Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Cyanotis axillaris (L.) D.Don ex Sweet

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
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Flower. © G. Sankowsky
Flower and floral leaf. © G. Sankowsky
Herbarium specimen. © DERM

Sweet, R. (1826) Sweet's Hortus Britannicus Edn. 1 1: 430. 

Common name

Blue Ears


Fleshy to succulent annual herb with erect or creeping branched stems, 30-40 cm long, rooting at the nodes.


Leaf blades 50-120 x 5-10 mm, free petiole nil, stem clasping section short, no more than 2 mm. Leaf blades mainly glabrous except for a small hairy section near the base.


Flowers enclosed in a large floral leaf. Cincinni reduced, in axillary fascicles of 3-6 flowers; peduncle absent; bracts about 10 mm. Sepals linear-spatulate, 6-9 mm, with long cilia, abaxially hirsute. Outer perianth segments connate at base, narrowly oblong tonarrowly triangular, 5-10 mm long. Tube of inner perianth segments slender, cylindrical, 6-12 mm long, longer than the outer segments. Petals blue to pale mauve, 10-12 mm. Filaments blue lanate, thickened above a dense tuft of hairs .


Capsule oblong, trigonous, 4-8 mm, hispid at apex, with 6 horned projections. Seeds gray-black to gray-brown, pitted.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to about 500 m. Found in moist areas in monsoon forest, vine thicket, various types of woodland and in wooded grassland. Also occurs in India, Indonesia to China.

Commelina axillaris L., Species Plantarum 1: 42(1753).
RFK Code
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