Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Commelina coelestis Willd.

Frost-hardy, vigorous, clump-forming, erect, tuberous perennial with fleshy stems, lance-shaped leaves and freely produced cymes of vivid blue flowers in summer and autumn.  To 90cm.  [RHSE, Hortus]. 

Horticultural & Botanical History

Introduced to Britain in 1813.  [JD].  ‘Though this plant is frequently confused with C. tuberosa it is proved to be decidedly distinct, Mr. Sweet having obligingly informed the author that he has carefully compared the two species, and thus confirmed the opinions of Roemer et Schultz, and other botanists on the Continent, where the distinction is now generally adopted.  This species, which has a larger and lighter coloured flower, longer and narrower leaves, than C tuberosa, is a native of Mexico, and was introduced into this country in 1813: it has been generally treated as a green-house plant, but it will grow perfectly well in the open air, though from the fleshy nature of the roots it is necessary to take them up in winter, and treat them in the same manner as Dahlias.  C. crassifolia is the only species besides the two above mentioned, suitable for the flower garden.’  [Roscoe pl.47/1831]. 

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.70/1843]. 


Published Jan 18, 2009 - 03:43 PM | Last updated Mar 08, 2010 - 10:45 AM

The image depicts a flowering stem with lance-shaped leaves and bright blue flowers.  Roscoe pl.47, 1831.

Commelina coelestis Willd. | Roscoe pl.47/1831 | BHL

Family Commelinaceae
Region of origin

Central and South America

Common Name

Mexican day flower, Blue spiderwort, Widow?s tears

Name in the Camden Park Record

Commelina coelestis 

Confidence level high