Rough Dayflower – Rhopalephora scaberrima

Rough Dayflower is a small plant with small yet attractive flowers. It belongs to the dayflower family Commelinaceae which include hundreds of other flowering plants. Most of them have flowers with similar shape but differ in color.

Rough Dayflower - Rhopalephora scaberrima
Photo of Rough Dayflower from Kottayam, Kerala

The plant looks very similar to the ginger for an ordinary person. I got to photograph these flowered last September. The flowers and seeds were so photogenic that I couldn’t help but click a few snaps. It seems that the plant is not that popular as a traditional herb and does not have a common local name in the Malayalam language. However, a few minutes of browsing the awesome Flowers of India website revealed its English name.

Appearance

With its long leaves which point in opposite directions from the stem, it may resemble a ginger plant. The plant usually grows to about 70 cm height.

The flowers are less than 1 cm across. They occur alone or in pairs or groups at the terminal. There are three sepals and petals, which have a peculiar shape with narrow bases. The color is purplish white. The stamens have yellow endings.

Overall, the flower looks like some kind of fan or propeller. Two of the three petals align horizontally and opposite while the third one points down. During the season, it flowers daily in the morning. However, it lasts only for a couple of hours before wilting by noon.

Flowering starts around September. It lasts till December although less in number.

The fruit is green with small hairs on the surface. They can easily stick to clothes.

Rough Dayflower Close-up
A close-up of the flower
Rough Dayflower Plant
The plant is usually less than 1 meter tall
Fruits of Rough Dayflower
Fruits with hairs on the surface

Habitat

They flourish in wild areas, house premises and rubber plantations in Kerala. The plant grows well under shade. 

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