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Kaua-kaini (Commelina benghalensis Linn.)

Pankaj Oudhia
Society for Parthenium Management (SOPAM)
28-A, Geeta Nagar, Raipur - 492001 India

Copyright © 2004. All Rights Reserved. Quotation from this document should cite and acknowledge the contributor.

Scientific Name: Commelina benghalensis Linn.
Family: Commelinaceae
English Name: Day Flower, Dew Flower.
Hindi Name: Kanchara, Kaua-kaini, Kanuraka.

General Description: It grows as common weed in crop fields particularly in rice fields in India. It is popularly used as folk medicine.

Botanical differences among the major Commelina species.

Characters C. benghalensis C. albescens C. diffusa C. forskalae C. paludosa C. erecta
Plant A large, straggling annual, rooting at basal nodes and covered on all parts with a colourless pubescens A perennial diffuse or suberect herb from a woody, knotted rhizomotous stock A variable, straggling annual with glabrous, arching internodes, rooting at lower nodes A much branched, diffuse annual, rooting at lower nodes A. scadent, perennial herb A perennial much branched, decumbent or ascending herb
Stem branches many, some of them growing under ground and bearing reduced leaves and spathes with apetalous closed flowers and capsules Annual, much branched, clothed below with many, white, membranous sheaths with or without whittering leaves   Branches slender, glabrous or puberulent Stem stout, branched from the base, rooting at basal nodes, glabrous  
Leaves Ovate-elliptic or oblong, shortly triangular or subobtuse apex. Linear-lanceolate, broadest a little above base, gradually tapering to an acute apex Broadly lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, abruptly acuminate Narrowly oblong or scarcely elliptic, obtuse or subacute at apex Subsessile, elliptic-lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, some what oblique at base, glabrous Lanceolate, entire, somewhat pubescent above, glabrous and greyish-green below, acute or acuminate
Flowers Bluish-violet, cyme branches 1 or 2, one often suppressed, when 2, inner bearing one male flower, outer bearing 2-3 perfect flowers Pale blue Deep cobalt-blue   White, in simple or branched cymes.  
Fruit Capsule broadly ovoid-oblong Capsule 5mm long Capsule elongate, 7 mm long Capsule sub-cubic, buff coloured.   Capsules oblong
Seeds Ovoid Obliquely ovoid Ovoid elongate     Black with membranous margin. One in each cell

Useful Parts: Whole herb.

Traditional Medicinal Uses: According to Ayurveda, it is bitter and useful in treatment of leprosy, and nervous system related disorders.

Bhandari, M.M. (1990). Flora of the Indian Desert. Pbl. MPS Repros, Jopdhpur, India. : 320-323.
Caius, J.F. (1986). Medicinal and poisonous plants of India. Pbl. Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur, India. : 126-127.

Resource Person
Pankaj Oudhia
Society for Parthenium Management (SOPAM)
28-A, Geeta Nagar, Raipur - 492001 India

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