Ormiston Gorge | Fauna | Flora

The Wandering Jew (Commelina ensifolia) grows as a prostrate herb that produce roots from the stem at the nodes. The bright blue flower has three petals, although one of the petal is much smaller than the other two, giving the appearance of two petals.

Whilst the plant prefers moist soils, it has a broad range that extend from the coastal to the arid central deserts (often seen growing after sufficient rains).

The leaves are semi-fleshy, with both the leaves and stems covered in pale hairs. The flowers inflorescence emerges from a cup-like bract, also cover in pale hairs. The fruit of the plant is enclosed in a large bract.

The plant has been eaten by Aboriginal people, as well as the early European settlers. who ate it to prevent scurvy.

Common names:
Wandering Jew, Scurvy weed, Scurvy grass.

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Tracheophytes
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Monocots
  • Clade: Commelinids
  • Order: Commelinales
  • Family: Commelinaceae
  • Genus: Commelina
  • Species: C. ensifolia
  • Binomial name: Commelina ensifolia