Commelina canescens Vahl
Commelina cavaleriei H.Lév.
Commelina cucullata L.
Commelina delicatula Schltdl.
Commelina hirsute R.Br.
Commelina mollis Jacq.
Commelina nervosa Burm.f.
Commelina poligama Fern.-Vill.
Commelina procurrens Schltdl.
Commelina prostrata Regel
Commelina radiciflora R.Br. ex C.B.Clarke
Commelina rhizocarpa Afzel. ex C.B.Clarke
Commelina senegalensis Ten.
Commelina turbinate Vahl
Commelina uncata C.B.Clarke
Commelina villosiuscula Sol. ex C.B.Clarke
Commelina benghalensis is a herbaceous perennial plant, with long, creeping, succulent stems that can be 60 - 90cm long; and ascending, jointed branches, rooting where the nodes touch the ground[
]. The plant can become annual in areas with colder winters or long dry seasons[
The leaves are harvested from the wild for local consumption - in many areas they are viewed as a famine food and only eaten in times of scarcity[
]. The plant also has local medicinal uses and is the source of a dye. The fresh plants are sold in Chinese herbalists in Malaysia[
Tropical Africa through the Arabian Peninsula to Indian subcontinent, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Common in disturbed areas, at forest edges, in home gardens and secondary regrowth. It does well at medium elevations up to 1,600 metres[
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A plant of warm temperate to tropical areas where it can be found at elevations up to 1,600 metres[
]. In Tanzania, it grows in areas where the mean annual rainfall is in the range 1,000 - 2,100mm[
]. Vegetation and flower growth are optimal between 30 - 35°c, but it grows well between 20 - 40°c[
Prefers a sunny position. Thrives in sandy loams, but can tolerate a wide range of soil types[
]. Established plants can withstand prolonged drought[
The plant is listed as one of the world's worst weeds, affecting 25 crops in 29 countries[
]. Pieces of the cut stems, usually cut during physical eradication or cultivation, have the ability to survive a short period of drought stress and resprout[
The plant often has subterranean cleistogamous flowers[
]. Not many seeds are produced by them, but they have a very high percentage fertility[
Leaves - cooked[
]. A mucilaginous texture and a slightly bitter flavour[
]. The tender leaves and stems are chopped and cooked alone or with other vegetables such as Bidens pilosa or Cleome hirta. Then it is served with a staple, dish such as ugali or rice[
]. Older leaves are often regarded as being too acidic and bitter to use[
]. Eating large quantities of the leaves can cause diarrhoea[
The rhizomes are starchy and mucilaginous. In India and Sudan they are commonly cooked and eaten, and are said to be a wholesome food[
The plant is astringent, demulcent, laxative and mucilaginous[
]. The plant is used to counter infertility in women[
]. In India it is said to be beneficial for leprosy, and in the Philippines it is used as an emollient suppository for strangury[
The sap is used for the treatment of eye ailments, sore throat and burns and as a topical application for thrush in infants[
The plant is used as a poultice for sore feet[
The leaves are pounded and soaked in warm water and then the solution is drunk to treat diarrhoea[
A decoction of the root is used for the relief of stomach disorders[
The liquid contained in the flowering spathe is used to treat eye complaints[
A dye is obtained from the sap in the flowers[
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