Flora of the Nilgiris

Family : Commelinaceae
Flora of Nilgiri Biosphere (Northern Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve)

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Commelina benghalensis L.

Leaf arrangement

Alternate Spiral

Leaf Type


Leaf Shape

Ovate, Oblong

Leaf Apex


Leaf Base

Sub truncate

Leaf Margin


Habit : A spreading herb.

Habitat and Distribution : Very widely distributed in scrub jungles, wayside puddles. Weed of arable lands, marshy. Plains from the coast to 1100m. India, Nepal, Sri Lanka.

Indigenous Information : The juice of the fruit is squeezed into the eyes to clear dust. Fodder plant. Leaves and rhizomes are cooked and eaten.

Other relevent information : Leafless underground suckers bear scapes of self pollinating white flowers which never open, but bear better seeds than those from the normal blue flowers. Used to indicate presence of sulphur dioxide as air pollutant.

Field Tips : Flowers are sometimes white. Leaf margin and spathe ciliate.


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English : Garden Commelina
Irula : Kannae, Kanner
Tamil : Aduthinnathalai, Kanavazhar
Hindi : Kanchara


In cymes, purple. Flowering from August-December.

Fruit :

A capsule, ellipsoid. Seeds 5, pitted. Fruiting throughout the year.

All from Commelinaceae
Flora of Nilgiri Biosphere (Northern Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve)