Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Commelina ensifolia R.Br.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Flower. © G. Sankowsky
Flower. © CSIRO
Leaves and flower. © G. Sankowsky
Flowers. © CSIRO
Flower. © R.L. Barrett
Fruit. © R.L. Barrett
Flowers. © R.L. Barrett
Herbarium specimen. © CSIRO

Brown, R. (1810) Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae : 269.

Common name

Scurvy Weed; Wandering Jew; Scurvy Grass


Stems +/- prostrate, producing roots at the nodes. Stems longitudinally ribbed and clothed in pale hairs.


Leaves semi-fleshy. Leaf blades 45-100 x 8-30 mm, free petiole nil, sheathing petiole about 15 mm long. Surfaces of the leaf blade clothed in pale hairs.


Inflorescence emerges from a broad cup-like bract 10-15 x 20-26 mm, clothed in hairs. Peduncle about 12 mm long. Pedicel about 5 mm long. Flowers about 20 mm diam. Outer tepals (sepals) translucent, dimorphic 5-6 x 4-6 mm or 3 x 2 mm. Inner tepals (petals) dimorphic 9-10 x 11-12 mm, deep blue in colour 3-4 x 3 mm and white or translucent. Stamens dimorphic, anthers about 2 mm long on filaments about 4 mm long and versatile or anthers about 2.5 mm long on filaments about 3 mm long and not versatile. Pollen orange-yellow. Staminodes yellow-orange, the anther part +/- 6-lobed. Ovary green, about 1 mm long. Style 4.5-5 mm long, curved like a fish-hook.


fruit enclosed in a large bract.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Widespread in Australia. Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to New South Wales. Occurs in monsoon forest, riparian forest, various types of woodland and wooded grassland.

Natural History & Notes

Browsed by stock (Roe 87).

RFK Code
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