dayflower (En)
  • Indonesia: brambangan (Javanese), gewor lalakina (Sundanese), awarang (Makassar)
  • Malaysia: rumput aur, rumput kupu-kupu
  • Philippines: alikbangon (Tagalog), gatilang (Bontok), kulkul-lasi (Iloko)
  • Vietnam: thài lài trắng.


Widespread in the tropics and subtropics; in the United States occurring up to New Jersey.


In Peninsular Malaysia, the leaves are widely used for poulticing sores. In Indonesia, the crushed leaves and stems are used for irregular menstruation. Dirty wounds are poulticed with the mucilage from the stems. The leaves are edible and may be used as a vegetable.


A normally perennial, prostrate to ascending, much branched herb, variably hairy; leaves oblong to lanceolate, 3-–7 cm × 1-–2 cm, apex obtuse to acuminate, often nearly glabrous; spathe normally solitary, semi-ovate, 0.8-2 cm long, apex acute or acuminate, glabrescent, margins free, upper raceme with 1-3 male flowers, lower raceme with 1-5 bisexual flowers, peduncle 0.5–-5 cm long; flower 1.5 cm in diameter, petals 6-–7 mm long, blue, fertile stamens 3, staminodes 2-3; capsule ovoid, 6–-7 mm long, 3-celled, usually 5-seeded, 1 seed larger; seed 2-–3 mm long, black, reticulate, ridged on one side. C. diffusa is commonly found in moist fields, along ditches, on waste land and under bamboo, on soils rich in clay or humus, from sea-level up to 2000 m altitude. C. diffusa var. gigas (Small) Faden is hexaploid.

Selected sources


  • Burkill, I.H., 1966. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Revised reprint. 2 volumes. Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1 (A-H) pp. 1-1240, Vol. 2 (I-Z) pp. 1241-2444.

215, 407

  • Holdsworth, D.K., 1977. Medicinal plants of Papua New Guinea. Technical Paper No 175. South Pacific Commission, Noumea, New Caledonia. 123 pp., 459, 605, 696, 747.


Isa Ipor