The Asiatic Dayflower

Asiatic dayflowerOne of the instructions we received as children when we went looking for Spanish needle plants for our rabbits, was to avoid picking water grass.

It was said that while water grass was good for feeding other animals, it is known to cause diarrhea in rabbits.

This water grass – a weed,  is none other than the Asiatic Dayflower (Commelina communis); in some places it is grown as a creeper plant. It is called Dayflower as its flower blooms for only one day.

The Asiatic Dayflower belongs to the Monocot division of plants which most notably contains the Grasses. It is also called Monsoon flower, Mouse flowers and Mouse Ears.  Asiatic dayflowerThe Asiatic Dayflower is eaten raw in salads, and can be lightly cooked with other vegetables. The seeds are also edible.

I read that in Japan, this plant is grown specifically to provide blue juice from its flowers which is used to make dye. Asiatic dayflowerThe Asiatic Dayflower is known to grow very quickly, covering most of the ground and starving out the other plants it surrounds. However, it is beneficial as it collects excess copper in the soil, which makes it useful for phytoremediation.

Phytoremediation is the process of restoring the soil after contamination from industrial pollutants. Asiatic dayflowerAs a medicinal plant, the Asiatic Dayflower is used to cool fevers associated with the common cold and flu; it may also be used treat certain viruses. The Asiatic Dayflower is popularly used as a diuretic – for eliminating excess fluids, and as a gargle for sore throats.

This plant can also be crushed and applied topically as a poultice to cool inflammation on the skin.

 

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